The 13th Kat

All Rights Reserved ©

Chapter 7

Nadalia had been moving from place to place for six months, avoiding the enforcers and trying to keep up with the news. Saphrax had tightened curfews, so anyone caught outside their species district was arrested, and people were only permitted five hours a day in the central districts. Most people had discovered the surveillance bugs in the lights and had gone over to using candles. This resulted in candles being banned, along with two-way radios and personal communicators. Most of the rebel groups had been caught by this time, and the lucky ones were executed. Nadalia was still broadcasting, along with two other small groups who also kept on the move. The other groups were completely different from each other, but because they shared a common cause they seemed to get along quite well over the airwaves. There was the group calling themselves the Rabble Rowsers, who were mostly young party people. Most of their broadcasts seemed to focus on how dull and unfair the new regime was, since they couldn’t have fun anymore. Then there was the religious group, calling themselves the Disciples of the Silver X. When they first formed they would go out and paint silver X’s on any official buildings they could, as the X had always been a symbol of religious unity. Nadalia and the other two groups would often discuss things via their transmissions, so it was inevitable that they would all eventually decide to organise a meeting. The Rowsers had already mentioned the possibility, and Nadalia thought of a way to get the message out without letting any enforcers know anything.
“My dad once told me about this really odd show that used to be broadcast on visual, before it was banned,” she said in one of her transmissions. “It was called something like… ‘The Weird Adventures of Andy’, does anyone else know it? I remember one episode, dad said Andy had to decipher some code, and I was just wondering the other day if any of you could recall what it was… Listen to me, rambling on pointlessly. I’m signing off now, taking a wander down to the lake… Fish for tea, for me, tonight!” Hopefully they’ll get it, Nadalia thought. She remembered that particular story well, it had been one of her favourites when she was little.
As luck would have it several of the Disciples were of an age to have seen the series before visual transmissions were banned, and a couple of the Rowsers had heard their parents talking about it. In the episode Nadalia had mentioned, ‘fish for tea’, ‘rambling’ and ‘lake’ had been code words for a time and place, translating to the real world as the end of the week, in an old storage building in the central district of Region Two. Both the other groups sent coded messages in their next transmissions agreeing to the meeting, so Nadalia made her way to Region Two over the next few days.
Nadalia arrived at the meeting place a few minutes before the agreed time, and found two men inside. One was a chimpanzee, and the other was a lizard. She entered the dingy, fusty-smelling building cautiously, fairly sure they were rebels but wanting to check before she revealed herself completely.
“S’up there, you guys?” she called, making the ‘you’longer than usual. It sounded ridiculous, but it was a phrase often used in the ‘Andy’series, and they had agreed on it as an identification phrase.
The two men glanced at each other. “Okay here. S’up over there?” the lizard called the agreed reply. Nadalia sighed in relief and went over to them. “I’m Eznik, this is Yeranos,” said the lizard when Nadalia got closer. “We’re with the Disciples. You?”
“I’m Nadalia, also the Thirteenth Kat. It’s nice to meet you,” Nadalia replied. Another few people crept in the door and called out the same phrase Nadalia had. Yeranos responded this time, and the others came over and introduced themselves.
“Hi, I’m Tsolag,” said a young, rather skinny looking gorilla. “This is Zenobia and Rehan, we’re with the Rowsers.” He indicated the two female chimps who had come in with him. Unfortunately, none of them had time to do much more than introduce themselves before the door opened again.
“Erm, hi, have we come to the right place?” someone asked. “We’re, erm…”
“We’re looking for the meeting, but we can’t remember the entry phrase,” a similar but more confident voice cut in. “I think it’s something like ‘s’up guys’?”
Nadalia and the others looked at each other. “Any idea who these two are?” she asked quietly.
“Not a clue, they’re not with us,” Rehan whispered.
Yeranos shook his head. “They’re not part of our group. Enforcers, you think?”
“I don’t think enforcers would have asked questions. But I don’t think we should completely trust them either.” Nadalia thought for a moment. “What do you lot reckon?”
“Since we’re here, we might as well do what we came to do.” Eznik said decisively. “But I think we should all agree on a common frequency to organise another meeting on soon, I suggest frequency 189. And I don’t think we should discuss anything important here.” Nadalia and the Rowsers agreed, and they called the two newcomers over.
As they entered the small circle of light cast by the rebels’lamps, the others could see they were two young male chimps, probably twins. The more confident-sounding one spoke first. “I’m Levon, this is my brother Nazar. We wanted to come along, because we’re against Saphrax as well but we can’t find a way to send out rebel broadcasts. Mind if we join in the resistance?”
