The Asylum of the Damned Presents…

The dimly lit warehouse was filled with smog of heavy cigar smoke. Only a few overhead lights hanging from the rafters of the ceiling provided an eerie glow that lit the small interior. The two badgers that flanked either sides of the only shutter door held their assault rifles close to their chests, trigger fingers itching to clamp down at the slightest provocation. The cold concrete floor, dusty and barren as it was, meshed in perfectly with the sole wooden table propped up on crates and broken planks in the middle. The chubby bulldog adjusted the folds on his collar, and took a long puff from his cigar, eyeing down the weasel on the other side of the circular table. The thin weasel returned his glare. "Well," said the bulldog, "we've reached an impasse, haven't we?"

The weasel muttered under his breath and lit another cigarette, flicking his old butt onto the concrete. "I'm not giving up the south harbor. Two piers, maybe, but that's as far as I'll offer."

A low groan came from the bulldog. "You know how hard it is to smuggle all the cocaine from the tropics up into the bay," he growled, "The last thing my boys need is a fucking coast guard blowing our cover."

"Then you should have gotten the south before my guys did."

Suddenly, a loud nasal voice rang through the air. "Hey boss! Some squirrel wants t' get in!"

"Does he know the password?" the weasel asked, turning his head to the large garage door of the warehouse.

"Yeah," said the owner of the voice, a slim rat.

"Then let him in."

There were a few loud thumps echoing through the air, and then came a short and fairly –well built green-furred squirrel. His large patch of ivory chest fur was wildly messy and unkept, just like the wild lock of green hair that slumped over the side of his face. "Sorry I'm late," said the squirrel, sitting down beside the bulldog.

The bulldog looked at him inquisitively. "And you are?"

"Jake," replied the squirrel quickly. "Manny couldn't make it. He got, um, held up."

"The cops got him? By the piers, didn't they?" said the bulldog. The squirrel nodded. "You see? Manny was my right-hand man. We're wide fuckin' open on the north side."

Before the weasel could contest, the squirrel asked, "But what about the Furhattan inlet? You guys could use that, right?"

The weasel snorted. "Louie, this kid of yours got shit for brains?"

The bulldog glanced at the squirrel. The squirrel quickly averted his eyes to the floor. "Hey, Manny just told me to sit in for him here to give our boys the news on the piers."

"Well listen kid," said the weasel, "I don't know how you young punks think things run, but the further away from cops our boats get, the better. Cappice?"

Suddenly, a stocky raccoon scrambled to the other side of the parrot. "Boss!" he panted, "Cops! And lots of them!"

The table was instantly set into an uproar. The squirrel slowly rose to his feet and stepped a few feet back from the table. The two badgers took the safety off of their semi-automatics. "How bad?" asked the weasel in quick alarm.

"God, they're crawlin' all over," the raccoon breathed, "Armored cars n' everything!"

Instantly, the weasel and the bulldog shot their gazes at the squirrel. "Say, what did you say your name was again?" the weasel asked the squirrel, shooting a mean glare at him.

"J-Jake," the squirrel hastily replied.

"No, I'll tell you what your name is," the weasel growled, walking with quick strides towards the squirrel, "Your name is cop!"

With that, the weasel plunged his hand into the squirrel's patch of chest fur and yanked his fist out again. When he opened his hand, he held a tiny round microphone. Instantly, the squirrel found his arms bound to his sides by the two large thuggish badgers. The squirrel tried to struggle free of the two brute's grips, but found himself to be slowly subdued and overpowered, driven onto his knees with hardly any effort.

"A cop," the weasel muttered. "The deal's off, Louie."

"But-!" the bulldog protested.

There was a sudden string of loud crashes from outside the building, and the warehouse was filled with sunlight when the large truck doors of the warehouse came crashing down. From the outside poured a sea of police officers, running inside the warehouse and weaving behind the stacks of boxes and crates. The criminals drew all sorts of firearms from their pockets or backpacks, and crouched behind another row of crates, and the warehouse was ablaze with gunfire in seconds.

Sensing his captor's distractedness, the squirrel violently wrenched himself free of the badgers and quickly drew a small revolver from his jeans pocket. Before the badgers could draw their own, the squirrel put a bullet through each of their skulls. The squirrel rolled to his left on the floor behind a crate, and searched for the bulldog. Spotting him behind the upturned table, he took a deep breath, and boldly darted out from his cover and dove at the bulldog. He grasped him by the throat and stomped on the bulldog's wrist, knocking the handgun out of his paw. The weasel returned fire at the police force, and got three bullets planted into his chest in a spray of blood.

The squirrel, still holding the struggling bulldog to the ground, pulled out a small hand-sized radio from his other pocket. "I've got him," he barked into it, "Let's end this!" The squirrel rolled the bulldog over on his belly and held him to the ground with his own weight. He squeezed his eyes shut as he waited for the sounds of blazing guns and bodies falling to end.

It did not end until twilight painted the skies an hour later.

