August 3, 2016-We were whisked away by the police van and taken to a clinic. As we entered the parking lot there were news crews gathered on the pavement; the bright lights burned my eyes and the high pitched sound of feedback from their microphones made me cringe. The officer who was driving the van pulled around to the back and we were taken inside. While inside we were examined for trauma, microchips and general health and well being. We were all given a passing grade after about a half hour of individual examinations.
We were then put into holding cells with clean water and vittles as waited for our humans to come and collect us. One by one they filtered in; the look on their faces was a mix of hope and sadness. The news coverage was so massive that it garnered attention from the entire nation. I caught a glimpse of a headline on the t.v. that read, “Diamond Heist Havoc Leads to Dozens of Animals Rescued from Crime Ring.” How exciting to be a bit of a celebrity…somehow I knew this day would come eventually.
I watched as Caleb’s human came through the doors of the building, it was a wonderful sight to behold; he jumped on her like a puppy and licked her face so much that I thought she might fall over. What a reunion-Callisto’s human collected her next. He gathered her up in his burly arms and she rubbed her cheek against his. I waved goodbye and a bit of my heart squeezed at the thought of never seeing her again…I would deeply miss her.
One by one the animals were released until finally it was only Simba and I who remained. Our stupid humans were finally here and we would happily go back to prison.
August 2, 2016-Just as I was about to spring into action something caught my eye; in the back of the stolen police cruiser there was something that looked a lot like a rocket launcher. I blinked and tried to clear my eyes but the image remained the same…it was definitely a huge weapon that would cause a lot of destruction. Once again sirens were getting closer and I hoped that the real police were coming this time.
I unlocked the door and something amazing happened; a group of men dressed in black, with the letters SWAT emblazoned on their jackets, rushed out of the forest like a raid of army ants. Henri released grandpa and tried to re-enter the stolen police car; an officer threw a grenade type item into the vehicle and the SWAT team incapacitated Henri with a flash bang as grandpa was moved to a safe location. They took Henri into custody and the main road was flooded with police cars,tactical units and news crews.
The entire scene was chaos! I linked arms with Simba and the other animals and we huddled together in the truck; within minutes the police had approached the vehicle and opened the doors-the lights from the camera crews were blinding. “Looks like they’re all here-load them into the van and get them to a clinic to have a once over before you release them to their families,” a large officer said. The police loaded us into a large van where we waited for grandpa who was being treated for his injuries; I heard reporters yelling at him for an interview but he remained silent. Caleb squinted as he looked out the window and his tail started to wag for the first time since I’ve met him, “My family…they’re here!” Tears streamed down his cheeks and he shook with happiness-it would only be a matter of hours before they were reunited for good. I looked out over the crowd and saw a few familiar faces…the small, stupid human and the large stupid human were standing in the crowd behind caution tape…they were finally here to collect us.
July 8, 2016-I sprinted as fast as I could to the pool shed behind the hotel and ripped open the door…all of the animals were huddled together and my eyes instantly scanned the area for Simba. The animals had shielded him from view and protected him! They had saved him from a ghastly fate!
I ran to him and embraced him as hard as I could. He cried in my arms…the whole ordeal had been too much for him. “I knew you’d come back for me! And I knew that you had a plan!” he said as he wiped his eyes with his hands. “I would never let anything happen to you,” I said and hugged him again. “Thank you brothers and sisters for saving Simba!” I said as I embraced Callisto and Caleb . “Now I am about to deliver you to freedom! We must leave immediately-danger is imminent, follow me!” I said and we started off in the direction of a heavily wooded area.
I led the way into the thick brush in silence and we finally came to a clearing. I turned to the animals and addressed them,”There is a farm house that is about five miles to the north according to my calculations-we must travel through the night in order to reach our destination quickly and get help. Soon we will be home with our famkilies but we must remain on course.” The animals nodded in unison and Simba spoke,” We have become a family and are completely dependent on eachother right now for survival…there are no words to thank you all enough for saving me…I love you all.”
In the distance I heard a gunshot and then another. I could only imagine what was happening at the hotel…I shuddered at the thought…that’s when I quickly realized that the gunshot sound… was coming from behind us.
June 29, 2016-“I know I am the chosen one but where will they take me?” I asked Caleb. “You will be taken to the heist that the human has planned and you will be used to steal a very rare diamond…they have been planning this for months! I know that they have been waiting for the right man for the job…that just happens to be you.” I stared at him for a moment and tried to piece things together but I couldn’t quite make it fit, “Explain what you mean by me being the right man for the job,” I said. Caleb lowered his head said solemnly, “They’ve been waiting for a black cat.”
The animals in the room were still gathered around us; I took the opportunity to go over the plan once again. “Does everyone know what they are supposed to do?” I asked as the animals nodded in unison, “Let’s do a quick re-cap just to be sure…our lives literally depend on it.” It was hard for me to depend on others’ abilities to save me from any situation let alone a life or death one but what choice did I have. I had to take a chance not only for me but for Simba.
Night fell quickly and Edgardo and his henchmen returned to the room…little did they know that we had devised a plan of attack. The animals turned and stared as the tall, thin human entered the room and said, “Bring me the Chosen One!” Callisto grabbed my hand and whispered, “Don’t be afraid! We are counting on you to save us!” I looked at her and squeezed her hand, “I will never let you down!” and I was taken by the human.
June 28, 2016-I woke to the sight of Callisto standing over me with a glass of water, the animals had gathered around me and were staring. “What happened?” I asked. “You fainted,” she said. All of the memories came rushing back to me and I felt a sense of dread, I knew that I needed to get to Simba sooner than later and that I needed to help these animals escape from here. “Where is the canine?” I asked, “I need to ask him something.” Callisto motioned for the canine to come to me and he shuffled to the front of the crowd; “How could this happen? How could you all be taken from your families?” I asked.
The canine said in a low voice, “This is a new location…we haven’t always been here. Every animal that was at the old pet hotel has been moved here and their families have been notified that we had run away.” He paused, “Then when our families came looking for us we were moved in the middle of the night to this location…the owners have assumed a new identity and I feel that all hope is lost.” “What is your name brother?” I asked. “Caleb,” he said.
“How many of you have been transported here from the old location?” I asked. Fifteen animals one by one, slowly raised their hands and Callisto looked at me with tear filled eyes, “The rest of us have only been here for five days our families are supposed to come and pick us up in two more days,” she said. “Don’t worry,” I said, “I have a plan…Caleb, where is Simba being held?” “He is being held in different portion of the building all together…they are getting him ready for tonight,” he said as he hung his head. Fear strangled me and my words barely came out as a whisper, “What happens tonight?” I asked. Caleb lifted his head and said, “The Mission…and I fear for you…the Chosen One.”