By RD Rivero
By RD Rivero
February 16, 2000
All right! All right already! If you didn’t know yet, yes, I am a
coward, mostly because I do what ever my sister tells me to. Sometimes,
I question her, I doubt her real good -- in my head. Yeah, for some
reason, I can’t ever tell her she’s wrong, I can’t ever back down from
her challenges. From anyone else’s but not hers. Let’s talk low so she
won’t hear us, OK?
Now don’t mistake me. I don’t dive in head first. I try to stay calm
and rational. I try to be careful and cautious. But no matter how hard
I try when it comes to what my sister and I do, it never turns out
right, it never turns out the way we expect. Something always happens,
something always happens that causes one of us -- me -- to come out
bruised, pained and humiliated.
Can’t they see it’s her doing? It’s her! Look at her! She’s a mad
woman! A mad woman! No! No. I shouldn’t say such things. Not after
her accident. You want to see her? She’s around here somewhere.
[He looks around a small, quiet room. A wooden rocking chair sways to
and fro by some unseen force. There is a single window in the back, on
a bright, white wall. The glass is bare and thick, really thick.]
I guess she’ll come out when she’s ready. Any ways, I suppose you want
to know what happened that day, her accident and all. Well, let me tell
We had just finished our Thundercat duties so we were free for the rest
of the day. Right after we put the newly-recharged batteries in
Panthro’s utility closet we decided -- rather she decided -- that we
should go out on the hover boards. It was a fine day, there wasn’t a
cloud in the sky. The birds were singing, the flowers were blooming.
The ground was still moist from the rain from the night before.
Above and through the Berbil village -- or the Wolos? The board shook
under my feet. My hands felt funny, felt tingly. I started to laugh
and the board shook more violently. My heart raced, my stomach
knotted. I hated being up that high but she loved it, she loved behind
up there. I don’t know how she could stand it, but she can’t do it any
more. Now don’t you feel sorry for her. People always get what’s
coming to them.
Sooner or later. Sooner or later. Sooner or later.
After she finished showing off and taunting me, she got tired of the
hover boards. We stopped by the bushes where we lunched on the wild
candy canes Snarf always raved about. Somehow the next candy cane
tasted better than the one that came before it. The sugar high. Oops!
I should watch what I say around Tygra.
[He points to a door with a small, square window where two Thundercats
can be seen. He smiles and continues.]
I had to go bad, real bad. Though there were plenty of places around
for privacy I didn’t care. I got right up in her face and pulled myself
“Gross,” she said. “Do that somewhere else,” she said.
“Right. You’ve never seen that before.”
She stared while she sucked on the end of candy cane. I started to feel
my stomach knot up again so I drew the stream toward her legs. She ran
back and I ran after her. Soon I was empty and relieved but before I
could even put myself back in, I jumped on her, I tackled her to the
ground. I was able to hold her head down between my legs but she broke
free and I fell forward. We wrestled and tumbled around in the grass.
At the end we fell by the side of one of the bushes. She laughed and
giggled, I think I did too but, stuffed-full of candy canes and all, I
“What’s that, Kit?” I asked. She had pulled something out from the top
of her shirt.
“A tape recorder. I took it from Tygra’s room the night before,” she
I was stunned, stunned by the word ‘took’ so I asked: “What do you mean
you took it?”
“I mean I borrowed it.”
“Wileykit, you better give it back!” I was adamant. Tygra’s, things,
well, were, special and important to me and I didn’t what anything to
happen to his, to his things. Yeah. “What are you going to use it
She pressed the ‘play’ button. We both heard the sound of two men
moaning softly, then loudly, then there was panting and short, strong
breaths, then the sounds of tigers roaring into each other, then she
stopped the tape recorder. “For fun.” She laughed or giggled or
something or something or something. “Let’s go to Mumm-Ra’s pyramid and
listen in on him.”
“No. No. That’s dangerous, Kit, that’s too dangerous.”
“Only if we get caught.”
“No. No. I won’t do it. I’ll tell. I’ll tell, Kit.”
“No you won’t, Kat, here, get on your board. We’ve got the whole day.”
There was nothing I could do. Can’t you see that? She got on her board
and sped away south. I worried about her, of course I had to follow. I
followed her through the trees of the forest, over running streams, down
hills, down valleys.
I was hot on her trail. I mean, she was just ten, fifteen feet away
from me. So close we could have talked to one another if I wasn’t so
scared. The air was cold. The skies were cloudy. Everything all
around was dark. There was nothing alive any more. The waters were
brown, dark red and smelled so bad it could even turn a mutant’s
stomach. Some of the water was on fire and the smoke it made combined
with the stagnant, foul air in a kind of fog.