The chubby pig angrily slammed his fists down on his desk. "Number seventeen, Micky!" he roared, breathing heavily, tightly clenching his cigarette between his teeth.

The green-furred squirrel shrugged. "Eh, could have been worse."

The pig's face turned red and his eyes bulged out. "Worse? Worse!" he raved with his left eye beginning to twitch slightly, "You blew your cover too early! God help us if they managed to contact the rest of their gangs!"

"Aw, come on," the squirrel laughed, "I didn't mess up too badly this time. Remember the sting last month? Now that was seriously fu-"

"You'll be the one who's fucked up if you fuck up one more time, Micky!" The pig snorted out, patting his shirt down.

"So, when do I pick up my cheque?" Micky asked bluntly.

The pig suddenly sunk into a visible depression. "Micky," he moaned, "tell me why I put up with you again…?"

Micky sighed. "Because I'm the only sonofabitch brave enough to do this stuff."

The pig groaned and rested his forehead in his palms. "Kitty has the cheque. Just get out of my office." As soon as Micky left the office, Hortz dug into his desk and took out a vial of pills. Popping it open, he took it to his mouth and swallowed half of it.

Micky casually strolled out of Commissioner Hortz's office and walked by the desk on the adjacent wall. Walking to the front of the desk, Micky tapped on the desk with his knuckles, drawing the attention of a female albino cat. "Kitty, you got my cheque?" Micky asked.

The cat sighed, brushed a long lock of silver hair out of her face and reached into one on her drawers. When she came up again, she handed an envelope to Micky. "I wish you wouldn't do that to Hortz," the cat sighed gently.

"Aw, don't you start, Kitty," Micky muttered, rolling his eyes.

"You upset him one more time," Kitty continued, "and I wouldn't be surprised if he just collapsed on his desk from a heart attack. You know the man's got a bad heart, diabetes, blood sugar- sixty-seven years old, been working every day of his life-"

Micky tuned out Kitty's soft voice to look at the cover of his envelope. "Well, see ya' later, Kitty," Micky said abruptly, cutting Kitty off in mid-sentence. He then turned on his heel and left the room with Kitty in a visible state of shock. "Tell Hortz to lighten up, huh?"

Kitty sighed and laid her cheek on her palm, with her elbow propped up on the desk. "What a jerk…"

Micky was in the locker room, packing up his belongings. When he left, he blindly bumped into a large wolf. "I heard about the sting, Micky," the wolf said in a deep voice, looking down upon Micky.

"Didn't go as well as I'd hoped," Micky sighed.

The wolf flattened his tan shirt and ruffled his blue fur. "We can't afford another one like that."

"Jesus, not you too," Micky groaned.

The wolf towered over Micky; he was nearly twice Micky's size. "I know you're too valuable to fire, Micky," said the wolf, "But try to shape up."

"Yeah, sure," Micky sighed, brushing his shoulder on the wolf's stomach as he walked by him. "Oh, and Ironwolf," Micky called to him from down the hallway without turning his head; "I don't tell you how to do your job, do I?"

The wolf growled quietly to himself. "If the job doesn't kill him first, I'd like to…"

Micky left the steps leading up to the entrance of the police station and walked into the parking lot. "Seven hundred thousand," Micky murmured to himself as he walked through the parking lot, "That's how much my life is worth this time around…" Micky sighed as he approached a sleek motorcycle parked between two cars. Stuffing the cheque into his jeans pocket, Micky hopped onto his motorcycle and reached for the shiny black helmet on the seat behind him. After propping it onto his head and tucking the long lock of hair that hung in front of his face underneath it, Micky turned the ignition and blasted out of the parking lot and down the street. It was half an hour to Micky's apartment from the police station, which left ample time for Micky to quietly reflect on the day's events as he gazed upon the passing scenery.

Micky quietly smiled to himself as he rode down the street. The rush of wind brought memories back with them as he flew down the pavement. He had to admit, the city had dramatically cleaned up the levels of crime since his employment in the secret police. He wondered why no one else wanted his line of work, and then he reminded himself that no one else but him could find the courage to boldly walk into a den of those types of criminals and hope to come back out alive. Even petty thieves were horrifically brutal and ruthless. Blood was smeared on alley walls on top of the blood that had been there a week ago, and Micky often wondered when the river dams would clog from all the bodies being dumped. As Micky zoomed past a decrepit school, he could not help but remember his own school days.

His mother died before he reached his tenth birthday, leaving his teenage sister to take care of him. Unable to cope with the stress of being a student, part-time waitress, and homemaker, his sister packed up Micky's bags and sent him off to a military boarding school. Although he excelled at training exercises, he failed miserably at everything else. His physical marks in wartime training were the best in the class; his downfall was in his casual air of indifference that often landed him in either solitary confinement or a thorough beating. It was only after the third or fourth beat-down that Micky began studying kickboxing to save him from permanent injury. At the end of his thirteen-year odyssey, he made it his personal mission to clean up his hometown city as soon as he stepped outside of the stronghold's gates.

