I Am Nocturnal
Warning, the story contains some strong language. It’s not my fault. That’s how the main character decided to talk.
When I was born, my mother named me Furry Delight, but the creatures that own me now call me “Nicky”. Sometimes they also call me “Chinchilla”. I don’t know why they decided to give me two names. I think one is enough, plus I would prefer it if they used my real name. But I cannot tell it to them, because I don’t talk their language.
My home is located in a nice, cool area and it has three levels. On the lower level there is white shredded stuff covering the floor and that is where I go to the bathroom. This level also has a large round thing. If I get inside and try walking in there, the thing turns. When I do that, my owners call me a Smart Chinchilla. I do not know what this means; must be yet another name. Why do they have to use so many?
On the second level is a small house where I hide, and pieces of wood that I like to chew. Top level is the best, because it has food. There is the pellety stuff and the grassy stuff and the wet stuff that comes out of a tube. I like the grassy stuff best. When I walk, small things keep falling out of my rear end that look like the pellety stuff. I do not know what they are or what causes them.
I guess I rather like my life, although I still remember the days when it used to be different. Once I was a large, two-legged creature like my owners. That was many days ago, before Furry Delight was born. Back then, my name was “Christopher”. I had a large house and many friends. I was famous. It had been a good life, until I got into the accident, and it was a pretty good life even after that.
People called me a great actor. There was one role that impressed them the most. They used to say that I had done an amazing job portraying a man who fights for truth, justice, and the American way. What they didn’t know was that I didn’t have to portray anything. All I had to do for that one role was to be myself. Because I was nocturnal. A famous actor by day, I became that man by night. If not for me, life on this planet as we know it would have ended a long time ago.
My life today is completely different, but, in a way, I’m still the man I was before.
I am still nocturnal.
It is now evening, and my owners are home. My youngest owner decides to play with me. I hate that. He lets me out of my house, and then, before I am done exploring my owners’ place, he decides that he needs to catch me and take me back. I am not yet done with my project, so I hide under the furniture where he cannot reach me. Before the day is over, I have to complete the floor plan of my owners’ place in my head. I will need it tonight.
My owners are making a racket, trying to catch me. I make a mad dash down the hallway, running into every room, rapidly taking measurements as I rush in and out. Finally, I find what I was looking for – a window that you can use to exit onto the roof. The window latch would be easy to open. My work for today is done, so I settle down and let my owners scoop me up. Happily, they congratulate each other. They think they have finally managed to catch me. How naïve. Inside, I cannot help smiling.
I jump off the owners’ arms and into my house. Quickly, I head for the top and look for the grassy stuff. Aw, here it is. I sit down and start eating. I need to have a good, strengthening meal before tonight.
“You’re so hungry, Nicky,” the owners are cooing. “Are you hungry? Why yes you are! Here, have some more hay. Look, Mom, he’s eating out of my hands! Awww!”
I pay no attention to them. I am getting ready for tonight’s mission. There isn’t much time left, and I need to act fast.
Night finally approaches. By now, it must be dark outside. I cannot see that from where I’m sitting. My house is in the basement of the owners’ place, so there are no windows and I cannot look outside. There is a clock on the wall, but its battery has been dead for ages. It’s been showing 5:15 ever since I came to live in this house.
But the night has come. It is here. I can feel it in my blood. Slowly, my old powers are returning to me. My mind is now clear and new strength fills my body. I am ready to do my work. The owners have left the basement and gone to their rooms. Good. I must be discreet.
Using my telekinetic powers, I quietly open the cage door and walk to the storage room. The box labeled “Halloween supplies” is on the top shelf, and is twenty times the size of Nicky the chinchilla. Good thing I’m not Nicky the chinchilla right now, or else I’d never be able to open it.
I fumble inside the box and pull out a black cape. Too bad I lost the old red-and-blue one, sometime in my previous life. Oh well, this one will have to do. I put it on and gingerly make my way to the window that I located during my trip around the house earlier today. Up the stairs, make a sharp turn, first room on my right. The lights are out and my owners are breathing evenly in their sleep. Not to worry, I will not wake them. I stare at the latch, and it turns. I move my stare to the window, and it swings open. Minutes later, I’m on the roof, ready for takeoff. It’s Saturday night, and I have received signals that a tragedy will take place soon unless I step in and make things right.
No time to waste. I step into the sky and it receives me.