When I was side-by-side with her she kept telling me how easy, how
simple, how safe the prank would be. The scenery -- gnarled, petrified
trees and black, oily sand -- must’ve affected her too but it didn’t
stop her. She told me I would be in and out so fast that even I
We reached the pyramid. You’ve never been there, have you? Yeah, I
didn’t quite like that “stretch of our adopted planet.” Not a patch of
ground has seen light for the past, the past, what? Millennia? The
clouds that never leave that place got so thick it was hard to tell
where the sky ended and the pyramid began. Until the lightning bolts
struck the peak of the pyramid or the tops of the four obelisks that
surrounded it. The faces of the pyramid were smooth and covered in
writing. Some strange, first earth writing Mumm-Ra used called, what?
What? What was it again? Hieroglyphics.
My sister dropped her hover board on the side of one of the obelisks.
Mine landed next to hers. She came to me and from above a bolt of
lighting struck the pyramid. The sound of the thunder knocked me down.
“Come on, Kat, we’ve got to find the way in.”
“The way in? I’m not going in there.”
“Don’t be a fraidy cat.”
“I’m not a fraidy cat!”
“Are you going to help me or what?”
“I’ll help you find a way in but that’s it.”
“Kat!” She grabbed me by the arm and tried to push me toward her. I
pulled, or at least I tried to pull myself free from her grip. Her
claws were in my skin and I got scratched but not too badly, not like
usual. I stumbled but I did not fall. She was headed toward a small
vault with an open door. Within there was nothing but darkness, there
was no light at all.
“No,” I said to her real loud.
That’s when she turned around and looked at me square in the face.
“Fine!” She said real angry. “I’ll be back, fraidy cat!”
“Fine!” With that she stormed into the vault, into the unseen. I
stayed back, of course, but I was alone and I hadn’t counted on that, I
hadn’t counted on her going in. So. I moped around. I walked all the
way around the pyramid four times. Yeah, I was going to show her, that
was for sure.
I got tired. I don’t know why, so don’t ask me, don’t ask me why but I
went into the vault. In the dark I stood, I waited, I listened. I
inched in just a little bit more. Water -- I hoped it was water --
dripped slowly in the distance. The distance? In that small, in that
small vault? I wished I had a flashlight. I had to wait for my eyes to
adjust. Gradually I began to see more and more detail. It wasn’t a
simple, little vault, right in front of me was a staircase that led
down, down to where it was even darker.
By Jagga! By Jagga!
If she had gone down there then so could I. I started to walk down,
first one step, then the second, then the third, the next and the next.
To my right there was a wall of rock. To my left there was nothingness,
the nothingness of the vast chamber beneath. When I reached the foot of
the staircase I turned around, I could see the outline of the far away
corner of the room. I could see nothing more. I walked along the
walls, I felt them with my hands, I passed several alcoves I thought
were doors but that weren’t. I had returned to the staircase without
having found anything.
Panicked, I sprinted far from the safety of the walls to the center of
the room where floor should have been. Should have been. Right?
Right? I mean, that’s what you would expect. But no, the floor did not
extend through out all of the room. There was a hole in the center and
I started to fall. While I tumbled through the air the steps of the
spiral staircase struck my arms, my legs, my chest. At the end I landed
on my back and there I remained, motionless, until the pain went away.
I got up and I looked around. I was in deep, literally, surrounded by
the framework of the spiral staircase. Before me was a long, narrow
hall. The dripping echoed the loudest from there. I noticed something
else, too, the very distinct sound of a chain rattling, fretting. The
rest was a creepy silence.
Though my body was still sore, I mean I walked with a limp and all, I
managed to crawl through the stone and mortar of that hall that sloped
down. I had no doubt Mumm-Ra’s sarcophagus would met me at the end. I
walked and I walked and after a while I saw a dim red light in the
distance. Then soft, so very soft, soft voices. None were my
sister’s. I only hoped that the sound of my forced footsteps did not
resonate too loudly to disturb the voices, I wanted no one to catch me.
Especially my sister ‘cause I had something else for her.
The hall ended abruptly in a room, a chamber that was as large as the
pyramid was large. Four tall statues, the ancient spirits of evil,
stood in a circle around a pool. A faint mist evolved from the waters,
down the side, to floor where it collected around the bases of the
statues. The red light came from the sarcophagus itself which was
thankfully closed shut.
I stepped through the shadows on tiptoe. In about a half hour I had
completely explored the recesses of the vast chamber. I had made it all
the way back around where I had started from. There was no Kit, I
couldn’t find her anywhere, no where, no where.
I couldn’t blurt out her name or call her, that would have been the end
had I done that. She had to be there, so, afraid, once again I started
around the room. In disbelief I realized the trick. It was a trick, a
joke, of course. She was there, avoiding me so that I would get
scared. Yeah, I knew how her mind worked. I wasn’t afraid anymore. I
ran briskly, I was less careful, you see, if I was in danger of getting
caught she would have to stop me. That was how I had planned to lure
her out of hiding. For once I would have had the last laugh.
I was very bold but before I could get my plan into action I got really
afraid, suddenly afraid, more afraid than ever before. I wanted to run
out of that place. My heart pounded and I panted. I was on my knees,
doubled over. The voices, the soft voices came from the statues, from
the sarcophagus, the walls. The walls! The walls spun, scrolled across
me. The world rotated and I stumbled while I walked. I headed to the
pool and to the mist. I fell to the side, I fell and slid down to the
cold, stone floor.
