Time Cat: An American Feline in Edo

Tobias is just an average black cat. Well, almost black - he has a white sock on his left rear foot and a white patch under his nose. One day while exploring the yard of his Human, he comes across a curious glowing orb. He begins to investigate it and inadvertently activates it, creating a rip in the very fabric of reality. Much to his dismay, he is sucked into the rip and carried through time and space to an era much earlier than his own. Now he must track this orb across time and space in order to activate it and bring him back home. Don't forget my author page: tinyurl.com/anrisarynfb

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7. Hideki Captured

         Hideki shot awake. He was on some kind of cot in a familiar, but unfamiliar surroundings. He knew he was still in the village, but he wasn't sure where. 
         He sat up slowly, holding his head. It appeared to be bandaged with clother, and there was some kind of poltice to soak up the blood.
         The fighting had died down outside. There were no more shouts for help, only a few errant gun shots and twangs of bow strings.
          "Settle down, now," a comforting voice said. An old woman came into the room carrying a a basket of cloths that appeared to have just been washed. She placed one of the forehead of another man who seemed to be sleeping. His arm was bandaged up to his shoulder. "Don't stand up to quick, Watanabe-san." She tended to the man, not looking at Hideki.
          "Thank you," the man said quietly, looking at his arm.
          "Now, go to your family," she said, turning to him. She shooed him off with a single hand motion.
         He nodded his thanks again and jogged out the door.
         The streets were littered with pieces of buildings, shoes, and strips of cloth probably from clothing. Fortunatly, there were not many bodies, but that was only because they were being tended to inside. He caught glimpses of casualties in the paths between the houses, some of which could not be moved. He made a note to clean the shrine later and leave an offering for the ancestors. Hopefully they could protect those suffering now.
         He raced around the corner and halted so fast, he kicked up dust. His house was ahead of him, but the front door was destroyed. He gasped and took off at a sprint, calling out his wife's name.
          "Akiko! Aki-chan!"
         His son peered through the opening and a flood of relief swept through him. It seemed like the entire world was moving slow. Hitoshi yelled something, but Hideki couldn't quite make out what it was. The boy pointed to they alleyway to Hideki's left, and a bakufu-clad samurai jumped out of nowhere, branding a strange gun.
         Hideki shouted something, but the gun had already fired. The man felt a sharp pain in his side, but it wasn't like anything he had felt before. He looked down and saw a strange needle poking from side.
         The whole world began to sway. A blurry Hitoshi took a step outside the house, but was pushed back by Akiko. She pointed back to the house and the boy disappeared.
         What was going on?
         For the second time that day, Hideki fell into darkness.
         Hitoshi was yelling something, but Tobias couldn't understand it over Akiko's yelling. Chihiro was hiding her eyes and crying. People began chasing the strange samurai, but he was awfully fast, even while carrying a grown man on his shoulders. The retreating bakufu troops sprinted off in the midst of gunfire and a few arrows, but it was barely enough to do anything of meaning.
         The strange samurai that had destroyed the Watanabe house suddenly started shuttering. Chihiro screamed and Hitoshi withdrew his knife. Akiko shooed them out of the way into a closet and closed the door behind them. She was about the go and fight the demon on her own when Hitoshi grabbed her kimono and yanked her inside the closet at well. He put a finger to his lips to indicate silence and they all waited, hoping for the best.
         The mechanical samurai creaked and groaned, but didn't touch its katana. Tobias hissed at it. Hitoshi felt a chill run through his spine and his mouth went dry as he realized Tobias was not in the closet with them. He reached up to open the door, but Akiko slapped his hand. Her glare silenced any protests.
         The samurai picked up its katana and took off running, not even noticing the feline yowling at it. Tobias took off running after it in an effort to gain extra information, but it was gone when his paws touched the earth outside the house, almost as if it had dissolved into thin air.
         Tobias slowed to a stop, looking around. People began to slowly emerge from their houses, most carrying weapons of some kind. Villagers from the rooftops slowly made their way down to the streets. At first people were skeptical on whether or not it was actually safe, but soon enough, a mumur arose.
          "We won?"
          "We won!"
          "WE WON!"
         A cheer erupted from the people, which surprised Tobias. His fur stood on end and he raced back to the Watanabe house. Akiko peered outside to see what the commotion was and upon seeing the celebration, allowed her children to look as well. 
         Tobias raced by her into the calmness of the house and curled up in the middle of the floor. He was never fond of loud noises, especially ones that surprised him.
         Chihiro came over and stroked his back. The feline stood up and raised his rear like all cats do when they are happy to be petted.
          "What are we going to do, Tobi-kun?" she asked, looking into his green eyes.
"We have to go after them!" Hitoshi shouted in response, grasping the hilt of his wakizashi until his knuckled turned while.
          "There is no way we are going after those monsters!" Akiko commanded, closing what was left of the door to keep Hitoshi inside.
          "But they took Otou-san!" he protested.
          "The battlefield is no place for a boy," Akiko replied, not looking at him. Instead she busied herslef cleaning up the mess.
         Hitoshi scowled and flung the door open. Akiko turned at the sound of the door nearly falling off and opened her mouth to shout at him, but he was already gone. Tobias raced after him with Chihiro's eyes following.
         A collection of people had gathered at Mori-san's house, all shouting things and arguing. Takachika stood up and raises his arms for silence. The chattering died down and he began to speak.
          "What we have seen today is the last of the attacks on Choshu." A murmur of confusion arose, but he continued. "This is it. We are to attack as soon as we are ready!"
         As if in singnal, all the gathered people spoke in unison. "Has the time come to being the subjugation of the bakufu?"
         Takachika grinned. "Yes. Yes, it is time!"
         A cheer erupted afterward and Hitoshi felt himself joining in.
          "I will send word to Satsuma to request an alliance. We will have talks with them," Takachika explained. Voices of protest followed, but the Choshu daimyo silenced them. "It is better to have allies when facing a force like the bakufu than not." 
         Agreement flowed through the crowd, but no one even mentioned how strange the bakufu samurai were. Hitoshi's mind raced with images of gears and mechanics.
          "But what of the strange samurai?" someone shouted as if reading Hitoshi's mind.
          "Yes! I saw one that had strange metal circles inside them. They were hit with many arrows and did not die!"
         A murmur of concern arose. Mori-san quieted them down. "I have heard of these mechanical people. They are not common. I know this because my trips to Edo have revealed the bakufu are using more and more barbarian technology. Only the magistrates and very wealthy daimyos have these such samurai. If there is but a few of them, we will prevail." He glanced around the crowd. "If we have the help of Satsuma, we shall be victorious."
         Murmurs of agreement spread through the crowd. Some waved the weapons around in celebration.
          "Now I will send my fastest runner to get word from Satsuma. In the meantime, we must help each other to clean up!"
         A cheer rose again, but this time Hitoshi felt a tug on his arm. He turned to see the angry face of his mother. Her glare bore holes into his skull and she began to drag him back to the house.
          "I told you, war is no place for a boy!" she said sternly. "No matter if he's 16 or 60!"
          "I wouldn't be a boy if I was 60, Okaa-san," he chuckled.
         She replied by shooting him a scornful glance, but realsing her vice-grip on his wrist. "After you clean the house, you can feed the geese and milk the goat."
          "Yes, Okaa-san," he sighed.
         But no matter what she said, there was no way he was going to sit around while his father was dragged to Edo.

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