Leon “Catwalk” Caliber
Setting: Nitro City, 2027
Weapon of Choice: “Stinger” baton with interchangeable tips for different damage types, street-sweeper shotgun, various 9mm automatic and semi-automatic weapons
Catwalk is my first internationally published character, and probably the closest to my heart. His initial appearance was in comic form in 2001’s Independent Voices 3 by Peregrine Entertainment. The comic is available online, or autographed copies are available for purchase if you drop me a line.
Catwalk – Making an Entrance
The original Catwalk comic now available online!
Download it HERE (16 MB PDF file)
So, who the hell is Catwalk, right? Well, here are a few writing samples. I’m doing edits on the 1st two full length novels now with the amazing J.T.Bock, (author of Dark Earth), and Stacia Kelly (author of Phyxe: Goddess of Fire).
Inside the Mind of the Machine
Leon “Catwalk” Caliber is a job man, a freelancer whose wanderings have landed him in Nitro City. He’s 28, which alone is an accomplishment in his line of work. He is about average height (5’10”) with the physique of an experienced martial artist. His eyes are artificial, glowing yellow with emotional stimulus. He has long, black hair, which he usually keeps pulled back. His legs and spine are cybernetic implants, providing him with world-class foot speed and gymnastic agility. When on the job, he wears his trademark uniform consisting of a black leather jumpsuit with armored gloves and boots, and his helmet depicting an angry cat.
Catwalk: Messiah – Prologue
“Okay, Sweetie, open your eyes.”
Leon “Catwalk” Caliber takes a long drag off of his cigarette. The voice on the vidscreen triggers the same sick taste in his throat as the first time he pressed the play button. The series of events on-screen remains the same; the awkward smile of the girl in the frame, the sweet and self-absorbed tone with which the man just off-camera delivers his dialogue, the slight, excited shaking of the camera as she looks up at him. Once again he asks the young girl which hand holds the coin, even though only his left hand is extended. She’s nervous. Her shoulders are pulled up and her arms are tight to her body. She shifts to accommodate the tight fit of her school uniform. She blushes; the ghost of Shirley Temple, complete with pigtails and storybook innocence. She giggles and touches the back of the man’s gloved hand with a finger. She’s correct.
It’s the right hand that wields the bone saw.
Catwalk stops the recording. The glass next to him is empty, the bottle of bourbon almost the same. The dull glow of the paused recording is the only light in the loft, save a few blinking sensors from the bay that hosts his motorcycle and gear. He stares mutely at the image on the screen. At this point on the video, the girl is already dead, thankfully. This killer doesn’t keep his victims alive along. He saves the mutilation and sex acts until after they’re dead. He doesn’t get off on torture, just the rush of ending a life…even that of a girl maybe eight years old.
Cat takes a hold of his whiskey tumbler, mindlessly raising it to his lips. The lack of liquid distracts him from the screen. He’s curious at his reaction. This chit never bothered him before. Why now? Why her?
He stands and walks away from the video. He needs to stretch. His legs are completely cybernetic, as well as his spine. They don’t get stiff, or atrophy, but his brain is racing, caught in the same frantic loop displayed on the tape. He’s seen her die twenty-three times now, and his thoughts have simply increased pace, circling over the murder scene like a flock of starved carrion birds.
The hitman walks to one of the windows; half-watching, half-listening to the endless clamor of sirens, screams and fires in the distance. He’s chosen a particularly nasty part of Downtown for one reason…privacy. Running his hands through his jet black hair, he ties it into its customary ponytail. He never had the chance to remove his jacket once he got the transmission. Instead, he watched the recording the first time, completely submersed in it enough to tune out everything else.
He crushes the cigarette in the ashtray, the latest victim of the same familiar walk from other cases earlier in his career. He looks over his shoulder at the custom-crafted, armored helmet resting on the counter. The triangular yellow cat’s eyes stare back at him. Cursing under his breath, Cat walks toward the helmet and the armored motorcycle behind it with cold intent.
There’s work to be done.
Catwalk: Lineage – Chapter One
A number of people have asked me how Catwalk would translate into novel form. Well, here’s a very brief glimpse:
The music pumped loudly in the room, filling every crevice it could find between the undulating bodies. The place was an absolute festival of hedonism, just the way he liked it. Cat couldn’t help but grin to himself as lust slipped into his senses…the musky smell, the taste in the air; the kind of humidity only shared sweat could produce. This was his kind of atmosphere, but tonight’s visit wasn’t for pleasure…or was it?
The thought of blowing off this job and just reveling in the satisfaction of the moment crossed his mind, but the repercussions would be more than the enjoyment. Still, he might draw the job out for a few extra hours while he observed. The electronic sounds crackled overhead as the swarm of skin cascaded on the floor. He ordered a drink from the neon-clad bartender and adjusted his dark shades. The soft glow of his yellow eyes framed the black glass of the shades as he looked around.
In the corners, several couples took the painfully obvious actions, openly fucking in a maelstrom of anger and aggression. He chuckled, positive that half of them hadn’t even exchanged names. It was the more discreet ones on the dance floor, trying to behave as if their actions weren’t as obvious, they really entertained him.
Speaking of discretion, Cat’s gaze caught a mirror in time to see the fingers drift over his glass. The gloved hand of a would-be vampire altered his drink, pushing an unknown chemical, most likely Shine, into it. Again, he thought it a shame that he had to maintain such professionalism in the environment. A decent overdose might be just the thing on a night like this, reminiscent of another time in his life. Back then, the largest payback the next morning was a hangover. Now it was more likely going to result in the possibility of loss of life and limb. Damn, so much for the good old days.
The would-be poisoner drifted off into the crowd, making Cat wonder if he had a goal in mind, or the simple fascination of randomly touching lives. Hell, he might even be working for the club, just there to ratchet the party up a few notches. Internally, Cat bet himself how many of the inhabitants would wind up dead in the morning, but that wasn’t his concern. Instead, he picked up his drink and pushed around the bar towards the most executive section of the club.
Dumping his drink into a synthetic plant, he approached the large-framed woman who was obviously the security guard. With a smirk, he eyed the ebon-haired girl and her crossed arms. She might as well have been a statue, meant to dissuade any wrong-doers from attempting to enter the high-dollar area. Cat flipped a card between two fingers, presenting it to her scowling face. Silently, with zombified eyes, she took the card. Reading it slowly, she reluctantly moved aside as if that was a new experience.
Cat nodded slightly, stepping past her into the frame of the automatic doors. He was certain the camera and bio-scan were picking him over like a carrion bird, but it was all relatively procedural for this environment. Hell, the VIP room itself wasn’t even where the real money was, but for appearances, it was most likely where he would find the recipient of his message. This was going to be an interesting transaction, so he began sizing up potential enemies…and entertainment…from the first step inside.