A/N: Okay! So I finally got around to finishing Tails of Fame, the first entry in a series I've thought up in the past few months called the Tails Series. First of all, this has nothing to do with the Tales Series by Bandai Namco. At all. Second of all, this does not have the same tone or themes as the aforementioned franchise. And third of all, I absolutely did not spend a half-hour thinking up the name for this series, only to come up with something very cliché.
Anyways. This series takes place in an alternate universe where human beings and anthropomorphic animals coexist, which will be the central theme for every entry included in the series. That being said, the Tails Series is going to be an anthology, so every entry in the series can be read in any order, and each entry will focus on a different theme, different set of characters, different plot, etc. This entry in particular follows a rat in college who becomes bored with society and just longs to become famous. But after the rat goes through a humiliating and traumatic experience, he decides to do something that leads him down a dark path, and his life soon spirals out of control.
Story includes lots of violence and swearing, and deals with certain controversial subjects such as rape and interspecies romance, and includes a scene of torture, and very brief M/M sexual content.
All right, with all that out of the way, enjoy the story. :)
The black rat exhaled as he tapped his pen on the notebook, trying his best not to slouch back in his chair. He blinked a few times and set his pen down before snorting and looking at the lecturer standing in the center of the vast room. To his left was a young woman who was covering her mouth as she looked at some kind of bulletin on her cell phone. To his right, a lemur was sniffling as he noisily pressed his fingers against his laptop, typing in several letters and numbers as he worked on a project that had nothing to do with their current course. The rat exhaled some more before he turned and faced the lecturer again, still struggling to stay awake. At one point, a jet zoomed over the college campus, and the rodent was so bored that he looked outside the window just so he could see where the plane was heading off to. But then the plane disappeared from the rat's field of vision, and he groaned with frustration as he slouched back into his chair and leaned his head back, ready to pass out. Before he could, the young woman sitting next to him nudged him.
"Hey…you see the news?"
"No," the rat growled, his voice raspy.
"Check your phone…shit, can't believe this happened," she murmured.
The rat exhaled as he took out his phone and went online. He saw a breaking news story about how some anthro walked into a mall and started shooting up the building. The rat sniffed and looked at the amount of estimated casualties, and then he put his phone back down and rested his chin on his desk.
"Did you see it, Rast?"
"Geez…this world, eh?"
The rat rolled his tongue around his mouth, licking his rotting, yellow teeth and trying to remove some of the food from between his teeth. He gritted his teeth and picked at them with a nasty claw before spitting on the floor and sniffling again. Then he set his head back down on his notebook. However, as he pressed his chin on the book, the lecturer looked in his direction and glared at him.
"Mr. Racklyn…perhaps you'd care to enlighten us above these killers' psychology?"
"I'd rather not," he said noisily.
A few students chuckled or snickered after hearing the rat's comment. The lecturer scowled at him and rubbed his chin.
"C'mon now, Mr. Racklyn. I'm sure even you have some commentary about all this. You're actually awake today, so I gotta be doing something right!"
Rast listened to more snickering around him before he exhaled and rubbed his forehead. "Okay…tell me, why are we talking about Saunders Mittley? This guy murdered, what, forty people? Okay, cool; why is that important? Why does it matter that we have to know some dude killed some people?"
"Hmm…why don't you answer that question?"
Rast pondered for a moment and flicked his eyes down at his notebook. Then he looked back up at the lecturer and exhaled. "Because we, um, we must 'learn' about criminal behavior."
The lecturer nodded. "That's correct. Now if you and the other students—"
"But there's nothing to learn, sir," Rast interrupted. "This…this really isn't hard to figure out. This guy, Saunders Mittley—he used to be some regular farmer, yeah? Just a normal human being adjusting to the new life around him on Tero. No one knew about him. No one cared about him enough beyond his immediate bubble. Suddenly, he goes out and mows down a bunch of people with his harvester. Now he's one of the most well-known rural killers this side of the country. Just like that," Rast said, snapping his fingers, "everyone knows who he is."
