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Fandom Feral Furlough

Sub Genres
Action, Adventure, LGTBQ, Mystery

chiropterra

krogan queen tabby#5445
"It's getting late, Is. We should leave."

"Hey, it was you that spent an hour and a half at the bookstore, remember? I'm not leaving without a smoothie. Now, come on. Stop worrying so much!"

Of the two mammals walking through the Bucksborough Mall that night, you might not assume that the meek, quiet voice had come from the black bear towering over her small best friend - at least until you looked a little closer. The bear trailed behind the badger-like girl in front of her, almost sheepishly. There was a nervousness to each step she took, anxiety in her posture. The grison, however, seemed to have the confidence one would expect from a bear, paving a path through the mall without a second of hesitation before each pawstep.

Isabel Grisonni was too stubborn, for one, to let her size get in the way of anything. She was never really afraid of anything, there was never any challenge too daunting. Of course, Bucksborough wasn't exactly full of high-stakes threats. It was a pretty boring little city, all things considered. Isabel was a fan of living life to the fullest, though, and that included taking things in stride. Her best friend, however, didn't share her unflinching attitude. Jessa had (quite accurately) been described as "Two hundred pounds of fluff and anxiety" by her dear friend. She had no bite, and no bark, either. Despite humbling even the biggest bucks in the city with her height and stature, Jessa had never really felt all that big. She was the sweetest mammal Isabel had ever met, she was smart as could be, and she always had her back - but she didn't have much at all in the confidence department. But that was usually okay, since Isabel had enough confidence for the both of them.

"I'll be right back!" Isabel said, squeezing her best friend's paw before slipping away towards the smoothie stand across the mall. "Wait right there!"

Jessa stood off to the side, anxiously waiting for her friend to come back. She glanced nervously at her watch. 9:55. The mall closed in five minutes. She sighed. The mall was basically empty at this point. There were still a few other shoppers meandering towards the exit or rushing to find that last-minute item, but most of the remaining animals were employees. Janitors starting to clean up after the teens who tossed trash around. Shopkeepers locking up their stores. Sales attendance trying to encourage those lagging customers to check out so they could go home for the night. She knew it really shouldn't be, but it was eerie in the mall at night with so few people. Usually, she'd be overjoyed to have so few people around, but right now... She just hoped Is would-

Ow! There was a prick at the back of her neck, like someone had thrown a rock. She swiveled around to see where it had came from. Her thoughts blurred, a growl rose in her throat, she dropped down to all fours - suddenly, the anxious young girl was a a ball of fury and feral energy, crashing through the mall like a demon.Her loose clothes tore as she rampaged, charging wildly at anything and everything around her - it was a miracle no one had been close by. And then as suddenly as the scene had started, she took off full-speed, on all fours, for the exit, the bag full of books she'd bought abandoned, her watch and glasses shattered on the floor of the mall alongside the tattered remains of what she'd been wearing. She was gone.

By the time Isabel got back, she was already gone. All she knew was that something insane had happened - chairs were flipped over, billboards and advertisements shredded, confused customers and employees alike trying to piece together what it was that they'd just heard. Isabel was calling out for Jessa, pushing and slinking her way through the taller animals who were now concentrated around the strange scene. Where the hell was she?

Suddenly, her ears pricked.

"That bear just went crazy!" an antelope cashier was saying, his voice shaking. "One second she was standing there, all quiet, and the next she was tearing up the place. Then she just, she just disappeared."

"Leave it to a bear to vandalize the place," a doe muttered to her small herd of friends, who all scoffed and nodded. The shaken antelope shook his head, sighed, and then scurried away to finish locking up his store. The few remaining onlookers seemed mostly confused - but soon the security guard, a bored-looking elephant, loudly declared that they should go. He didn't even notice Isabel, standing in shock as she clutched Jessa's bag and watch. What happened to her?

She and Jessa had been best friends since they were cubs. Jessa had never so much as spoken out of turn in class - she would never have done something like this. It just... it just couldn't be possible. But Jessa wasn't there. Her clothes were in tatters, the mall was too. It was like she had gone... "Savage...!"

She knew that was it. She'd watched every news broadcast, read every article, about the crisis that had befallen the big city about a year before. But how could it be happening again? How could it be happening here? To Jessa? Isabel didn't know the answer to any of that. But she damn well was going to find out.

