Escaping to Sanity
Kari sat on the couch of Dr. Feldman’s well-appointed office, refusing to lay back as always. Briefly, she turned to look at the balding, middle-aged man. His ever present smirk still lingered. Kari resisted punching his lights out, again. Two weeks in a straightjacket during the previous month had convinced her it wouldn’t be worth it.
Feldman held up a large color picture. The forest in it looked normal except for the creature looking over its shoulder at the camera. Biologists would immediately recognize a Giant River Otter, but this one walked easily upon its stubby hind legs, it stood nearly 5-feet tall. Huge for a river otter. It’s most extraordinary quality was the leather utility belt it wore around its waist. Tools no human ever made filled the belt.
“Remember this?” said Feldman.
Kari scowled. “Sure.”
Kari analyzed the photo critically. “A little grainy. I should’ve used a faster shutter speed.”
“Kari…” growled Feldman.
“Okay, okay, I admit it,” sighed Kari. “I photoshopped the picture.”
“Uh huh. So you finally admit to your strange anthropomorphism of otters?”
Kari leaned back and sighed. “It was a joke that got out of hand. Somewhere along the way, I got lost.”
“You’re right, doc. Maybe all those sleepless nights caught up with me. Maybe I saw what I wanted to see.”
Feldman put the photo back into his file. He continued in that classic psychologist’s voice, intended to sooth, but actually only irritated. “That sounds great, Kari. It appears you’re making progress. But somehow I feel you’re just saying what I want to hear.”
“No doc. I really think your drugs, and getting enough sleep, is setting me straight.”
“Well.” The annoying smirk returned. “We’ll talk more in a few days.”
Back in her cell, Kari doubted herself for the thousandth time. Did she really have a psychotic break? Everything she’d seen and learned seemed so real, so clear.
A sudden shimmering beside her bed broke her train of thought. With an audible pop, an otter wearing a heavy tool belt, appeared beside her.
“Oppenheimer!” husked Kari. “You came for me!”
Oppenheimer grinned. “Ye dinna think we’d let ye rot in here forever, didja lassie? Unh!” He grunted as she squeezed him tightly.
Tears filled Kari’s eyes. “Opie. I was having doubts. I wasn’t sure if you’re real.”
“It’s all very simple, lassie.” Oppenheimer held out both hands. In one hand was a red pill, in the right, a blue pill. “Which one do ye choose?”
Kari eyed the pills warily. “What’s the difference?”
“Well.” He held up the red pill. “This one’s raspberry, and the other is blueberry!”
Kari grinned as she took the red one. “You guys always make the best gummies.”
An orderly suddenly crashed through the door screaming into the mic on his shoulder. “Security breach! West corridor!” He leaned down and stared at Opie. “What the fuck are you?”
Opie pulled a tool from his belt and jammed it into the orderly’s neck. Sparks arced across his face, and he collapsed in a heap.
“Nice stunner, Opie!” said Kari.
“Really? I thought it was a hyper-polycirc-interfabulator.” Opie shrugged. “But ‘stunner’ will do.”
Opie led her into the hallway. “Can’t we just beam back?” asked Kari.
“Nay, lassie,” said Oppenheimer. “Ye’ve got no retrieval circuit. We’ve got to run fer it.”
A crowd of three burly orderlies rounded the corner and dashed towards them. Oppenheimer unfurled a complex tool with speedy motions. In a mere second, he’d reconfigured it into gatling gun and he sprayed the charging orderlies. They collapsed into squirming, screaming heaps.
“You don’t have to kill them!” complained Kari.
“Nay lassie. It fires frangibles. They no penetrate, but they hurt like hell!”
Oppenheimer handed it to her and she fired another burst into the men who’d bullied her for months. A fresh set of screams erupted.
Kari grinned evilly. “Oh yeah.”
The gun proved handy in getting them outside where a waiting starship hovered above the asylum grounds. As they ran for the ship, Dr. Feldman followed, snapping pictures with his cell phone.
“Kari!” screamed Feldman. “What are you doing?”
Kari waved goodbye, saying, “Escaping to sanity!”
Feldman struggled against the straightjacket. “It’s true! You saw the pictures I took!”
Dr. Warshawski, sporting a fresh black-eye, said, “Come, Mr. Feldman. Admit you photoshopped them. And really, a tool belt on an otter? Don’t you think your anthropomorphism of otters is quite strange?
Frangible Bullets: Bullets with much less chance of penetration. They are designed to disintegrate when hitting something hard. In my story, I’m assuming a more advanced design that merely stuns people who are hit. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frangibility#Bullets
This story marks the return of characters from two other stories. I saw the prompts for this week and immediately knew what I wanted to do. The original stories including Kari and Oppenheimer are right here:
Giant River Otter
This week at Grammar Ghoul Press’ Mutant 750 writing challenge, the photo prompt was a tool belt (picture above) and the word “anthropomorphism.” I hope you enjoyed my interpretation. Look here to see what other members wrote: http://www.grammarghoulpress.com/gg-writing-challenge-40/#more-1804