The satisfying sound of the needle gliding across the fabric filled the small club room. Up and down, up and down. It was like listening to a monotone drummer. It was his first time working with a sewing machine, but Michael was getting a grasp of it. After some trial and effort, with him nearly accidentally breaking it, he managed to craft something resembling a shirt. Good thing too, since he could likely not afford a replacement.
Fortunately, Tanji was getting better, returning to her rude demeanor while devouring half of his morning bacon he purchased a day before. Oddly enough, he was glad to see how much life she had in her while taunting him as he took her body measurement.
“Alright, let’s take a break.” Lara said, probably checking if he had not once again jammed something. “I bought some donuts and coffee.”
“Thanks.” Michael settled himself down on one of the many foldable chairs stacked around the table. He grabbed the cup of lukewarm coffee and a plain donut, looking out of the window. As expected: more wind, more clouds. His gaze returned to the inside, looking at Lara. She appeared as passive as ever, looking down at her phone. There was something flashy and bright on it, with it taking some time for Michael to realize what he was watching at.
It was a video of a creature similar to Tanji. She had snow-white hair, her ears appearing puffier than those of his roommate. Her figure also was a lot more slender, matching her feline form. She wore a short black skirt with an outfit that reminded him of those the so-called “idols” would wear. The fact that she was in an extremely bright and flashy music video confirmed his suspicion.
On her fingers rested another woman - this one having more avian features with her hands forming into two beautiful red wings. He always imagined Tanji to be fragile, but the parrot looked even more delicate. Even the accompanying Neko - standing at 2 ft tall - looked a lot more powerful next to her 5-inch form.
“You like the Running Kingdom?” Lara removed a headphone from her ear, turning towards Mike. “Their old song had a bit too much ‘kawaii’ crap for my taste, but I feel like they really came into their own.”
“Running Kingdom? Are they a band or something?”
“Oh yeah, they are the best.” Her eyes lit up. “Running Kingdom was one of the first all-Kemonomimi bands on the scene. And after 3 years, they are still pushing strongly.”
“Sorry, this is all pretty new to me.” Mike rubbed his head in embarrassment. “I’ve heard a bit about those animal-girl-things, but not much.”
“Oh, that’s right. You are from Texas.” She googled something. “You don’t have any Kemonomimi down there, true?”
“I am from Oklahoma.” He corrected. “But anyways, what is this all about? I have heard a bit on the TV, but just seeing them walk around like this is a bit…surreal, I guess?”
“I’ve never seen one in real life. I would love to, though. Like, imagine squeezing their cute little cheeks.”
“Yeah, their cheeks can be tempting.” He smiled to himself. “Wait, if you like Kemonomimi so much, can’t you just buy one? Or adopt one?”
“Buy one?” She laughed. “That would cost me an arm and a leg along with a few internal organs. No way in hell I am going to afford one. And adopt? Are you crazy? People don’t just throw Kemonomimi away.”
“I guess they do.” Mike thought to himself on his way back home. It was time for him to perform some research.
Immediately, he took a little detour to the nearby internet cafe. He had only ever used the internet to save and publish school-related documents, not having a personal computer back home.
The inside of the cafe had a very homey feeling to it, with paintings decorating the walls. Nonetheless, in this day and age, the place was mostly abandoned, with there being 1 other person and the owner in the building with him. Mike ignored the businessman, sitting behind one of the computers after paying.
He scrolled. They were surprisingly many cafes, clubs, and restaurants that specifically advertised themselves as having animal-girl hostesses. Talking to their owners was the first good step towards finding Tanji’s master. These kinds of men must have financial networks, keeping in touch with each other and others in this “industry”. If he kept following their webs of contacts, surely one line would lead to a certain cat girl numbered 8-5-9.
But things are never easy. Most of them were extremely expensive or required him to be personally invited. “There is a cheap place not far from here.” He confirmed, having scrolled through several different establishments. Putting on his backpack, he left the internet cafe.