SpotBandit SpotBandit
 

SpotBandit

Should be studying.
Never before had Ashen scurried back to the mall so quickly. It'd started when she was sitting outside the mall enjoying a milkshake and had propped her paw onto the side of her jeans' pockets only to realise that-- shock and awe! Her precious hand-held gaming console was missing. Then, and only then, did she make a mad dash for the shop she'd been in about an hour and a half ago. She'd never paced so furiously whilst feeling so anxious at the same time- and, if she was being truthful, she felt like she walking as quick as a cheetah at full speed. Her tail would lag behind her and follow her quick movements as she paid no mind to the mammals who cocked their eyebrows at her, all of them likely wondering why a black panther was storming back into the mall that was on the brink of closure. All her mind was really focussed on was getting her dear console back, which she happened to have a hunch regarding its whereabouts.

The store was dark and eerie; a complete juxtaposition to its usual packed, calm temperament. All of the lights were switched off to save power, likely due to the lack of mammals currently inhabiting the store. If it wasn't for her clothing being somewhat brighter than her coat, the few mammals leaving the building likely wouldn't of seen her packing straight towards them, which may've startled them-- especially if they happened to fall under the category of the predominantly common herbivore that inhabited Bucksborough. While she charged head-first through the store, she happened to pass by a very meek looking bear stood opposite side of the open hall to her left, with the poor girl looking considerably uncomfortable, possibly because she was sat alone in a dark building. Ash didn't take much mind to her, only mentally noting that bears were a rarity among the already scarce amount of carnivores that lived in Bucksborough. What she DID notice however was a familiar thin blue rectangle abandoned on the floor with that glorious sheen to it that gave away its location like a beacon. It was laid just besides an empty store stall that sold hotdogs made of nutritious plant fibre, waiting patiently for Ashen to come find it. The panther inhaled sharply and tensed up, before hurriedly jogging over to her precious device that lay lonely on the cold floor. She kneeled down to properly reach it, and quietly she murmured to herself how relieved she was that it was still here, and then hurriedly inspected the device to see wether or not gravity had proved to be very damaging to the frail thing.

Thankfully, it proved to be still in top working order, and only then could she properly breathe a sigh of relief. Gently, she slid the device back into her pocket and made sure this time she'd properly button shut the pocket she'd placed it in. She pet the pocket the device was cradled in and then got to her feet, only to hear this awful growl come from the direction she'd arrived from. Then, almost immediately after, followed crashing noises. Thrashing, bashing, clawing and those terrifying animalistic growls. Ashen automatically responded by ducking behind the hotdog stand, with her hide proving to be very useful in the dark environment. What she saw was that meek bear from earlier gone completely.. wild. She was on all fours, roaring around and breaking anything that dare stood in her way. Hell, Ashen couldn't help but wince when she saw the bear had accidentally torn off her clothing in her rampage... and then, in her panic, she pulled out her phone she always had on her. She fumbled to get the device out, and when she did, she started to record the whole wrath. She cautiously held it up against the hotdog stand so her trembling grip wouldn't completely ruin the video quality. What the small device caught was a wild bear destroying everything in its path. Chairs were flipped, posters were torn down, and some vending machines were flipped to their sides as if they were simply made of cardboard rather than hunks of metal. It was a horrifying ordeal. What if the bear somehow took notice of her? How quickly would she have to run? Could a panther outrun a several hundred pound bear? The thoughts ate away at her quickly, but thankfully as soon as it started, the storm passed. The mammal, still in its feral rage, fled. The bear girl had left behind several of her possessions.. and Ash was left horrified at the idea of the feral outbreak becoming a reality once again.

She wasn't left alone very long to swim in the piling terrors in her mind, as various mammals arrived to the scene to inspect the damage. The panther slowly emerged from behind the stand, and while she may've looked suspicious, the sheer fact she looked horrified by the surrounding area, combined with the fact that the damage done was so extensive that it would've rendered her exhausted, would've deemed her innocent to the mayhem that'd just unfolded. They all crowded around the area, but the panther kept her distance, likely paralysed by shock. Eventually after some chatter, an elephant security guard slowly ushered out all of the remaining mammals-- except for two, of course. Ashen, who could only assume the elephant was unobservant, and a small mammal that looked somewhat like a badger. The small creature was clutching the possessions of the feral bear while standing completely still, either a friend of the bear or someone who was contemplating stealing the poor woman's belongings.

After a moment of thought and recollection, Ash quietly emerged from the hotdog stand without realising that, in her caution, her footsteps were rendered almost silent. Thankfully she spoke up before she would've walked up behind and likely startled the small mammal.

"Hey," she sputtered quietly. "Were you that mammal's friend..?"
 

chiropterra

krogan queen tabby#5445
Isabel wasn't surprised when the elephant overlooked her, considering she was just about as tall as his toe, but she was just as oblivious to the dark-furred panther's presence as he had been. Still clutching her unsipped, smoothie (which was beginning to melt) in one paw, she struggled to gather the rest of Jessa's ruined belongings, made all the more difficult by the fact that even the torn scraps of Jessa's clothes were as big as she was.

