Theodore’s steps were unsteady as he navigated the dark streets, a cloud of intoxication hanging over him from the raucous party he had just left. The night was thick with shadows, and his own footsteps echoed in his ears as he approached his apartment building. A shiver ran down his spine as he noticed his front door slightly ajar, a cold sense of unease sweeping over him.

Fear knotted his stomach as he pushed the door open, adrenaline coursing through his veins. The apartment was dimly lit, the air thick with tension. Relief washed over him when he realized nothing was missing, but a chilling realization dawned – they weren’t there for his belongings.

Before he could react, a bag was yanked over his head, his surroundings plunged into darkness. Panic surged, but there was no time to struggle as he was hurled into what felt like a pool of ice water. The sensation of falling left him breathless, and the icy grasp of water gave way to the harsh impact of concrete.

Theodore lay flat on his back, disoriented, his heart pounding in his ears. The room echoed with strange sounds, like whispers trapped within damp chambers. Suddenly, two figures materialized before him, clad in black leather suits with helmets and mirrored visors that hid their faces. Panic and confusion swirled within him as they methodically stripped away his clothes and shoes, leaving him in just his jeans.

Bound to a chair, Theodore felt vulnerable and exposed. One of the intruders took to bullying and mocking him, the blows stinging his pride. Spittle landed on his skin, the taste of humiliation mingling with his fear. But the other intruder intervened, sternly reprimanding his companion. “He must remain unharmed,” the voice declared.

Tensions escalated, the bully threatening the other with fiery rage.

Then, with a shadowy apparition, the cellar door creaked open, revealing a towering figure draped in emerald green robes. The very air seemed to shift in his presence. A white mask obscured his face and an aura of power emanated from him.

With swift and brutal force, the green scaled warrior grabbed the man in black leathers, and smashed his face as he pleaded for mercy. Blow after blow, scaly green fist pulverized the man’s face, first cracking the mirror visor, then shattering it altogether. The next blow cracked the integrity of the helmet, and the following blow destroyed the remaining face guard.

The next strike left human flesh under green scales.

The next strike removed skin from bone.

The next strike caused that bone to crumble.

The next strike landed on something softer.

The next strike sounded squishier.

The next strike was liquid…

The green giant in robes released his victim and watched the empty body sprawl across the floor, then turned and exited the room as solemnly as he entered.

Amid the grim aftermath, Theodore couldn’t suppress the nausea that surged within him, his senses overwhelmed by the gruesome sight, he dry heaved but nothing came out. His focus then shifted to the human form who had remained kneeling. Only now did he realize that she was a woman, her soft laughter was eerie.

“You must be special,” she remarked, nudging her lifeless companion with the toe of her boot. Her words were laden with curiosity and there was a predatory gleam in her eyes. She spoke of her fallen comrade as if he were nothing more than a lab rat, devoid of genuine experience and emotion. The woman’s attempts at interaction bordered on friendly, yet they were overshadowed by the fear that had rooted Theodore to the spot.

As she played the role of the “good cop,” a sudden burst of light erupted in the corner of the room, a fiery ball of brilliance heralding the entrance of a creature unlike any other through the glare. With a feline grace and short calico fur, a cat seemed to walked on two legs, carrying a fearsome spear adorned with gemstones. Her elegance was captivating, movements smooth as silk, capturing Theodore’s attention in a web of fascination.

The ensuing battle was a whirlwind of motion, the woman in black’s strength paling in comparison to the calico cat lady’s astonishing speed. The room became an arena of ferocity, each movement a blur of lethal precision. Amid the chaos, Theodore barely registered the arrival of another figure through the star portal, so entranced was he by the clash of speed and precision before him.

Time seemed to bend as he observed the duel, his breath caught in his throat. He hardly noticed the blonde, blue-eyed woman who was busily untying him from the chair. His adrenaline surged, a mix of fear and excitement racing through his veins. With his restraints released, he watched the unfolding battle with a mixture of awe and apprehension.

His escape seemed imminent, but the cat stood as an unconquerable barrier. However, the blonde woman’s touch, her voice soothing yet authoritative, gave him a newfound sense of agency. With a final push, Theodore found himself tumbling toward the star portal, arms crossed protectively over his chest.

As he looked back for one last glimpse, the cat lady’s fight against the woman in black raged on, the blonde woman smiling and waving. And then, as if diving into an icy pool, Theodore fell into the starport, a sensation of vertigo overwhelming his senses. His stomach churned and wrenched in pain.

The world shifted, and Theodore landed with a jarring thud. Sunlight assaulted his senses, the warmth of the day a stark contrast to the cellar’s clammy darkness. Blinking against the brightness, he tried to make sense of the new environment.

A deranged homeless figure lurked nearby, witnessing Theodore’s fall from the hovering light. The homeless person’s words echoed like a twisted prophecy, tales of dragons and impending deception. Amid the confusion, Theodore’s mind reeled, the threads of reality and fantasy blurring together in a tapestry of uncertainty.