Standing in front of a large neon sign with the words “The Kingdom” written on it, alongside an outline of a girl with animal ears stripping, made Mike unsure about his decision. It seems like he has made it to the city’s red light district, with him having passed through many similar-looking clubs on the way. Some of them he even recognized from the search. Compared to them, “The Kingdom” looked a lot more worn out, with the club’s glass door having a large crack in it. He got that far, and there was no point turning back. He was just going to walk in, ask the owner about some contact, and leave.
He entered. The droning of music immediately overwhelmed his ears, with him being able to physically feel his eardrums vibrating. There was a woman with curly blonde hair wearing the club’s uniform behind the counter, placing a laminated piece of sheet in front of him. Her entire face was covered in an excess amount of makeup.
“Looking for a girl?” She asked with a thick French accent.
“I am looking for an owner.”
“Club owner? No, the owner will not speak with you.”
“Well, can you ask?”
“No, he will not.” Despite her calm speech, Michael could sense that the woman was getting impatient.
It was time for Plan B. Picking up the menu, he quickly slid his finger across to the very bottom. “Okay, I will take this girl.” The man squinted, taking a look at what he was actually ordering. “Cinnamon?”
“Is there a problem?” He asked, looking up at the woman.
“No, no problem sir!” The woman took the menu away from him. “Cinnamon will be ready for you. Please, consider ordering something from the bar.”
"No way in hell I am getting one of those overpriced cocktails." He thought.
Michael walked deeper into the club, the mixture of sound, laser, and smoke discombobulating him. On the stage, dancing to the music he could see a huge shadow moving in the darkness. When the light shined on her, he was able to make up her form. It was a woman. At first, he assumed it to be a work of some forced perspective, but getting closer he confirmed the reality - she was 9 ft tall. Her ears were those of a canine, matching the dark black color of her long, braided hair. She looked at the crowd with her amber eyes which glowed in the darkness, making temporary eye contact with Mike.
Her moves were sharp rather than fluid, with the muscular woman snapping between poses. Sweat dripped down her bronze skin as the wolf-girl continued her dance, opening her mouth as she did. With her large pink tongue and a set of sharp teeth visible, the dancer moaned softly while flexing her muscles in front of the crowd gathered on the floor beneath. The people raised their glasses and cheered her on.
His daze was broken as he felt a tap on his shoulder. One of the workers gestured for him to follow.
Finding himself in a private room, Michael could still feel the distant vibration and sound of the music. He tried to relax, placing his hands on his knee as he waited in the darkened room. Having a look around, the place was even smaller than his apartment. It had a single bed in the distance, flanked on either side by two nightstands. Condoms and a bottle of whiskey could be found atop them, alongside a few wet wipes and breath mints.
There came a quiet dinging sound as he could see a small hole in the wall opening. It looked like a mouse hole, with a metal sheet placed in front of it. As the sheet slid away, a 6-inch tall person stood behind it. Two white round mouse ears stood atop her head. Her long flowing milky hair matched the color of her ears. From what he saw of her eyes, they appeared to be bright blue. She wore provocative semi-transparent white underwear, matching her pale skin, with a cheap blue crop top with the word “Cute!” printed on it.
Her petite form bowed down to him, forcing herself to squeak something out. “M-my name is Cinnamon! I hope to serve you today.”
“It's you.” He stood up, walking over to the miniature woman. She recoiled as he picked her up, gently placing her atop the soft bed. As he carried her, Michael could feel her little heart racing. Despite some difficulty with standing up on its soft surface, she soon returned eye contact with him after he sat down.
Michael could see her body beginning to move, her small hips shaking from side to side as she danced. She squatted down in front of him, hiding her face as she gave him a peace symbol. Her crop top was soon thrown off, with the woman showing off her chest. “I am such a b-bad girl…” The man could tell that the woman was trying her best at dirty talk, but she lacked both will and experience.
“I-I am ready!” She closed her eyes, walking up to Mike's crotch. Cinnamon placed one of her small hands against his pants, rubbing it gently. “I am ready to be your little onahole.” As she spoke, Michael could see little drops forming in her eyes. She began taking off her bra, with the woman now beginning to sniffle uncomfortably. Her face shook and scrunched as the mouse girl continued holding in her tears.
“Hey, hey.” He reached down to her, placing his finger on her shoulder. She once again recoiled as if touching something hot. “I don’t want you to do…that. I just want to ask you some questions, alright?”