"Huh?" Surprised, she turned when she heard the panther's soft voice, processing the question a second later.

"She was my best friend," she answered, looking up at the cat as she spoke. "And she wasn't a vandal." She was quick to her friend's defense, though she dropped the sharp tone once she spoke again. "I don't know what happened to her. But this wasn't her fault. I just need to figure out... well, everything."

The sounds of the mall gate being heaved shut by the security guard snapped her out of her thoughts.

"We should probably get out of here." Reluctantly leaving Jessa's ruined clothing behind (only after successfully stuffing her watch and glasses into her bag), she made a scurry towards the exit. The last thing she wanted was to get locked into the mall on top of everything else.

When her feet touched the concrete of the outside of the mall, she finally turned back to see if the panther had followed, letting out a strained breath from the jog.
 

SpotBandit

Should be studying.
Of course Ashen wasn't terribly surprised by the fact the small mammal was the bear's friend, given that the smaller creature was stood there clutching silently at the belongings of the now feral animal. There was a certain mournful aura that radiated off of her, and that wasn't a feeling a thief would be at all able to recreate, so there wasn't a question in Ashen's mind that this animal was matter of factly that bear's friend. The panther would've frowned if she wasn't left so startled by the sudden earlier outburst, and she'd probably have to regain enough of herself in the coming minutes to find herself able to reveal exactly what'd terrible fate had befallen her large furry friend. She was jittery, with her uneasy tail and trembling hands being the main indicators of this fear. To think that a few minutes ago her main concern was finding her dear handheld gaming system.. and now this? It almost felt like a nightmare. A dream that her mind had conjured up for her, and she'd simply awake by her bed with everything in completely normal order.

Naturally, it wasn't. There was the sound of heaving metal, and both Ashen and the smaller mammal seemed to realise that if they didn't leave now, they'd be locked inside of the mall that'd just given life to a feral animal. That would be terrifying, stuck in here. Sitting and hiding wherever you could, hoping to whatever god there was out there that you didn't feel a sharp prick on your neck.

The panther jogged behind the small mammal as they scurried outside of the mall in an urgent manner, both clearly not wanting to be stuck in here overnight. It was akin to the horrified jog the panther had made to get back to her system, though this time it was far more scary in the sense that there may've been a genuine danger indoors. Thankfully the two of them reached the cold pavement of the outdoors before they'd both got locked inside of the mall, as it shortly shut after their escape afterwards.

The run did Ashen's mind wonders, having helped her with her jitters greatly. The mammal she was following behind turned back to her to see if she was still there, and even though she was hesitant, she knew she had to say something.

One of her paws rose up to gently rub her own front neck, maybe to comfort herself.

"Hey, so.." How could she start this? Both of her eyes wandered off to the side for a moment, before they returned to the mammal below her. Her mind was still racing plenty, and she couldn't just sit on this information. Ashen cleared her tense throat. She suddenly spoke in a quieter tone, as if she didn't want anyone else but who she was speaking to hear.

"I-.. I saw your friend, before and after she'd gone.. crazy." Both of the panther's arms rose up gently and gestured with her paws, and withdrew her claws for a moment, as if she were emphasising how terrifying the bear had become. "I mean, absolutely terrifying. She was.. raving around everywhere, making these awful noises.. it was almost as if she'd gone feral, and-..." She stopped herself before realising she had the video feed on her phone. Hurriedly, she glanced at her pocket and slipped one of her shaky hands into it, before fumbling it over to the small mammal to use. Compared to her tiny paws it was huge, likely a bigger size for bigger paws.

"It's on here."
 

chiropterra

krogan queen tabby#5445
Isabel took a slow sip from her half-melted smoothie, grateful for the hydration even though the fruity taste felt empty to her now. She'd practically inhaled half of it before she finally forced herself back into the moment, made herself focus on the terrifying ordeal she now found herself a part of.

The panther once more spoke to her, and she cocked her head in her direction to indicate she was listening. She hadn't seen Jessa's outburst herself, but - "It's on here," the panther explained, indicating her phone. Isabel's eyes lit up - she had to see what happened!

"Thanks," she offered, genuinely grateful for the stranger's help. She navigated the phone without too much trouble - she'd borrowed Jessa's phone enough times - and watched the scene play out on the panther's phone.

After watching it, there was no doubt left in Isabel's mind that the same thing that had happened to those unfortunate predators in Zootopia had somehow, inexplicably, happened to Jessa. She still had far more questions than answers, but the footage ruled out that anything else went down in that mall.

"She really did go savage." It wasn't a question. It was a statement. She handed the phone back up to the feline.

"I'm going to find out what happened to Jessa," she declared, as much to herself as to the panther.
 