The lecturer chuckled. "This is true, but not every killer kills just—"
"Okay, what about Mitchum Cooley? Just yesterday, he walked into a mall, shot up the place. Killed, what, eighty people before the cops gunned him down? It has only been twenty-four hours—twenty-four—and I already know this guy's name, I know that he was a crocodile, I know that he used to work at a tattoo parlor and he suffered from headaches possibly due to mixed medication…"
Rast chuckled and shook his head. "Did anyone in this fuckin' room know who Mitchum Cooley was before he went out and shot up this mall?"
Rast turned and looked at some of the students around him, waiting for a reply. No one answered.
"Nooooo, doesn't sound like it. Y'see, no one gave a fuck about this croc. At all. But now…now every news station is plastering his name on their top news stories! And all he had to do was kill a bunch of innocent people in the span of a half-hour."
Rast couldn't help but smirk as he glared at the lecturer. "Ain't that something?" he asked.
The lecturer didn't humor the rodent. He stayed quiet for a moment while a few concerned students glared at him, and then he immediately turned and asked another student a similar question.
Rast grumbled to himself as he drove around in his beige car, gazing outside every now and then and taking in his surroundings. Same colorful, diverse city full of humans and all sorts of bipedal animals. Not far from a four-way intersection, a mouse was leaning against a telephone pole and texting; across the street, two humans held hands as they entered an ice cream shop. Rast cleared his throat as he stopped his vehicle and entered a traffic jam. He let go of the steering wheel and pulled out his cell phone as he listened to several car horns honking over and over again. He looked in the rearview mirror and noticed a human driving inside of a van alongside what appeared to be her gorilla boyfriend. Rast grumbled as he set his phone down and drove a few inches forward, only to get caught in the traffic jam again.
"Goddamn it," Rast murmured.
The black rat exhaled as he rubbed his forehead and started to scroll through his messages, sniffling as he looked at some of the perverted pictures his two friends sent him while they were drunk. Rast smirked to himself before he deleted the photos. No need to save them, especially after tonight. Rast moved his car a few feet forward before stopping it again. Seconds later, boredom took over once again, and the rat rolled down his window and let the sounds and smells of the city fill his car. Cars could be heard honking at each other some meters away. Just beside the four-way intersection, a pizza shop was filled with customers, all ranging of different species. Rast squinted when he thought he saw one of his classmates inside chowing down on an anchovy and garlic pizza. As always, Rast looked around the city again, curious to see all the new details he would find amidst the skyscrapers. Two creatures were cleaning the windows just outside a skyscraper that was over forty floors high. One of the windows of an apartment building had shattered due to someone breaking in two nights ago. A taxi driver had parked against the side of the road before throwing out the passenger. When the driver sped away, Rast noticed that the passenger was a human being not wearing any pants, and drenched in vomit.
The light changed to green again, and Rast exhaled as he drove forward once more. He always found it hard to pay attention to the road; there was also something new with the city that Rast was curious about. So the rat drove slowly, moving his way into the less populated district of the city that was surrounded by trees and some houses and apartment complexes. The rat drove through the diverse neighborhoods, glancing at mice playing basketball while they were shirtless and the humans who were playing jump rope with their rabbit friends. Rast shouted and slammed on the brake when someone's ball rolled out into the street, and one of the rabbits ran out and grabbed it, almost getting hit in the process. Rast scowled as he looked at the long-eared creature, but then the rabbit slowly walked off the street and back onto the sidewalk, taking her merry time, while the rabbit's mother was busy talking on her phone.
"Oughta run your fuckin' ass over," Rast murmured.
Rast slammed on the gas pedal and resumed his journey. He entered the cultural district of the city and parked inside a parking garage on the second floor. Once he got out, he spotted a human in shorts and a T-shirt strolling down the garage wearing tennis shoes. Rast grumbled as he looked at the human's shoes clomping on the ground, and then looked down at his bare footpaws slapping on the concrete. He walked over to the human and whistled.
"Hey. Hey, human!"
The young man turned around and looked at the rat. "Hmm?"
Rast stopped walking and blinked as he looked at the man who was the same height as him. "Why you do that to yourself?"
