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By RD Rivero

By RD Rivero
October 4, 2000

It was an unbearably dull mid-afternoon and on that lazy, summer day the 
Thundercats had nothing important to do. Liono and Tygra, seizing the 
opportunity, broke away from the others at Cat's Lair for a pleasant stroll 
through the wilderness. The two walked about carefree, their guard down -- 
fresh in their memory was the last fight with Mumm-Ra, a soundly furious 
offensive that had ended in disaster for the undead sorcerer.

"One day, I fear, Mumm-Ra will find himself good evil-help," Tygra said.

"Hmm," the young lord rubbed the short stubble on his chin deep in thought. 
The abrasive sound caught the tiger's attention. "Better help than Slythe and his 
merry band of bungling mutants?"

Liono wondered about the possibility.

"The Warrior Maidens speak of a group of Plunderian mercenaries --"

Tygra noticed his friend's metal distraction.

"What's the matter, Liono?" he asked.

"Haven't you noticed how in the beginning the mutants were smart and how 
now they're just mindless puppets?"

"Mindless puppets," Tygra was amused not only by the phrase, but also by the 
possibility that Liono might not be as dumb as he looked.

"Mumm-Ra's puppets -- it's like he drains their energy."

"Yes, that could be what's happening to them or they could be dumb mutants."

"I'm sure they must have many of them."

Tygra chuckled and placed his grip around Liono's exposed shoulders -- he 
getting smarter every day and the tiger was very proud of his young lord -- yes, 
that fine figure of a Thundercat -- that -- his eyes wandered -- "No, no, I must 
not, I must not think these thoughts," he struggled with his mind, " I must do as 
Cheetara taught me, I must think of women, I must think of breasts, supple 
breasts, exposed breasts bouncing in --"

"So if Mumm-Ra gets some new help I'm sure they'll start off strong and then 
they'll end up just like the mutants."

"I must think -- I, I -- I mean --" Tygra shook his head then looked up to the 
sky. A thick, black smoke rose high in the air above the sparse tops of trees -- 
an arcid smell -- a strong heat. "Fire!" he shouted.

"I'll call the others --"

"Wait -- let's see where it's coming from first --"

The two ran across the rough and littered terrain while gusts of steaming, hot 
wind brushed across their fur. The heat of the fire was intense and still they got 
closer and closer. The metal of Liono's claw shield singed his flesh in searing 
pain -- around him the waving underbrush sparked, the fallen leaves on the 
ground blackened and shriveled, shrinking into brittle dust under the force of 

Soon the sound of the cackling mixed with loud cries for help.

"We're in the center of a village," Tygra said.

Bamboo huts and wooden gangplanks collapsed in flames.

"I'll use the sword," -- somehow something about the sound of it disappointed 
the tiger -- he had come to expect more. But when Liono reached down to the 
handle the heat of the blade made him cry out in pain

"Tygra!" -- the voice was familiar, coming up from the trees.

"It's Willa!" he snarled, pointing above. "She's stuck!"

"I almost have it out --" Liono said, still struggling with the sword.

Tygra paid no attention as he stepped up the tree and, with the aid of his whip, 
he climbed to the sturdy, middle branches upon which the Queen of the Warrior 
Maidens clung on for dear life.

She sighed and clawed her way to him. She wrapped herself around his body.

"Were are the others?"

"Safe, I hope. I was directing the rest out from up here when the fire cut off my 
escape route."

He stroked her fretted hair -- "You're safe now."

"Yes, I'm safe with you."

"Hang on."

Again, he extended the whip and swung himself and Willa down to the 
smoldering earth.

Liono, his mane singed for he had foolishly run into the flames, stood holding the 
sword over his head, fully extended. A strong beam of red light burst forth from 
the Eye of Thundera and, above, the clouds around the forests thickened. Rain 
poured without fanfare. When the last embers of the fires were extinguished the 
storm front parted and the heavens were again a bright, glowing blue.

"Oh, Tigie," Willa said, her arms around his striped, black-orange neck, "my 
hero," she kissed him deeply, passionately out in the open fields.

The smell of the fire had passed and the animals had returned to their natural 
states. Birds fluttered in green branches. Squirrels foraged among dead leaves 
and twigs, digging the ground with their small paws. Butterflies hovered over 
brightly colored flowers that had only then opened and blossomed.

Tygra and Willa were locked in a permanent, amorous embrace while above 
the sky was painted in the shades of rainbows and below roaming bunny rabbits 
vigorously humped one another --

"AHHH!" The heart-pounding scream shouted. "WHAT IN THE NAME OF 
GOD --"

And then and there at that moment RD awoke from his nightmare into a world 
of darkness -- cold darkness -- the bedroom was deadly silent but for the 
echoes of the scream that had passed.

Sweating and out of breath he panted: "What the -- what the hell? Is?" He sat 
up in bed, beads of sweat trickled from his forehead, the sheets wrapped 
around his body. "Tygra -- lives? Happy -- endings. Bunny rabbits? The ASOE 
forbid! I'll never mix carrot juice and orange juice again."

"What is it, honey?" his bed mate asked, barely awake. "What's the matter?"

"Oh, that was the worst dream ever --"

"It's just a dream, come back to me," the voice spoke with the dull timber of 

The two huddled close together sharing warmth.

RD continued, calmly, "I dreamed I wrote this story and Tygra didn't die and it 
had a happy ending and --"

"There, there," the voice purred softly if not forcefully, "it'll be better in the 
morning, you'll see."

"Yes, you're right Mandora, my sweet, it'll all be better in the morning."

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