Zenobia smiled at them. “Course not. We’re just kinda getting to know each other this time round, why we’re against him, stuff like that.”
“Before we start talking, I think we should have someone as lookout in case any enforcers do show up,” Nadalia suggested. “Then we should be able to get away quickly if we need to.”
“That’s a good idea. I’ll go, if anyone comes I’ll shout through the door,” said Tsolag, and he went back outside.
Eznik stepped forward. “Okay, shall we start with you two?” he pointed to the twins. “Besides the obvious political reasons, how come you’re against Saphrax and his regime?”
“Personal reasons mostly,” Nazar said. “A while ago he had our family killed, for no particular reason. We want him out because he’s a nasty piece of work, and doesn’t care about the people’s interests.”
“As good a reason as any,” said Rehan. “We’ve got similar reasons. Nobody can enjoy themselves anymore; all his policies are unbelievably restrictive. Besides, since he took over all we’ve had is rain. It’s those clouds he filled the sky with, they’re making the whole world miserable. What about you Disciples?”
“That depends which of our group you’re talking to,” Yeranos explained. “The more devout of us believe that Saphrax is an agent of evil, and should be sent back where he came from. Most of us just think that he’s gone too far with his policies and is dragging the world down into a new dark age. Nadalia, what are you against him for?”
“Personal and political. I knew the old leader Korian very well, and I’m sure you’re all aware that Saphrax had him killed. Also, a friend of mine has been missing for months now, and I think she’s being held captive.”
Suddenly Tsolag shouted from outside, and ran in. “Enforcers are on the way, we’ve got about five minutes, maybe less.”
The two Disciples looked at each other and turned to accuse the twins. “You two are spies! You led them here, that’s how they found us!”
Levon started to argue, but Zenobia interrupted. “We haven’t got time for this, just run! If we get away we can talk about it later,” she said as she and Rehan pulled the others outside. Nadalia left by the second door at the back of the storage building, and disappeared through a passageway heading for the yellow district.
Nadalia was being followed. She could hear people behind her, and when she turned a corner she caught a glimpse of what looked like the twins from the meeting. I’ll head away from my hideout, she thought, I might be able to lose them if they’re after me. She turned down a side street and sped up. After an hour they were still behind her, so she turned another corner and hid in a doorway. As the twins walked past, Nadalia jumped out.
“Why are you two following me?” she asked.
“Ah, I know how this looks, but we’re not after you or anything,” Levon said.
“We figured you’d be heading somewhere safe, and we need a new hideout,” Nazar interjected. “And if somewhere is safe for you to hide, it’ll be okay for us, since they don’t know about us yet.”
Nadalia considered them for a moment. “Well, I’m looking for a new place to hide myself. Maybe…”
“And what are you three doing out here?” Two enforcers had come round on patrol and caught them all. “You are aware that primates and cetaceans are not permitted in the yellow district?”
“Yes, but… we’re not regular citizens. We’re doing undercover work,” Nadalia said quickly, hoping they’d fall for it and go away.
“Really?” The enforcers looked dubious. “Show us your chips.”
Nadalia couldn’t think of anything to say, and since she didn’t have a chip she knew she was in trouble. Before anyone had a chance to do much more than blink, however, Nazar had taken something out of his jacket and pointed it at the enforcers. There were two incredibly loud bangs, and the enforcers dropped to the ground. Nadalia looked and saw blood everywhere. “What…?” she began to ask, but lights started coming on in the houses nearby and the twins pulled her away before anyone came to see what the noise was about.
They ran until they came to an abandoned house on the border of the blue and yellow districts. They couldn’t see anyone around, so they went in. The front door was hanging off its hinges, and all the windows were boarded up. It was a very old house, built at least two centuries ago. They could tell from the style of architecture, because back then most houses were built in the same style: two floors, three rooms across and two rooms deep. The style hadn’t been used since, and the house had clearly fallen into disrepair a long time ago. They went straight through to one of the back rooms, and sat down on the dusty floor.
Nadalia turned to Nazar to ask the question she’d started to ask before. “What was that thing you used back there?”
“I’m not sure what it’s called exactly,” Nazar replied. “I found one a long time ago. That one didn’t work, but I managed to figure out how it should have worked, and I made a copy.” He took it out again and showed Nadalia. “I think it’s some sort of antique weapon, a bit like the shocker pistols we have today, except it uses bits of metal propelled by a tiny bit of explosive instead of electricity.”
“He’s always been into rebuilding historical stuff,” Levon said to no-one in particular. He had gone round to check the doors and windows in the room, but was still listening to the conversation.
Nadalia was staring at the small weapon in Nazar’s hand. “Worried about me using it on you?” he asked her.