My senses returned after a while. The room was darkened completely,
there was no light anymore when I stood. The pool was empty and no mist
came from it. No voices. I wanted to call out for Kit but then I
remembered where I was. I wished I had known just how long I had been
out like that.
My clothes were wet, my hands held something. It was the tape recorder,
it was the tape recorder Wileykit had with her when she entered the
pyramid, it was Tygra’s thing, I mean, tape recorder. I could barely
see it in my hands but from what I could feel I knew there were deep
scratches and gashes on it. The tape it contained seemed to be all
Fear and panic seized me and I ran back to the hall. I ran up the hall,
up the spiral staircase. I could not get out of there fast enough. I
could not get free from there fast enough. No. No one could have
gotten out of there fast enough. All the while I did not lose my hold
on the tape recorder, I did not drop it. When I reached topside I
headed to the hover boards, they were exactly where they had been left
on the side of the obelisk.
Lightning and thunder filled the air but I was not affected anymore. I
got on my board. I got on my board. I got on my board and I guess I
was still groggy because I don’t remember anything else until I got back
to Cat’s Lair.
It was late afternoon, it was nearly sunset when I arrived. Everyone
was gathered in the main hall. Everyone. Even Pumyra was there. Wow.
They noticed me first, though, ‘cause I was alone. I looked around, no,
no, Wileykit was not there. I looked down on myself, my clothes were
covered in blood but I wasn’t bleeding. There was hair on me, too, red
hair. Strange. I think Liono asked me something but I forgot. I don’t
pay much attention to him. Tygra, he saw what I was holding and he
asked me where I had gotten it. So I told him. I told him. I told him
everything, just like I promised Kit I would tell everything.
[He laughs suddenly. He stops and he leans in closer.]
They played the tape.
“Liono,” said Mumm-Ra, he spoke throughout, “Liono. That pompous, that
wretched, that effeminate little cub. Swaggers all about with that
Sword of Omens of his. That precious little Sword of Omens. Let him
come to me with his toy! Let him show me how it grows and grows. He
calls that a weapon? Cheep pornography. That’s all. Cheep
pornography. And talk about cheep. Well, then, there’s Cheeptara, I
mean, Cheetara. Oh, she’s fast, isn’t she? Real fast. And that’s just
going from one bed to another! Poor Pumyra. I pity her, you know, I
pity her. Not only does she face competition from the women but from
the men too. After all, that albino freak, that don’t leave him out in
the sun for too long tiger’s quite a little too chummy, just quite a
little too chummy with our friend the architect. You know what I mean.
What? The brains of the operation? That stuck-up, bent-over, look at
me I’m so pretty in stripes! Ha ha! Ha ha! Gee, I wonder why he
spends so much time with Panthro in the Thunder Tank? I wonder. Don’t
you wonder? I wonder. I wonder. Even when he’s strung up on some
addictive binge you can’t pry him off boys with the jaws of life! But I
diverge. No, wait, wait, I had almost overlooked them. The kittens.
Well, you saw for yourselves, they aren’t too innocent, are they? The
boy sees Tygra, the girl peers into Cheetara’s room when she’s
entertaining Panthro and together they teach each other what they’ve
learned with aid of their bodies. Code of Thundera? By Jagga! By
[There was more on the tape. After Mumm-Ra’s rant finishes, rather,
once his voice fades into unintelligible murmurs the tape recorder
caught part of another conversation:
“Kat? What are you doing? Kat? You want us to get caught? What?
No! Not now! Not here! No! Kat, no!”
The tape ends abruptly.]
Yeah, well, everyone started to run around shouting until Snarf came in,
then everyone silenced. He had a small box in his hands. He said
someone had dropped it off on the front steps a few moments before.
I saw red hair sticking out of the sides. “Kit,” I said. I took the
box from Snarf and opened it. It was Kit. She was back but she had
been injured. Her accident of course. I took her out of the box and
for some reason everyone gasped, everyone stepped back. Someone
screamed, I don’t remember who, I don’t know why either. I gave Kit a
little kiss on the cheek then we went to the kitchen. It was dinner
time after all.
Oh, there she is. You wanted to see her, right? Kit. Kit, meet my
visitor. My new friend. She gets nervous around strangers.
[He pulls out a box and opens it to reveal his sister’s severed head,
expertly mummified. The eyes wide open, the mouth, the slightly-parted
lips. Internal structures still dangle down from where the neck had
“He keeps doing that, Liono, everyday. Everyday the same conversation.”
Tygra and Liono talk behind a thick metal door. A small window,
square-shaped and thick, gives them the only view within of the small
“Can’t you get the head away from him?”
“No. We tried but he, he’s uncontrollable without it.”
“Why does he put it between his legs like that?”
Tygra does not answer.
Liono looks at Tygra, then down, then to the side and walks away.
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