Authors: J.S. Frankel
Tags: #fantasy, #young adult
“I told you,
don’t call me Miss Kitty.” Harry Goldman, young genius, DNA
researcher and still a nerd, is back, and this time he’s working
for the law. At the end of Catnip, his girlfriend, Anastasia,
devolved into a cat. He manages to bring her back to her half-human
form, but no sooner does he do so than a new problem surfaces. Two
other transgenics emerge, and they are out for blood. Harry and
Anastasia have to face off against Lyudmila, another cat-girl, and
Piotr, a half-rhino, half-boar monstrosity that lives to kill. And
if that isn’t bad enough, the police, lynch mobs, and underground
dwellers are after Harry and his girlfriend as well. With time
running out, they embark on a treacherous journey to the Ukraine in
order to solve the riddle of Anastasia’s DNA, a journey that could
also cost both of them their lives.
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characters, places, and incidents either are products of the
author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to
actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely
Rise Of The Transgenics
Copyright © 2015 J.S. Frankel
Cover art by Carmen Waters
All rights reserved. Except for use in any
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Devine Destinies, an imprint of eXtasy Books Inc
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Rise Of The Transgenics
Catnip Book Two
To my wife, Akiko, and to my children, Kai and Ray,
who make every single day my greatest adventure.
January sixteenth, night, an alleyway in
Nick Winter shook the snow off his tattered overcoat
and zipped his jeans up after taking a leak in the corner of the
alley. He shivered as he breathed in the cold January night air.
Checking out his environment, the narrow place filled with trash,
boxes, discarded bottles and more that served as his home, he saw
no one and no shadows. Nothing indicated that any trouble was
coming his way.
However, this was New York City—a back alley
in downtown Manhattan—so anything could happen, and he needed to
Another shiver ran through him, and he
cursed the New Year’s weather.
He also cursed the fact that his coat was
not nearly thick enough to keep out the icy fingers that threatened
to freeze him on the spot. Good thing in a way that it was cold, as
it kept him alert, although he figured drinking some wine wouldn’t
be a bad idea. It would ward off the night chill.
He looked up at the moon. It had to be
around two in the morning, but he had no spare money. Since no one
was going to drop in and deposit a bottle of Thunderbird in his
lap, he decided to curl up in his box shelter and wait it out until
he could forage for something later in the morning. It would be a
little warmer then.
Wintertime was a bane to the homeless. He
had nowhere to go, as the shelters were often filled to the brim.
On top of that, even if you did get a place to flop, they were
dangerous places. He figured he was better off staying just where
he was. If danger didn’t factor into the equation, there simply
weren’t enough places to go around, so what was a homeless person
expected to do, ask for a reservation?
Nick knew he stood a good six-two and
weighed in the neighborhood of a muscular two-twenty, not bad for
being forty-two. However, a person never knew what kind of nutballs
would be there. No one except the truly brave or foolhardy would
mess with junkies, crack-heads, and all-around losers. They could
be carrying knives or brass knuckles. He’d even heard of one guy
who carried around a bottle of acid and liked tossing it at his
victims. A snort of disgust erupted from his nostrils at that last
point. No thanks, he’d take his chances in the open.
Unconsciously, his right hand strayed to his
ripped jeans pocket. The heft of his switchblade gave him a measure
of comfort. Taking it from his pocket, he depressed the trigger and
the blade sprang out.
He’d found it during his
trash-bin travels, probably tossed away by someone on the run, and
made it his own. Examining the blade in the moonlight, he marveled
at its cleanliness, heft, sharpness, and the fact that it could
slice through anything.
While he could handle himself well enough
hand-to-hand, this was his insurance. It was five inches of lethal
steel, all at the touch of his fingertips. If anyone tried
something, something bad, they’d get it. A guy had to protect
himself these days. It wasn’t a question of being able to fight. He
knew how and had fought off anyone and everyone in the past. His
turf was his turf and he was prepared to go to war in order to
defend it. He had defended it on numerous occasions and always won,
too, but these days it paid to be prepared.
Confident in his abilities, he said to
himself, “You’re the man. You’ve taken on the best and beat
A second later, though, a thought intruded
to dash his false sense of invincibility and he muttered, “No, not
With another slight shiver at the memory, he
folded the knife up and stowed it in his pocket. Hunkered down
inside his triple-layered box home, he thought about the
night—the night when his perspective on what
reality really meant had changed forever. There were tough men and
women out there, but this person hadn’t been a person.
She was a cat-girl. Six months back, he’d
been in the same alley during the summer, sharing the space with
his friend, George. She’d dropped in—literally. That was
impossible, as no one could move so silently and quickly. Yet she
had, and she’d whacked him around but good. She did the same with
his alley mate, and he stood around six-six and weighed two-eighty,
so it wasn’t as if it had been an unfair fight.
It had been an unfair fight, though. This
girl—cat-girl—moved faster than anything he’d ever seen. She was
also very strong, easily twice as strong as he was. While she could
have easily sliced both of them up—she did George’s arms, sliced
them up like deli meat—in the end, she just knocked the large man
out. “I just want to find something to eat,” she’d told him.