Micky finally arrived at the underground parkade underneath his small worn-down apartment in the suburbs of New York City. He grinned to himself, reveling in the fact that he was the only person willing and brave enough to take on the most dangerous undercover missions of the secret police, some of which many other members considered pure suicide. And when told so, he would bitterly laugh and reply, "It's a deadly job, but someone's gotta' do it." Micky parked his motorcycle, and locked a chain from a nearby post around the handlebars. Tucking his helmet under his arm, Micky walked to the doors of the apartment building and yawned. He was dead tired. The first thing Micky did upon setting foot in the lobby was check his mailbox. After unlocking it and opening it up, he found it to be bare. Closing and locking it up again, he headed to and ascended the staircase at the end of the hallway. Two flights of stairs and three doors down, Micky came to his room and dug into his pocket for his keys.

His room was a simple bedroom with a double bed, nightstand, radio, television, phone, clock, mirror, and a small one-person table with two chairs. Right next to the door was another door leading to his small bathroom. It wasn't much of a living, but at least it was a living, he indoctrinated himself. For Micky, it was the same routine every assignment: Fight for his life, get scolded by Hortz, snatch his cheque and slip out the door. Come home, check the mail, drag his carcass up to his room, and flop face-first on the bed.

There was a large lump underneath the covers of the bed, and it awoke with a quick shriek. Micky jolted fully awake again and jumped backwards to the foot of the bed in surprise. The lump made a head visible, and it sported the face of a young female raccoon, looking to be somewhere in her early twenties. "Who are you?" She shrieked in alarm, staring in horrified fascination at Micky.

"Who am I? Who are you?" Micky quickly shot back, "What are you doing in my apartment?"

"Your apartment!" the raccoon gasped, "this is my apartment!"

"This is room 146, right?" Micky asked.

"Yeah," replied the raccoon.

"Well, you've got the wrong one," Micky snorted, calming down and standing at the foot of the bed.

"No, no one lives in this room anymore," the raccoon said. "This was the only vacant room left!"

"There were no vacant rooms left anyway!" Micky replied. "What are you doing here?"

The raccoon got out of the bed and straightened her green tank top. "I was taking a nap," she said, "In my room!"

Her thin frame loomed over Micky by just a few inches. "I think you'll find that this is my room," Micky insisted, looking up into her eyes.

"No, the person who lived her moved out a few weeks ago," said the raccoon. "He never replied to the notice."

Micky paused. "What notice?"

"You know," said the raccoon, taken a bit by surprise, "the one the owners mailed out to everyone a month ago to renew their annual rent?"

"No," said Micky, "I never got any-" Just then, Micky groaned and drug a hand down his face. "Ah, shit!"

"What?" the raccoon asked.

Micky sighed. "My box has a faulty lock. If ya' hit it on the top left it springs right open. Those damn kids must've seen me do it a few times…"

Rachael was skeptical. "Isn't that kinda' insignificant? Wouldn't anyone who runs this place have seen y-"

Micky snorted. "Them? Hah. The clowns running this joint are only here for maybe two-three days a year. They just leave some morons in charge that are hardly ever here either. There's a shrew a few doors down that's technically been gone for a year now."

"Wait, if I've got a set of keys," the raccoon said, "then why do you?"

Micky shrugged. "Everyone who moves out just steals 'em."

"Really?"

"Yeah."

"You know, I was wondering why there was all this stuff in here if no one was living here…" the raccoon trailed off, crossing her arms and looking around.

It was at the exact moment that Micky saw her profile when he asked, "Hey, aren't you-?"

"Rachel Rac'une, daughter of the late infamous mobster Raphael Rac'une, yes, that's me," she groaned.

"Why are you here?" Micky asked, taken by surprise. "Shouldn't you be somewhere uptown? I mean, that's where-"

Rachel collapsed onto the bed, palming her face and moaning.

"Hey, woah- was it something I said?"

Rachel sniffled. "I've got nowhere else to go," she muttered. "Sure, my dad was a crime lord, but I don't want that kind of life!"

"So you've moved down here, huh?" Micky asked, sitting on the opposite corner of the bed. "Found a job yet?"

"Waitress at the Veggie Barn," she moped, "the only place that would even think of hiring me."

Micky looked at her incredulously. "The only place that would-?"

"Would you feel comfortable working with Raphael Junior?"

Micky paused. "Huh."

Rachael stood and stretched. "I'm barely surviving as it is," she said. "But I guess if you're still living here," she trailed off sadly, reaching low for a suitcase at the foot of the bed and heading towards the door.

Micky sighed. "Stay here if you want," he offered, with something inside him biting at his heartstrings.

Rachel stopped dead in the doorway. "You mean," she began cautiously, "You're-"

Micky sighed. "I know what it's like to have nothing to live on."

Rachel turned around and walked back to the bed and set her suitcase down beside it. "Well, thanks," she said, "But where am I going to sleep?" she asked, looking at the bed, "There's only one bed."

Micky's brain instantly began to think. "I'm sure we can work somethin' out…"