Rast put his paws in his jeans' pockets and blinked again. Then he looked down at the man's shoes. "Them."
"What's 'them'? The hell you talking about?"
Rast lifted his right footpaw and wiggled his toes. "These. Footwear. Why do you humans always wear them?"
"Um…because they're comfortable?"
Clearly the human was unnerved. Rast blinked and shrugged. "They're not, y'know. They cause fungi, make your feet sweat, make your feet stink. They get old, they tear, and then you spend money buying a new pair."
"Dude. They're just shoes."
"But they're pointless and uncomfortable."
"Maybe to you, but not to us," the human said with emphasis. "Besides, shoes are like armor for our feet. Comes in handy if you step in glass."
"But you wouldn't step in glass if you paid attention to where you were walking."
The human huffed. "Sometimes we don't see shit on the ground. Sometimes we don't pay attention.
"I see. So you humans are stupid."
Rast couldn't explain the face the human made. He thought it was a cross between bewilderment and ire. The black rat blinked twice, and then he walked away from the man, telling himself that he would never wear shoes even if his parents tried to force him. As he walked out of the parking garage, the rat flared his nostrils and took in the typical scents he came across in the city. Some humans jogging and covered in sweat, the faint scent of urine on the ground, a dog who smelled like he just crawled out of a dumpster, an actual dumpster that smelled better than the dog he walked by, and lots of smog and smoke that were being emitted from the cars. The scents comforted him, even though a normal human would hate the odor and would complain about moving to a quieter country on Tero. Rast looked at the ground and walked around a pile of fecal matter someone refused to pick up before he turned and arrived at a crosswalk. The rodent waited until the "Walk" signal switched on, and then he jogged across the street and arrived beside a local Mexican restaurant. Rast sniffed twice and salivated, longing to try one of the food items that humans called "tacos," even though they allegedly were known for making humans use the bathroom a lot.
But then Rast flicked his eye at a sign outside the store, and then he frowned and snorted. Rast spat in front of the restaurant's entrance before he walked away swearing to himself. Fuckin' humans and their hypocrisy, he thought to himself. Rast walked for another few minutes in a grumpy mood until he spotted a donkey sitting on the ground in front of a disheveled building. Rast stopped and glared at the donkey, who was snoring and only wearing a raggedy jacket and pair of pants. Then the rat looked at the black pan resting in the donkey's lap and spotted some change and several dollar bills. Without hesitating, Rast crouched down and swiped a twenty-dollar bill from the pan before hurrying away before the donkey could wake up. He smirked to himself as he continued his journey, and arrived at his destination five minutes later. It was a large diner named Porky's that emitted a large amount of smoke from the chimney, and it was wedged right between two giant skyscrapers. Rast flicked his eyes at the sign in front of this building and grinned widely. It was always pleasant to be reminded that restaurants and bars were catered only to his kind as well.
Once Rast entered the diner, he could see that only a handful of people were inside, namely a few raccoons, a goat munching on a salad, and a group of other college students who were all different types of monitor lizards.
"Ah, hello, Rast! You want the usual this time?"
The black rat turned as he looked at the fresh-scented feline wearing a dark blue blouse and long skirt with a white apron tied around her waist. He smiled at the gray-striped cat, telling himself that that was what most people liked to see.
"Eh, nah. Think I'll have the steak this time, with that blood sausage on the side."
Rast looked down at the cat's blouse and rubbed his nose. "That's, uh, that's a nice…skirt you're wearing," he said.
The cat giggled and smiled back at the rodent. "Thank you, Rast!"
Yes, Rast thought. People like compliments. The black rat nodded before both creatures walked away; the feline headed into the diner's kitchen while Rast headed over to the same booth he always sat at whenever he visited the diner. Rast took out his phone again and scrolled through the Internet once more, sniffing and checking out all of the recent news stories. The story about the killer who shot up the mall was still the biggest bulletin, not that Rast was all that surprised. As he waited patiently for the cooks to prepare his meal, Rast gazed out the window on his left and spotted it once again. There was a building further down the city block that had a billboard on the roof depicting a well-dressed man with a cocky grin on his face as he gave a thumbs-up gesture. Rast blinked and stared at the sign and the name above the man's head. The whole billboard read:
"ANOTHONY HUNNERS, ATTORNEY AT LAW. CALL 596-BLUE, AND WE'LL TAKE CARE OF YOU!"
