Selvester shuffled his paws and looked up. "Well, I'm trying to save them."
"Save them? Why? How?" Joy asked.
"I am against the 'chimera', as you call it. You see, most of the animals are blinded by black glory. Plus, they really have no wit at all. They're all so destructive. The animals who do have wit, however, are afraid and they hope that if they do whatever the chimera says to, they won't get hurt. I used to be in that state of mind, but now I am not. Of course, don't get me wrong . . . I still fear them. Yet now, I'm determined to be brave."
Joy felt his hope and courage flood from his heart into hers. The way he said it was too touching; she couldn't imagine that Jeremy could hold such a grudge! How could he be so upset?
"Either way," Selvester continued, "I will do what I can to help the humanoids; they are essential for us. True, some of the humans hunt us, but it's for the best. They are the very top of the food chain, and without them, this planet would be overrun with carnivorous animals, just like in the old times! The chimera only allows animals that can actually do real harm alive. At least the humans and most 'jas hunt for our skins for their warmth in the Blackfrost days. I just wish for this planet to be in true balance."
Joy nodded. "You're right. Jeremy and I will do all we can to help you!" Joy glanced at Jeremy and nudged him.
"Uh . . . yeah, sure." Jeremy agreed. Joy gave him a hard look, and nodded to Selvester.
"Now what?" she asked.
"Now, I need to gather troops. I think what you two can do is go to the humans and 'jas and warn them!"
"Okay!" Joy said, and grasped Jeremy's hand. She tugged at him until he followed, and then they were off.
"Good luck; you'll need it," Selvester murmured, turning around and padding away to towards the opposite direction.
Joy and Jeremy arrived at the river. Joy had been expecting a minor crossing about five feet wide, five feet deep, like the canal in her back yard. But she was very wrong.
What lay before them was a major river; meaning, at least fifty feet wide and by the looks of it, eighty feet deep.
"How are we going to cross that?!" Joy gasped.
"I don't know," Jeremy murmured.
"Maybe there's a boat somewhere or . . . stepping stones or a bridge!"
Jeremy nodded. "I'll go upriver, you go downriver. Don't go too far, though. I don't know what I would do if I lost you . . ."
Jeremy and Joy's gazes locked. A tear glistened in Joy's eye, but she brushed it away. Jeremy then turned and looked down. Then he began the trudge.
Joy whipped around, and rather than walking, she was running. By this time, you would think she was tired of running and walking and standing. And she was. But something drove her to; she began to feel a familiar link . . .
Joy knew it. A burning sensation flooded her body when she reached an old, gnarled oak. Her eyes widened, and images deluged her brain. Fire burned, there were roars and there was laughter. Screams echoed through what seemed a small town. A dark shape prowled about, a torch clenched between its teeth.
'Fire!' a woman gasped, 'We have to get out of here!'. Joy's mind was now inside of a home, and she felt really hot. It was as if she were about to faint . . .
'Ebony! No!' the woman screamed. She ran towards Joy, and grasped her arm. 'Ebony! Are you all right?'
'I think so . . .' Joy mumbled mindlessly. Wait, did she just say that?! Her voice felt different. What was going on?
'Well, let's go. Gather all you can of your belongings and follow me!'
'Yes, ma'am!' Joy nodded, and rushed towards a room. It was strange; she felt as if she knew where everything was and knew what to do and knew that woman. But she didn't! She had never even been there before.
Joy felt like shrugging, but she didn't. Was she in someone else's body..?
Joy had, by now, gathered up all of the belongings that she needed without even putting her mind to it. She ran out of the room and followed the woman outside. She was no longer in the safe haven of the house; or the used-to-be save haven. Joy looked back to see that the fire had reached the house, and it was raging with fire.
When Joy looked forward, she felt fear overcast her body. It was chaos! People were burning, animals were slashing and biting. The heat was unbearable, the smoke made her throat burn, and . . . it was all just too much at once to describe.
'Come, Ebony. Follow me!' the woman held out her hand, and Joy took hold of it immediately. She followed the woman through the weaving crowd. Once, a bobcat charged her, though Joy quickly dodged. They were about to make it out of the exit of the town when a huge dog bit the woman and dragged her away.
'Ebony!!!' the woman screamed.
'Mother!' Joy yelled after the woman, but before she knew it, the woman was gone. Joy broke down, crying. An overwhelming sense of grief came over her . . .
Joy gasped, sweating and breathing hard. She blinked thrice to make sure she was back in the real world, and then she rubbed her eyes. What happened? It must have been a prediction. Joy, in all of her life, had never had a prediction as violent as that one was.
But now what? Joy knew exactly what they had to do. They had to prevent that future!