SpotBandit

Should be studying.
The quiet panther gently bit her lower lip as the small mammal watched the footage, the sounds of the growling and tantrums the device made proving easily to get to her. In that moment that felt like it'd just happened seconds ago, she was genuinely terrified that she would've died. Been mauled to death. Sure, leopards could run a great deal faster than black bears on a whim if they weren't packing extra weight, but that didn't mean she would've wanted to. It also didn't account for any unexpected happenings, for instance maybe injuring her leg, cornering herself and more. Her trembling didn't quite help her in the moment, either. Both of her paws had cupped themselves together as they both slid over each other in a movement that suggested she was trying to calm herself.

It didn't take long before the unnerving video finished, and the small mammal handed the phone back over to its shaky owner. The animal sounded bewildered, like this was a kind of dream that wasn't at all real. Unfortunately for both mammals it wasn't some kind of nightmare, and her friend had genuinely gone rampant and stormed off to who-knows-where. There was only one thing certain however; this small mammal was determined she was going to find out what exactly had happened to her feral friend. Such a bold revelation caused the panther to take a step back and bite her lip once again, more so in disbelief and shock than nervousness. This small mammal, go against all the enormous threats that would've come with such a foolish decision like that? She'd go missing, too! There was something about that determination though that was subtly inspiring to the panther, though. She wasn't one to be terribly confident in situations like this. Shoot, perhaps the animal's recklessness had rubbed off on Ashen in just that moment. What was the alternative to maybe helping this determined animal? Warn her family of the unravelling dangers and stay inside cowering? Didn't a similarly melanistic leopard also go feral in that Zootopia place when he was in his house? That also would've meant her family was exposed to the dangers of going feral and getting killed, didn't it? Such an idea sent awful, spine chilling tingles up her back as she bit down a little harder on her lower lip.

Another alternative was warning the police of the danger and not trying to solve things herself, but.. Zootopia was an example of the police force not being up to snuff. They send hundreds of officers to investigate, and it never supposedly did any good for the cases. But, when that rabbit officer went solo, teamed up with a sketchy fox, the both of them managed to solve the case all by themselves. Would it be very wise to do the same thing, with either of them likely having no experience in the streets at all whatsoever?

No. But that wouldn't stop the panther from lending a paw for the sake of perhaps protecting her family. Sure, the police officers may've learned quite a lot after Zootopia, but she'd been dragged into the moment. The panther swallowed a lump in her throat and gave a small nod.

"I'm coming with you." She stated somewhat firmly. It took her a moment to correct her nervous posture after taking in a deep breath, but she eventually regained herself and kept her paws by her side instead of nervously folding over one another.

"It's crazy, but.. if you're gonna do this, then I'll help out too." Maybe it was because this small mammal looked particularly vulnerable because of her size? Or maybe it was because of the slightly reassuring fact that if Ashen got hit with whatever caused an animal to go feral, she wouldn't have to see her family go feral herself.
 

chiropterra

krogan queen tabby#5445
Isabel had never been one to back down from a challenge - and with her best friend on the line, this certainly wasn't going to be the time she did. That said, she was still scared. Terrified, even. Although watching the clip on the panther's phone filled her with a new determination to find her friend, it still struck her with horror to see her friend acting like that. Though she didn't show her nervous energy as visibly as the feline standing beside her, she still had to force her fur to lie flat, her paws not to shake - it was like she'd been watching a nightmare play out on the other mammal's phone, like watching her best friend be possessed by a demon and whisked away... Of course she was scared! What if she never saw Jessa again? What if Jessa was hurt? What if she hurt someone else? What if she herself was made feral? Sure, she wasn't as formidable as a bear, but during the Zootopia outbreak, a predator as small as an otter was targeted... there was nothing stopping a grison from going feral. As she thought about this, thought about everything, she almost began to question what she was doing. But then she considered never seeing Jessa again, and her resolve strengthened once more.

She definitely wasn't expecting the nervous feline to offer to help her - and wouldn't have dared ask something like that of the stranger. Isa knew that this was going to be dangerous, and the reality was that a leopard was, literally and figuratively, a bigger target for something like this. But when she spoke up, she seemed to be positive about wanting to help, and, in that case, she certainly wouldn't refuse. Two heads were better than one, especially when neither of them really knew what they were doing.

"Only if you're sure," Isabel replied, looking up at the panther sympathetically. "It might be dangerous, and I can't blame you if you don't want to." Despite her words, she perked up a bit at the offer of help, and gave a small smile when the leopard's posture straightened a bit.

She seems like she's in. Before getting ahead of herself, though, she waited to make sure this was something the panther was ready for.

"My name's Isabel, by the way," she added. "I just realized we never really introduced ourselves."
 

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