Rast never called the number, but he did look up Anthony Hunners on the Internet, multiple times. He saw multiple ads about the man on his TV. He saw multiple billboards of the man. He saw his flyers on telephone poles. He saw advertisements placed on city buses. He even saw ads for his company when he was busy looking at pornographic websites. Rast rolled his tongue around his teeth and scratched his claws against the table, taking a deep breath. He's just some lawyer, Rast told himself. Rast shut his eyes and coughed. When he opened them back up, Rast turned and looked out the window again, where he spotted a metro bus cruising down the road very slowly. He frowned again. This bus was showcasing a pretty fox dressed in a sparkly outfit that showed off her breasts. She was holding a microphone and standing alongside a group of male backup dancers who were all shirtless and dressed in tight pants. Rast looked away from the bus and inhaled sharply again, forcing himself to bottle up his anger. She's just a pop star, Rast told himself. Once the bus was gone, Rast turned and glared out the window. And then he scowled when he saw another advertisement on a taxi cab, this time displaying some businessfrog with a smug grin on his face.
"Fucking hell," Rast said, out loud.
He dragged his claws against the table so hard that he nearly left marks. Rast started gritting his teeth.
Rast immediately sprang to life and removed his paws from the table. Standing just outside the kitchen on the other side of the diner's main bar was a massive, corpulent pig clad in a sweaty, stained tank-top that used to be white at one point. He had a long snout and a few tusks were sticking out of his mouth. His ears were big and floppy, and his pink skin looked old and filthy. The giant pig chuckled as he pushed open a small set of double-doors separating the bar from the kitchen. Damn it, Rast thought. Guess I better go say hi. Rast got out of his booth and smiled as he walked over to the pig. Rast could see that the giant beast was wearing loose-fitting green shorts that looked stained. His belly was so big that it bulged past the waistband; part of his gut was showing, and Rast could see his dirty belly-button.
"Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeey, my dear pup! My dear friend. C'mere an' give ol' Seamus a hug!"
Smile, Rast told himself. Smile and suck it up. He'll only hold you for about ten seconds. When Seamus opened his arms and embraced Rast, the rat grunted when the corpulent beast nearly crushed his spine. He listened to Seamus laughing jovially in his ear, spraying spittle from his mouth. Keep hugging, Rast told himself. Keep smiling. Don't acknowledge his appalling body odor. Smile. People like smiles. After the two creatures stopped hugging, Seamus grunted as he reached down and pulled up his shorts. Rast sat back down in his booth, and Seamus decided to sit across from him. Rast looked at the grinning pig, gazing at his dark blue eyes and his drooling mouth.
"How ya doin', pup? College goin' all good?"
Rast shrugged. "Same as always. That's, uh, nice shirt you got on."
Seamus chuckled, his big belly jiggling. "Been wearin' this shit fer over three years! Surprised it still fits!"
Seamus is a pig, Rast. He doesn't care about compliments. Remember that, Rast told himself.
"Anyways, how ya doin', pup?"
Rast shrugged again. "Uh, y'know…same shit, different day."
"Uh-huh," Seamus said, nodding.
There was a long pause. Seamus kept staring at Rast, and the pig folded his arms and set them both down on the table. Rast wiggled his nose and looked at the kitchen. A waiter, a tiger wearing a clean, white shirt and black jeans, walked over to Rast's table carrying his food.
"Here you go, sir. Enjoy!"
Thank him, Rast. People like to be thanked.
"Thank you," Rast said with a nod.
The waiter walked back into the kitchen while Rast looked down at his food. He immediately drooled when he looked at the blood sausage and the rare steak that was releasing juices and blood all over the plate. Rast grabbed a large piece of the sausage that was still hot and chunky and bit into it, letting the juice dribble from his chin. Seamus reached over and swiped one of Rast's sausages from him before he shoveled the entire chunk of meat into his mouth. Rast scowled at the pig for a moment, and then went back to munching on his meal. It wasn't until Rast finished the sausage and Seamus swallowed his meat with a thick gulp that the pig glared at Rast and exhaled.
