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Heatwave scowled at the TV. “Why are we watching this? That guy's as cranky as Kade!"

Blades and Chase looked at each other, but Boulder frowned. “Aww, I thought you two were getting along better?”

“We were until that dog bit him. Then he started acting like a jerk again.”

Chase grabbed the remote and tapped the mute button. “I suspect that being bitten by potentially rabid creatures is quite unpleasant for human beings."

“But that doesn't explain why he grew a beard." Blades chirped, leaning in.

Heatwave shrugged. “I don’t know. It’s colder in the autumn, maybe. And maybe he’s trying to be like his dad."

“Hmm… Crankiness… hair growth… is he eating different things?”

“I don't know. Maybe."

Chase frowned. “Blades, surely you are not suggesting—?”

“Heatwave, is he still being a glory hog, or is he a different kind of cranky?”

Heatwave replayed the last month in his head. He shuddered, realizing Kade's mugging for the camera had virtually stopped. Most of the whining had been about Heatwave's driving; something about the rabies vaccine for the bite causing nausea. “No, he’s just angry and sick all the time.”

“He’s a werewolf,” Blades announced.

“Werewolves are a stupid human myth.”

Chase briefly checked the listing on the movie before changing the channel. “I suppose werewolves are most likely fictional, or else our allies would have provided countermeasures. For that matter, human scientific literature and non-fiction media would discuss the topic with the certainty they apply to the existence of extraterrestrials.”

Heatwave rolled his optics. “Where did you learn sarcasm?”

“Cody taught me." He paused, adding, "While I agree that lycanthropy is unlikely, we appear just as fanciful by human standards of proof. It bears further research and concern.”

Boulder nodded. “I’m with him there. Any change in our human partners is something we should talk to them about."

“Fine, I’ll ask him how he’s feeling,” Heatwave scoffed. “But he’s not a monster. Werewolves aren’t real.”

“Neither are alien robots,” scolded a voice from behind them, and Heatwave fought the urge to jump.

“Chief Burns,” Chase asked, “Surely every being that appears in human fiction does not exist in fact?"

“No, but I bet werewolf myths were based you guys." Chief Burns approached, grinning under his moustache. "I don't think you're responsible for Devil's night, though."

“I don't like the sound of that."

“It's tonight, the night before Halloween,” Burns explained. “It’s a time of mass pranks. In the Midwest, it means arson. And we have four new families from Detroit in town this year.”

“So what do we do?” Heatwave asked.

“You and Kade will patrol for fires.” The chief frowned. “Take it easy on him; he’s not feeling well. But tell him to shave that beard. It might break the seal on his mask.”

Heatwave scowled, nodded, and headed off to find his partner.

He found the redhead waiting at the door. Kade's skin seemed paler than ever, especially in contrast to that red goatee. Heatwave had gotten used to seeing a sallow face, but even going on a month's growth, the beard was a shock.

“Hey Dr. Morocco, Ready to fight some fires?”

“Hey, that monster had a moustache." Kade puffed out his chest. "This is a goatee.”

“Yeah, and your dad says it'll wreck your mask.” Heatwave transformed, body folding into a fire truck on the concrete. He opened his door, and Kade climbed in, digging at his upholstery with sharp nails.

“I tested it,” Kade snapped as he buckled his seatbelt. “He needs to lay off. And hey, no sudden stops tonight.”

“Another rabies shot?"

“No, Dani's cooking, maybe."

Heatwave started his engine and rolled out the door. “So I guess you won’t be cleaning grease stains off my floor.”

“I dunno, eating might help. I kinda want chow mein. Besides,” Kade grumbled, rolling his eyes, “If you’d just keep a garbage bag in here I wouldn’t throw anything on your floor.”

“You want me to keep your garbage inside my body?” He grumbled, steering toward a bump for spite. “That’s sick, Kade.”

The bump hurt, but Heatwave waited to see Kade squirm. Instead the human gasped and retched, a look of terror sweeping over his face as one hand flew to his mouth.