She looked up at him with her large eyes, whipping her face and sneezing into her discarded crop top. “Okay.”
“Let’s start from the beginning, Cinnamon.”
“Mia…” She whispered.
“What did you say?” Michael got closer, trying to listen to her minuscule voice.
“Mia. That’s my real name. I am Mia.” She spoke up with more confidence.
“Okay, Mia. I need to talk to you about…you.”
“About me?” She tilted her head. "Why do you want to know my story?"
“That’s not what I meant. I want to know how to get in contact with people handling creatures similar to you. You are my best bet.” Although this was true, she was also his cheapest bet.
“I am sure that there are other people you could contact. I am not really helpful…”
“Sorry, but I really need your aid. You are the only one who can help my friend.” Without even realizing it, he had just called Tanji a friend. He stopped for a moment to think about it. Were they friends? She was constantly rude and demeaning to him, and it's not like the two met under conditions that would allow a friendship to flourish. “Friend…let's go with that.” He thought.
“A friend? I will do my best, mister!” The small woman puffed up her chest, giving him a hopeful nod.
“Thank you so much. You’re a real lifesaver.” Mike squinted at the woman. “Wait, do you have one?” He pointed towards her crotch, with the mouse covering herself.
“M-mister!” It looked like she was going to cry again. “Was this all some sick roleplay? You being nice to me and all. Is this what gets you off? Being a cruel, cruel man?.”
“No, no.” He reassured, turning away. “I just need to know if you have a number above your clit, that's all.”
“A number?” She once again tilted her head. “No, I don’t have a number down there. Just a birthmark-” Her face lit up, with the woman hiding her eyes.
“No number? Strange. My Kemonomimi has one.”
“You own your own girl? Are you some kind of pimp? Is that why you are here? Checking out the new girls to add to your collection?”
“Could you stop interpreting everything I am saying for FIVE MINUTES!” He rubbed his temples. “No, she is just a property I need to return.”
“I knew it! I knew you were kind!” She clasped her hands together in joy.
“Hate me or love me, just make up your mind. The way you flip-flop between the two is freaking me out." He took a deep breath. "I just need to know if you know anything about those numbers, that’s all. Have you interacted with any marked girls?”
Mia rubbed the sides of her head, with it looking like she was putting all her mental effort into shoveling coal into that little engine in her skull called the brain. Finally, a memory came to her. “Ah, I remember! I remember!"
“Yes?! Yes?! Go on!”
“The manager was talking about them, how rare they are, and how he is likely never going to afford one.”
“Did he mention the name? Come on, keep going girl!”
“Koroka Solutions! The company’s name was Koroka Solutions!” At this point, she was shouting too.
“Thank you!” In excitement, Michael reached down for the small woman, lifting her up and planting a large kiss across her head. “You just saved my life.” He dropped her back onto the bed, allowing her to recover. Mia wasn’t sure how to react, with the mouse girl resorting to the reliable strategy of covering her face and gasping.
Peeking out, she saw him ready to leave, walking closer to his backpack. “Mister…can you take me with you?”
His face winced. “Sorry, but I can’t”
All the light disappeared from her face. “Why not?”
“I…I can’t buy you. I don’t have enough money. And if I tried sneaking you out, everyone would notice.”
“No, they wouldn’t!” She shouted, walking up to his leg. “Nobody cares about me here. Please, I promise that they wouldn’t even know that I am gone.”
Mike knelt down, patting the girl on her head. “I am sorry Mia, I will get in trouble, and so will you. I think it's better that way.” Saying that, he left, the uncomfortable sensation still on his face.
“I hope you enjoyed your time.” The receptionist bowed, accepting his payment.
On his way back home, the memory of the nightclub was still vivid in his head. He tried to relax, reaching into his bag to retrieve his phone and headphones. What he found inside was a tiny mouse girl tangled in the white wire, her hands and arms bonded together leaving her immobilized. It dug into her skin, squeezing her chest tightly.
“Surprise.” Mia said with an awkward smile.
“We are both going to be in so much trouble…” He could feel another headache coming on.