"So. How ya doin', pup?"
Rast looked at the giant pig in front of him and noticed he was smirking, not smiling. The way he squinted and the movement of his lips and how he showed his bad teeth implied something sinister. The rat chose not to answer, knowing it was pointless to repeat himself for a third time. So he reached down, picked up his rare steak with his bare paws, and bit into it. Rast mumbled as he chewed on the beef, letting some of the juice flow down his chin, before he bit into the steak again and looked outside. He could see out the corner of his eye and noticed that Seamus was still glaring at him, making him feel uncomfortable. Rast shut his eyes and swallowed hard before he put the steak down and licked his fingers clean. Even then, Seamus still hadn't changed his expression, and Rast wasn't sure he even blinked. The rat snorted and scowled.
"Frustrated. Had an outburst in class today."
"Hehe, said the magic word!"
Rast knew it was coming, but the stench still caught him off-guard. He watched as the pig leaned over in the booth, and then listened to a muffled sputtering noise that seemed to go on for five seconds. Then Seamus exhaled and grinned, while Rast simply rubbed his nose.
"You could at least try to hold those in. I don't think anyone wants to suffocate on flatulence."
"Too fuckin' bad! Tch, you better be lucky I ain't got diarrhea. Shat m'self silly last week!"
Rast ignored the gross beast and continued. "I had to report to the office so I could have a…" Rast paused and looked out the window. He sucked on his teeth and stared at Seamus again. "A discussion."
"Oh. One of those talks, eh?"
Rast bit one of the blood sausages in half and chewed as he spoke. "We were discussing the minds of pathological serial killers, narcissists, sadists. Those kinds of things. I said things 'inappropriate' in class. Things people don't wanna hear. Things people don't like hearing."
Rast swallowed the sausage, then lowered his head and licked some of the blood off his plate. He picked up the steak again and let some of the juice run down his grimy paw.
"I must try harder, Seamus. I cannot keep having these outbursts."
Another series of sputters filled Rast's ears. The rat scowled at the pig while Seamus just giggled and sniffed the air.
"Ah. It happened again I see. Hmph. Fuck 'em."
Rast bit into his steak and continued. "I just have to smile and nod, Seamus. That's all," Rast said, before he looked at the billboard showing off Anthony Hunners' face. "That's all I gotta do…then maybe…"
The rat set his steak down before he grumbled. "Mitchum Cooley. Have you heard of that crocodile?"
Seamus exhaled and rolled his eyes. "Ugh, another mass shooting. I don't fuckin' care."
Rast frowned. "Don't say that. That's a horrible thing to say."
"Don't even. You don't give a shit either."
"Of course I do," Rast lied. "It's a horrible tragedy."
"Uh-huh. And yet, when you look at that billboard outside, I can see you seething. Yet reading about a tragedy in the news doesn't result in any reaction from you."
Rast blinked, and then he reached down and bit into his steak. He chewed on it for a moment and swallowed with a thick gulp before he exhaled and looked at Seamus.
"The steak is delicious," he said abruptly.
"Don't change the fuckin' subject."
Rast blinked again. "I'm not. I'm merely giving you a compliment."
Shit, Rast thought. This is Seamus. He doesn't care about that shit.
"I don't care about that shit."
"You think I don't see people like you every damn day? Hell, some of them are in this diner as we speak. But they're too afraid to do something about it. But you…hehehe."
Seamus reached over and grabbed Rast's left paw. "You're dying to let it out. You've been constipated for twenty-eight years, and you just took a shitload of laxatives! You really gonna sit there and tell me you ain't gotta shit, pup? All these 'farts' you lettin' out in class gotta mean something! Sooner or later, all that shit's gonna come out yer ass, pup, and you gonna make a big ol' mess! Hehehe, yeeeeeaaaaah…betcha everyone in this city's gonna smell that stink!"
"I'd appreciate it if you didn't speak in metaphors that revolve around bowel movements," Rast said with disgust.