“Not really, if you were going to you’d probably have done it already. I was just wondering what it looks like inside, exactly how it works. Then it occurred to me how much like my dad I’m getting,” she answered with a laugh.
Nazar smiled. “If you like I could show you exactly how it works sometime,” he said.
“You know, this place would be ideal for a resistance base,” Levon interrupted them. “You could send a message to the other groups and let them know, Nadalia.”
“I could, except I don’t have my transmitter here. I wasn’t expecting to have to run off so quick, I left it at my old hideout. I can go pick it up tomorrow,” she replied. She still wasn’t completely sure about trusting these two, but after they helped her get away from the enforcers she was a little more inclined to believe them.
“Okay, we can spend the night here,” said Nazar. “Should one of us go with you to pick it up? Just to make sure you don’t get caught or anything. I’ll go if you like, since I’ve got this.” He waved the antique-style weapon.
“That sounds like a good plan,” Nadalia replied. “So, since we’ve got a few hours, what’s the story with you two?”
The two of them exchanged looks before beginning their story. “It’s like we said at the meeting, Saphrax had our mum and little sister killed for no real reason,” Levon said. “There’s not much else to tell really.”
“We had to keep moving around a lot when we were younger,” Nazar picked up. At a look from his brother he said “well, we might as well start at the beginning. See, our dad was in politics, but he wasn’t very good at it. He’d manage to get elected, but then the people would vote him out again really quickly. He had these weird ideas that people didn’t like very much. Then we came over here, same thing happened, except he kinda wandered off after getting voted out. We don’t know what happened to him after that,” he said sadly. “What about you, you said you knew Korian well, what’s the story there?”
Nadalia got the impression that Nazar had left something out of his story, but decided not to press him on it. “I was in a relationship with him. It was pretty serious, he’d proposed to me a few months before he was poisoned. And the friend I mentioned, she’s been missing since the day before the joining ceremony. Something tells me Saphrax has got her, though I’ve got no proof of that.”
They continued exchanging stories from the past until Levon fell asleep, then Nazar leant forward and whispered to Nadalia. “Can you keep a secret?” he asked. “You’ve probably figured it out already, but Levon doesn’t want to tell anyone. Saphrax is our dad; he arranged the accident that our mum and sister died in. We were supposed to be in the car too, but we’d had an argument with mum and we got out. I can’t even remember what it was about now. He’s been trying to blame it on us since then, and we’ve been hiding from him and his enforcers. But we’ve decided to stop running and start fighting back.”
Saphrax lifted the baby carefully. It had been a long time since he’d held a child, and he wasn’t entirely sure he remembered how to do it properly. The infant looked up at him and waved a tiny arm. A worker dimmed the overhead lights a little, to make it easier on the newborn’s eyes.
“She likes you,” said a rather dishevelled looking Melicia from the large bed she had laboured in for several hours. It had been a difficult birth, but seeing the newborn with her father had made it worthwhile.
“She’s got your eyes, Melicia.” Saphrax was overjoyed to see his child healthy, but the occasion was tinged with regret. For the first time since arranging it, he was sorry he’d had his other daughter killed. He decided to tell his enforcers to stop looking for his twin sons, and resolved to take better care of this child. “What should we call her?”
“I was thinking Viviane, after my great aunt. Unless you have any suggestions, love?”
Saphrax considered the name. “No, Viviane sounds perfect.” There was a knock on the door. “Can’t it wait? I’m with my family,” he shouted through the door. The baby started crying at the loud noise.
“Not really, this is urgent. It’s about the surviving rebel groups,” Valamir called through.
“Oh fine,” Saphrax muttered as he handed the bawling infant back to Melicia. “This shouldn’t take too long, dear. What about the rebels, Valamir?” he asked irritably as he left the room.
“They organised some sort of meeting tonight, we were only informed of the location a few hours ago,” Valamir told his boss. “We raided the place, of course, but most of them got away. We managed to capture two of them though, they’re awaiting interrogation in the cells.”
Saphrax sighed. He’d told his enforcers to leave off any questioning until he had a chance to see any prisoners himself, which seemed to be turning out to be a bad plan. “Fine, I’ll go and talk to them now. Then use the standard methods on them.”
They reached the cells where the new prisoners were being held, only to find that both of them had died. Valamir swore. “They were alive when they were brought in, I saw them!”
“Of course they were. If they were part of that nut job Rabble bunch, I should think they had suicide pills on them. I’ve told you not to leave new prisoners alone until they’ve been thoroughly searched, Valamir.”
“I’ll keep that in mind next time I encounter some suicidal head cases,” Valamir said through gritted teeth as Saphrax went back to his wife and newborn child.
Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.