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Shifters 2: Black and White
I watched as government agents surrounded the terrified zebra. Frantically looking around, the striped beast realized that it was trapped. Agents continued to surround the zebra until about fifteen of them pointed their guns at point blank range in the poor animal’s face.
“Come on, Drew,” whispered Emma.
“Get ready, then, if you must,” I whispered back, and Emma immediately transformed into her tiger form, swishing her tail impatiently. Just as the zebra’s side hit the railing I yelled “Go!” and we jumped off the ledge. Bear, tiger and shark knocked the agents over the railing and were rewarded with a satisfactory splash. I quickly transformed back and stared into the zebra’s eyes.
“We’re friends,” I told it. “Change back; it’s safe now. You don’t need to run.”
The zebra nodded and closed its eyes in concentration. A moment later, a tall, lightly tanned guy stood before me. He wore jeans and a black t-shirt, both of which seemed to be uncomfortable in this sweltering heat.
“Introductions later,” I continued, “Let’s get out of here!” The four of us ran out of the resort and followed Emma as she hopped into a standard issue black Agent car. We sped away as black helicopters began to descend on the resort.
During the drive, I learned that the zebra’s name was Marco, who was on the run from his family, the authorities, and most of Cancùn, Mexico. He had managed to keep his powers a secret from his family up until two months ago. The day he revealed his powers was also the day that Agents swarmed his house and threatened his family. Marco took off running and ended up here.
Safely away, I parked on the driveway of a house. We climbed out of the vehicle and walked in. Inside, Marco whistled in admiration once the lights were flicked on. The place wasn’t that big, but it was a finely decorated two story house.
“How did you get this place?” Marco asked. I started to answer, but Jake, the third member of our ambush party, stepped in for me.
“With this,” he said, flashing the wallet of one of the agents we knocked into the pool today. “These guys are loaded, and when they attack us, we get a free car and tons of cash. No credit cards, though, unless we need to leave a false trail. Once you use a credit card Agents will swarm the building in minutes.”
Marco looked down at Jake. “Well,” he said, “the Asian talks. What’s that accent?”
“Chinese. I’ve lived in China for all of my life until Drew and Emma rescued me, and that is where I learned my English.”
“And you’re a bear?” Marco asked in an amused tone. Jake flickered between forms.
“Got a problem with that?” he asked in an agitated voice.
“No,” replied Marco, backing off a few paces. Jake turned to him and smiled.
“Just a joke,” he told him, and took Marco’s moment of confusion to clean his glasses.
“Drew!” Emma called from upstairs. “The other group is back!” I hurried to the door and opened it to find the two other people I had recruited in the past six months as well as a new one. She stood silently as I greeted Tracy and Kane. Then I turned to her. Her dark skin and hair blended in with the shadows, and her pitch-black leotard further hindered my sight, but when she smiled her pearly white teeth gave her position away.
“So,” I started, “what can you do?”
“This,” she replied, as she stretched out and growled softly at me.
“Panther,” I answered, “Nice.”
She changed back and we walked in to greet everyone else, and I went into the kitchen to help Emma and Kane with dinner.
Before we ate, I introduced the newcomers. “Everyone, this is Sabrina,” I said, gesturing at her, “and this is Marco,” I said, nodding in his direction. “Sabrina is a panther, and Marco is a zebra.” Then I introduced everyone else. “Emma is a tiger, Jake is a bear, Tracy is an eagle, Kane is a snake, and I am a shark.” Everyone started chatting after my short speech, but once I put food on the table the only sounds were that of forks and knives clinking on plates.
After everyone was full, we all sat around our big plasma screen TV. I flicked through the channels until I came to a local news channel. A woman was standing outside in the dark as vague shapes of people and “do not cross” tape covered the screen behind her.
“…appears that the damage done was at a minimum, with an undisclosed amount of government Agents suffering minor injuries. They will recover as more Agents continue to search the resort for information about this abrupt attack.”
I muted the TV. “Well, our ‘abrupt attack’ isn’t going unnoticed. Marco, you definitely need to stay in the house for a few days. We’ll wait for this to die down in this safe house.”
Then everything went wrong.
Agents crashed through the windows and swarmed through the busted front door. Guns began to fire at will, but we soon recovered from our initial shock and attacked.
Animals and black-suit Agents went head to head, but there were far more Agents than us. I finally managed to get an Agent to stop trying to pelt me with stun bullets with a quick brush of my tail, but I felt a sharp sting and immediately felt drowsy. I slapped behind me and transformed back, but it was too late. Another man, this time with a hypodermic needle gun, had shot me, and though I tried to resist I soon found myself blacking out. My last vision was of blurs; the blur of a tiger, a panther and a zebra.
When I woke up and my hazy vision cleared, I found myself staring at Emma, who was trapped behind bars. I was about to free her when I noticed that the bars went all the way around me. I was the one trapped.
Behind me were my friends and fellow Shifters; Marco, in Zebra form, lay unconscious to the right near the cell door.
“How did you get outside?” I asked Emma. She smiled, but the smile didn’t reach her eyes.
“The Agents let me go for a quick visit to see you and to persuade you to tell them about?”
“No!” I replied, “No to the Agents and no to you, Emma. How could you have betrayed us?”
With that cold smile still on her face, she answered, “Good for you! I had to spell it out to Marco before he understood. Of course, then he rammed the bars before I could explain to him that this cell is covered in a strong electric field, so he’ll be out for a while. Oh, and as to how, I chose our new but GPS-bugged Agent car. I was the one who told the Agents to attack, and I let them capture us.”
“That’s not what I meant, and you know it.”
Emma walked to the door, then turned around and looked me straight in the eyes. A tear ran down her cheek, but her voice was steady and calm.
“Fine then; because unlike our striped friend, Drew, not everything is black and white.”