Kristine crunched her way through the freshly settling snow. It had been flurrying all evening, small flakes floating down lazily from the sky. This inevitably lead to her train from London being delayed. It was almost dark now but the sky was strangely bright from the reflection of the snow and due to the orange lights bouncing off the fresh layers that were forming. At least she was home now, or would be shortly. Her flat was ten minutes away from the local station, a cold walk through the snow would get her back to the warmth of home.
As she turned into an alley, she saw a little black cat sitting on the top of a bin, licking it’s paw intently. She had seen it around here for a month or so. One of the families on the estate must have recently got it – it looked quite young and very black against the white snow. As she approached, it regarded her intently in the way most cats do – deciding if you are a threat, a source of food or simply something to be ignored. She reached her hand out and gave it a light scratch behind the ear, the purring indicating that she had made a correct choice. As she scratched the cat she noticed it’s unusual collar, which looked to be leather with various markings burnt onto it.
Deciding it was too cold to stay, she stopped stroking the cat, saying out loud that it ‘should go home and stay warm’. She continued down the alley and turning her head when she got to the end, she noticed the little black cat had vanished – probably following her advice she mused.
Two weeks later, and Winter was in full force. The snow, as it always did in England, had melted after just a couple of days to be replaced with incredibly grey and cold weather. Kristine had been working late and was exhausted. Getting home at this hour was ridiculous she told herself. A bitter wind buffeted Kristine as she walked down the alley to her flat, once again seeing the little black cat on top of the bin. It watched her pass with an uninterested look on it’s face as she hurried home.
She got home, unlocked her door, and dropped the keys onto the table. Putting on the TV for some back ground noise, she collapsed onto the sofa still in her coat, and instantly fell asleep into the warmth of dreams.
When she awoke she knew something was wrong. Her flat should have been dark but all she could see was light through her closed eyes. Her hands were freezing. She opened her eyes and looked around in shock. She wasn’t in her flat any more, she was outside, laying on the ground which was covered in a thick layer of snow. She sat bolt upright looking around. She was in a forest and the sky just looked wrong. She got to her feet, looking around her and hearing nothing but absolute silence. No birds, no traffic, no sounds at all. She tried calling out a few times but aside from an echo she got no response. She checked her coat pocket for her phone, but it wasn’t there. In fact, her pockets were completely empty.
She was getting very cold now. She had to find a building or a person, or anything to try and make sense of the situation. Picking a direction at random, she started walking through the snow, hearing a much deeper crunch than she had experienced a few weeks ago. She hadn’t seen so much snow in her life – and this forest seemed huge. In every direction all she could see was snow and trees. She veered towards some higher ground, hoping following a slope up some hills would give her a better vantage point.
It got harder walking uphill through the snow. It also started to get a lot colder – the silence slowly being replaced by a loud wind that had started blowing through the trees. She could see a ridge up ahead, it seemed higher than the land around and she made a beeline for it. It was then she noticed the small black shape sitting on a tree stump watching her.
She stood still and looked at it. It was the little black cat she had seen in the alley. Or was it? It looked similar, but what on earth was it doing here? She approached it cautiously, noticing that it had a dark brown leather collar – which looked very similar to the one she had seen on the cat in the alley. As she got closer to get a better look, the black cat launched itself off the tree stump and started to run away.
She called out, she chased it, it was heading downhill through the trees and she ran as fast as she could to keep up with it. She felt ridiculous for doing so – but something instinctual told her to follow the cat. The chase lasted a few minutes, as the cat decided to stop too just ahead of her, and lick it’s paw again. She caught up with it, breathing heavily, noticing the steam pouring from her mouth every time she exhaled.
The cat looked up at her, let out a meow and started to trot off ahead of her, almost like it knew where it was going. She followed slowly, still trying to catch her breath. The woods here were much thicker, it was hard to see more than a few meters before the thickness of the trees obscured the surroundings. A few minutes later, the cat dived behind a bush seemingly vanishing. She walked up to the bush and saw that the cat hadn’t actually vanished, but was now standing in a cave opening obscured by the bush, grooming itself. She entered the cave cautiously appreciating any shelter. As she traveled further into the cave, with her black cat companion, walking in step with her. There was a orange glow flickering up ahead. There was a fire at the end of the cave, burning away next to some fur pelts. She sat her aching body down on the pelts, warming her frozen hands by the fire. The little black cat came up to her, rubbing it’s face against her leg before walking back out of the cave.
She closed her eyes, trying to understand what was going on. Hearing the crackling of the fire in front of her as she tried to organise her thoughts. Suddenly, there was a voice. She snapped her eyes open and looked around.
|The Cat of Tabaitor acts as a tutorial agent in your first few games of Fringe Planet – giving you hints and tips as to how to play, and alerting you to anything that is important. It can be turned off if required but is designed to be as unobtrusive as possible, while still keeping to the lore of Fringe Planet.
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