Then off she’d gone to forage in a nearby
dumpster like any cat would...but she was no cat, and he knew
When Nick had attempted to take her on, she
whipped out a mean right hook. He never saw it coming, and the
impact of her fist meeting his jaw sent him against the wall,
knocking him semi-silly. He thought this was the end. She could
have killed him. It would have been easy, but maybe, he figured,
she wasn’t into killing people. After that, she took off and almost
The cops had shown up just in time and had
taken her down. The memory of the takedown played itself out in his
mind. He remembered the hissing and spitting sounds she made, the
electronic snap of the Tasers echoing over to where he lay, and the
howls of pain from the other patrol officers she slashed before the
cops finally subdued her.
Another memory arose, that of her smell. Her
fur—musty, damp, and with a slightly gamey odor—indicated cat all
the way, but the way she was built screamed girl...just a very
furry one. Even the way she spoke...just like an American, but when
he tried telling the cops what he’d seen, did they listen?
Not a chance, they simply packed him up and
shipped him off to Belleview. “Hey man, I saw what I saw!” he kept
yelling as they dragged him to the ambulance and stuck a needle in
his arm. “It was a cat-girl, okay?”
Mr. Needle contained a powerful sedative,
and the next thing he knew, he was in with a bunch of fellow
drooling loonies, confined to a cell. The docs also doped him up
with a few hundred milligrams of something for his morning
breakfast, and he knew—
—that they’d never believe
So Nick got wise. By his reckoning, he spent
a good three months in the institution, the first of which passed
in a kind of a hazy daze. Eventually they weaned him off the drugs.
The shrinks talked to him and said that he hadn’t seen anything,
that it had been the booze talking. Although he wanted to tell them
that they were wrong, that he’d been sober and clearheaded, he
learned to say “Yes sir” and “No sir” and say “I didn’t see any
cat-girl. It was a figment of my imagination.”
Being stoned on Thorazine could do that to a
person, Nick reflected, bitter now that the cops shut him out.
They, along with the psychiatrists, discounted his testimony, and
in the end, he figured it was better to lie than to spend the rest
of his life in a looney bin. No thanks to that!
The authorities had let him out in
September. “Keep your nose, clean, Nick,” one of the doctors said.
“You’ve got a clean bill of health, mental and physical, and you’ve
got a second chance. Don’t blow it.”
With fifty dollars in his pocket, a gift
from one of the orderlies, he set off. He reclaimed his alleyway
and went back to foraging for food, clothes and booze during the
daytime and sleeping with one eye open during the long nights. He
never heard another word about the cat-girl. “And she ain’t there
anymore,” he murmured.
Deep in his heart, though, he knew better,
and a second later said to the air, “Figment of imagination, my
butt. I saw her.”
Saw, but never confirmed. Between raids on
trash heaps and scavenging for what he needed, he checked the
television broadcasts during the day in some of the shops he passed
by. Rumor had it that a bear creature, a dog creature, and the
cat-girl were all connected to some kid, and there’d been a battle
somewhere up in the Catskill Mountains.
The kid...what was his name? Nick searched
his memory...and the name Goldman floated up. A laugh suddenly
burst out of him. How would a teenager know about all this,
Nick truly had no idea. He would have liked
to talk the matter over with his friend, but George was no longer
around. He’d left town a week before, nervously looking over his
shoulder at every sound, crack, creak, hiss, and other odd noise he
heard or imagined he heard. “You’re cracking up, man,” Nick had
said in an attempt to impart a little reality. “You gotta tough it
out, hear me?”
George, soft-spoken in spite of his size,
held up his arms. The scars on his forearms, long, red, and deep,
stood out. “This ain’t cracking up, Nick. You saw what she did to
me, what she did to both of us. I’m not sticking around to find
A harsh laugh forced its way out of Nick’s
mouth. He’d spit on the ground as if it would shame his friend into
staying. “Are you gonna let a little pussycat scare you?” he’d
His friend’s expression, open-eyed and
scared, didn’t change, and his Adam’s apple bobbed up and down
violently. “You bet your butt I am. That chick carved me up, and
you’re lucky she didn’t do the same to you. And we both spent time
in the psych ward, didn’t we?”
Forced to confront the truth, Nick
reluctantly nodded. George had gone to a different place, but had
gotten the same dope-’em-up treatment, and they’d both been let out
at more or less the same time. Still, while he’d retained his
confidence, most of it anyway, George had lost his. “Where are you
going to go?” he’d asked, leaning against the wall and brushing a
few snowflakes off his tattered coat.
The other man didn’t answer. He ignored the
falling snow and continued to pack his meager belongings, which
consisted of two shirts, a pair of oversized jeans and his radio
and stuffed them all in a knapsack with one broken strap. Finishing
up, he hefted the bundle over one shoulder and started off.
“So where are you going to go?” Nick had
“Somewhere,” the reply came. “See you.”