There’s a song about me that starts with, “I can’t stand to fly”. Bullshit. Flying is what I love most. After all, the sky is my real home, not this planet. The low movement of the night wind as I rush against it, the stars showing me the way, the planes that I have to maneuver around – all these things excite me and fill me with a special kind of calm and relaxation that I can never get from anywhere else. I glance down and the freeway looks like a shiny caterpillar from up here. I need to follow the caterpillar all the way downtown, because that is where my mission takes me tonight.
I check my internal clock and suddenly realize that I’m running late. The accident is about to happen. I position my body straight for better aerodynamics, and speed up. At last, I am at my destination, so I can begin the landing. The streets and high-rise buildings rush towards me as I spiral down. With a back flip, I land on my feet and take a look around.
Oh shit. I’m too late.
For a split second, I get this feeling of helplessness and despair as I stare at the Lexus SUV, lying on its side, blood spilling from under it. This is the accident that I had to prevent tonight… and I didn’t. In a state of shock, I watch as the driver, unharmed, climbs out the window, and a passer-by helps him to get the vehicle back up. The driver is a young kid that had way too much to drink. He looks as shell-shocked as I am. He gets back behind the wheel and speeds off, leaving his two friends behind. One of the friends is bleeding.
This brings me back to action. What am I doing? Why am I standing here watching this happen? It still isn’t too late to get things back to normal.
As I look at the car getting away, my stare becomes hard, almost physically tangible. I have to concentrate on the driver’s seat. Ah, it worked, just like so many times before. With a squeal of the brakes, the car comes to a stop, and the howling driver falls out on the ground. He has every reason to be in pain. Ten seconds ago, his seat has inexplicably caught on fire. He’s rolling on the ground, as flames and smoke come from the seat of his pants.
But I have no more time for him right now. I’ve got the car; I’ve got the keys. I turn to the two guys sitting on the ground. First, I need to take care of the one that has been injured. He’s bleeding and unconscious. When the car fell on top of him, it tore half of his leg right off. On planet Earth, this is a nearly lethal injury, which has always puzzled me. Why cannot people on Earth learn to regenerate their lost limbs, like we used to do on my home planet? It is so easy. I sit down next to the guy and concentrate my regenerating powers on him. Within a few minute, a new leg grows back. Now to heal the minor scrapes, and my work is done. I check for concussion, but there is none, so no need to fix that. The man is regaining his consciousness as I stand up.
I walk to the car, take the keys out, and hand them to the two guys on the ground.
“Your friend is now fine,” I say. “You can go home now.”
It is incredibly quiet. Everyone is staring at me, including the guy that now has third-degree burns of his ass. At least he managed to put the fire out. I have no intention of healing him. He’ll get over it.
He looks the most scared of the three.
“Who are you?” he manages at last. “What are you?”
I turn to him for a moment.
“I’m nocturnal, bitch!”
And with these words, I take off. Time to leave. My work here is done.
On my way back home, I look at the stars and think about humans. Why are they so different? What makes a human betray his friend and leave him to die? Why would anyone do that? And, if they are capable of doing it, then why do they bother being friends with each other? Why does a human become friends with someone he cannot trust, someone that will betray him in the future? So it must be true that the humans cannot see into the future like we do on my home planet. How confusing it must be for them.
And why do humans keep animals as pets, I wonder as I land on the roof of my owners’ house. Why not just let the animals live in their natural habitat the way they are used to? What’s the point of yanking an animal out of its natural environment, and then spending tons of money trying to recreate that exact same environment in a suburban house? Why not just leave the animal alone to begin with? Speaking of animals, it’s time for me to turn back into Furry Delight. It is almost dawn, and my powers will soon leave me.
I climb though the window, stare at it, and it shuts behind me. Down the stairs to the basement, take off the cape, put the “Halloween supplies” box back into its place, turn into a chinchilla, get inside the cage, shut the door. I crawl inside my little hiding-place and drift off to sleep.
When I wake up, the lights are on and the owners are here. One of the owners is cleaning the cage, sweeping out the brown pellety thingies and putting in the fresh shredded paper. The littlest owner is trying to pet me, but I make a menacing sound and retreat where he cannot reach. I’ll be honest – being a chinchilla sucks ass. But I can live with that, because I know something my owners never will. I know that another night will come.
And Superman will fly again.
Because I am nocturnal.