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.
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.”
June 22, 2016-I bit onto Edgardo’s ear with all of my might and we rolled around on the floor as we swapped punches; I delivered a swift left hook to his jaw and pinned him to the ground. I stood ominously over top of him and sneered, “Know this…whatever you’re up to I plan to destroy it.” He breathed heavily and said, “Have it your way…but…what about Simba? You wouldn’t want him to suffer would you?”
Edgardo smirked and I went to attack again but was pulled off of him by a couple of his henchmen. “Listen up everyone!” Edgardo shouted as he smoothed his stupid sweatshirt, “Because of your new friend, Peasant, you will be working with no rest tonight.” The room suddenly went quiet and he continued, “Feel free to thank him in any way you see appropriate.” I could feel the angry eyes of the animals on my back and tried my best to ignore their deathly stares. The henchmen continued to restrain me until Edgardo left the room then they released me with a push.
When the coast was clear Callisto ran to my side, “Sebass that was so…brave and yet…so stupid, what were you thinking?” she asked. “I need you to tell me immediately what is going on-we don’t have much time!” I demanded. “Please Callisto, I need your help…to save Simba.” She looked at me and bowed her head, “I will help you all that I can.” She paused for a moment and said, “The animals here are involved in illegal activity but not by choice…we are all part of a massive crime ring.” I sucked in some air and waited for her next words…”We are jewel thieves,” she said, “And every night is a new mission…that’s why you…have become the Chosen One.”
June 21, 2016-“When shall we meet?” I asked Callisto, she did not answer because Edgardo had left his perch and was headed our way; I could see that she was nervous because her whole body shook as he approached us. “Peasant!” the weird looking dog shouted in my direction…I turned around to see who he was talking to because it sure as hell wasn’t me.
His hair was fashioned into a purple mohawk and he wore a red and white sweater with a hood; I stared at him in amazement and wondered if he knew how ridiculous he looked. “Peasant!” he shouted again but this time he stood inches in front of my face. The look in Callisto’s eyes made me decide not to lunge and attack Edgardo…there was a fear that emanated from her so I proceeded with caution. “No…” I laughed, “My name is Sebastien not Peasant and we haven’t been properly introduced.” I stuck out my hand for him to shake but he spat on the floor in front of me instead. I withdrew my hand and he said, “Your name will be whatever I call you.” Who did this guy think he was? My patience was wearing thin and he was really starting to anger me. “No-maybe you didn’t hear me correctly the first time…My name is Sebastien and I will not answer to anything else,” I said as I threw the polishing rag to the floor. The room went silent and everyone stared.
Fire filled his eyes and I smiled…I had gotten under his skin. The first rule in war is to attack your enemy psychologically-get so far into their head that they can’t concentrate and remember to never show any fear. Battles were won in the mind and I was thankful that my mercenary training had served me well. Edgardo was so close to my face that I could feel his breath on my fur. “So we have a rebel on our hands do we?” he sneered and pushed me, “I have just the job for you…THE CHOSEN ONE!” he shouted as he held out his hands to the side-the other animals were silent and the tension was palpable. I flipped over the table that held thousands of precious jewels and lunged at Edgardo…I had started a riot and the room broke into bedlam.
June 20, 2016-Callisto looked at me with uncertainty, “Can I trust you?” she asked. “Yes but you need to tell me what all of this is about,” I said. There was a small dog perched on a chair that sat high above the other animals; the chair was adorned with gems and purple satin cloth…it was quite ornate and frankly it was quite gaudy. I stared at the canine indirectly and wondered what his position of power was. My question was answered almost immediately as if Callisto could read my mind telepathically.
“That is Edgardo…he is the villain’s right hand man…he watches from his perch to make sure that we are working and not conspiring with eachother,” she whispered as she polished massive diamonds. I looked at the ridiculous canine and raised an eyebrow, how could that little thing cause so much fear I wondered. I had seen his type before and he was officially called a “Chinese Crested” something or another. Would I classify him as a dog…no…he had a mohawk and fur boots but that was all the hair he had entirely. He looked laughable. I smiled widely, “Him? That’s the guy?” I asked in disbelief. She threw me a white cloth and said, “You mustn’t let him see us talking…pretend to work or else we will be caught and then sentenced.” My face remained normal but my pulse quickened, “Sentenced to what?” I said as calmly and as quietly as I could. “To hard labour,” she said without looking me in the eye. Something grabbed my insides and twisted; I remembered Simba and that he was taken.
“My kin is missing, he is called Simba-they took him straight away after our arrival,” I said under my breath; I kept polishing a massive green stone that glittered in the light, it was as big as my paw…perhaps bigger. “Yes. Some of the animals are taken right away…is your Simba a big cat?” she paused and switched to polishing a different mound of diamonds. “He is huge,” I said as fear gripped my throat. “He has been taken to hard labour…I can show you where he is tonight… but it will be dangerous,” Callisto whispered as her eyes met mine. A feeling of dread consumed me and I felt sick, “I need to rescue him and get out of here, you must show me the way.”
June 17, 2016-I was perched on the inn keepers extraordinarily thin arm as I peered into the room…something was amiss! There were canines and felines of all sorts being fitted for special garments and the room was FULL of expensive jewellery.
I was totally confused; what in the world was going on in here? I looked for Simba but didn’t see him and I started to get nervous. I jumped from the villainous woman’s arms and ran to the doorway to find Simba but she blocked the opening with her designer boots, “Ohhh no my black beauty,” she cooed, “You will have a very special job soon and I need you to stay here!” “You will find out soon enough what your mission will be and what is required of you to be a guest here!” I shuddered at the cold chill that ran down my spine…something evil was lurking.
I turned back around and tried to think of my next move as the woman shut the door behind me and disappeared. What was this place? I got my bearings and slunk over to a white and brown feline with pretty blue eyes…she was quite stunning if I did say so, “What is going on? Why are there so many animals and jewels?” I asked. The feline turned to me and said, “You will soon find out…this place is not what it seems sadly.” “Are we in danger?” I asked. “Yes…” she said, “What is your name?” I paused for a moment and took in the words she had just spoken, “Sebastien.” “And yours?” “They call me Callisto.”