"Nah. You deal with it, pup. Sooooooooo many bitches whine about shit. They talk 'bout how it stinks, how it's full of bacteria, how gross it feels and looks. Me?" Seamus exhaled as he leaned back in the booth and rested the palms of his hands against the back of his head. He smirked as he showed off his messy, hairy armpits. "Aaaahhh, I just can't get enough of it!"
Rast exhaled for a moment and tried to ignore the pig. He finished eating the rest of his blood sausage and swallowed hard, shortly before he got a text message. Rast pulled out his phone and checked the message he got, and then smiled toothily when he received a photo of a young man's penis and testicles. Rast licked his lips hungrily before he subconsciously reached down and groped himself. He flicked his eyes to his right to make sure no one was watching. And then he stuffed his left paw down his pants and growled.
"Oof…I can smell that from here, pup. You popped one real quick! …Whatchu lookin' at?"
Rast somehow forgot Seamus was sitting directly across from him. He yelped and removed his paw, and then he deleted the picture he got.
Seamus put his arms down and sniffed the air. Then he leaned forward and lowered his voice. "You smell like you ain't rubbed one out in over a month. Them balls must be aching, pup."
"Please be quiet," Rast growled.
"Ooooooh, are you sexting, pup? Did your mysterious faggy boyfriend send you a naughty picture? I wanna see it!"
"I deleted it."
"Awww. Guess now no one will know you're a faggot."
Rast squinted. "Don't use that word."
"Why not, faggot?"
"But that's what you are, faggot."
Now Rast was scowling. "It's rude."
"But it's what you are, faggot. Or did you forget that faggots like sucking faggy cock and taking faggot dicks up their dirty faggot asses?"
Rast snarled audibly and made a fist with his right paw. "Shut up you fuckin' hypocrite."
"Hey, I know I'm a fag! Got no problem admitting that! Just fucked a bear last night. You'd be amazed how much they moan when they got a thick—"
"I get it, Seamus, I get it. Are you done yet?"
Seamus shrugged. "S'all depends on you, pup."
"What do you want from me?" Rast asked, now breathing heavily. "You want me to spill my guts, huh? You-you want me to explain my life story and-and all my frustrations to you, like you're some goddamn therapist? Let me tell you something you fat fuck: I'm fine! I'm-I'm perfectly normal! I got a good job, I got my own car, I got a place to live! I'm fine! The fuck do you do? You go 'round fucking anyone and everyone who has a cock! You have horrible hygiene, you constantly push people's buttons, and you shamelessly break wind in public! You're a goddamn cesspool, Seamus. Nothing else!"
Rast backed away from Seamus and exhaled as he rubbed some sweat off his head. He could feel his heart beating rapidly and realized that everything he just said was out loud. Rast took a long deep breath while Seamus giggled and reached forward, patting Rast's paw gently.
"Y'see? Don't ya feel better? That right there, that was a half-minute burst! Reeeeeaaaaaaal nasty, Rast! Now…all you gotta do is keep that ass open! All the shit will fall out soon enough."
Rast jerked his paw away. "I'm fine. And I'm not 'taking a shit,'" he said, creating quotation marks with his fingers.
"You will be, Rast. S'a normal bodily function. You can't hold it in, no matter what you say. All someone's gotta do now is just tap yer tummy, and it'll all flow! Just one little flick, Rast…"
Rast cleared his throat. "I've no idea what you're implying," he lied.
"Yeah, you do. And once it's out…you'll feel better! You'll be a changed rat!"
Rast quickly reached down and grabbed the rest of his steak. He shoved the slab of meat into his maw and messily chewed with his mouth open before he swallowed and stood up.
"Thanks for the meal," he said, digging in his pocket and tossing a twenty-dollar bill on the table.
"Come back after your bowels are cleared! I enjoy having these chats of ours."
Rast glared at the nasty pig's grin for a moment before he blinked and turned around. Then Rast walked out of the diner and headed over to the parking garage, trying to get the conversation out of his head. Rast grumbled and shook his head. You should've cut out his tongue with a steak knife, he told himself.
Fucker deserves it.