“What’s wrong with you? Do I have to drive, you stupid hunk of metal?”

“I’m worried about my passenger. How can we fight fires if you can’t move without spewing out your intake?”

“I can keep it together if you drive better!” Kade crossed his arms and looked out the driver’s side window. He shuddered, looking down.

Heatwave scanned the input from his mirror cameras on that side for any threats, but found only the full moon. "Whatever."

“And what’s up with you? You're never nice to me.”

“I have a bad feeling about this."

"It's nothing. Calm your bits."

They drove in silence for a while before Kade demanded they stop for food. At first it went well, Kade nibbling at wax-wrapped beef and noodles, but after a few minutes of eating, the human demanded Heatwave stop "somewhere with a bathroom." Heatwave complied. As Kade staggered into the Hall of Inspiration, Heatwave tried not to think too hard.

He had hardly parked when Chief Burns radioed in. “Heatwave, is everything all right? Kade isn’t responding to my calls."

"No. He had to stop at the Hall of Inspiration,” Heatwave explained.

“Leave him there; we’ve got a fire in the warehouse where we impounded Morocco’s inventions.”

“What about our cover?”

“I’ll tell everyone that Cody's operating you remotely. Now hurry; corner of LaMarche and Burton. And call Cody; have him ask Doc to pick up Kade!”

Heatwave turned on his sirens and took off.

“Cody, I had to leave Kade at the Hall of Inspiration on the way to a fire," Heatwave shouted into a different channel.

“Got it, I’ll ask Doc Greene to pick Kade up.” Cody shouted back. “Who’s driving?”

“You are. Remotely."

“OK. Should we pick Kade up now?”

Heatwave braked hard at the thought. “No! I… I don’t think he’s done in there yet. Besides, you and I need to talk."

"Why? What'd I do?"

"What kind of movies are you showing my team?”

The boy chuckled nervously. "No, history, promise. Just some spooky Halloween fun."

“You have Blades convinced Kade is a werewolf!" Heatwave flinched inwardly, regretting his volume.

“Oh, because the dog bite? Don’t worry about it.” Cody chuckled. “He doesn’t fit the signs."

“I’m not worried about it. They’re worried about it.”

“Oh, I know." He thought he heard Cody stifle a giggle. "So what's this about a fire?"

"It's the warehouse where we put Morrocco's inventions," Heatwave explained. "Why set a fire there?"

"I don't know why we're storing all that stuff there anyway," Cody asked. "Having anything that guy worked on near the power plant is a mistake."

"Not burning anything that guy made to the ground is a mistake," The flames came into view, burning building shadowed by the hill. "I'm there, Cody. Go pick up Kade."

The blaze poured out the windows as if trying to escape itself. Chase stood before the fire, wincing, clutching the Chief Burns in his metal hands.

"Heatwave! Evan's still in there!" Chief Burns stared up at him with dark eyes, and the sight of him squirming stopped Heatwave in his tracks. "The arsonist is still inside!"

"Heatwave! You must not go!" Chase ordered. "The internal temperature of the fire is high enough to melt the nanofuel containers we confiscated from Dr. Morocco!"

He shook his head, scowling, walking for the blaze. "Then it'll melt the thief, too."

He tore the door from its hinges and stepped inside.

It had only been months since Morocco's competition, but it seemed like vorns since he'd fought a fire that hot. The smoke taunted him with the threat of clogged intakes and overheating. Still, it felt familiar. Heatwave knew how to deal with fires.

He shouted "Hello?" at the top of his voice, trying to sound like Kade. Heatwave wondered if his gruff timbre would fuel the werewolf rumors when the arsonist recounted the night, but he tried to drop the thought. No movie monsters. No Kade. Just rescuing.

A wordless scream struck him, truncated by a cough.

He ran toward it, shouting, "I'm coming!"

He ran past every piece of equipment they'd taken from Morocco, hoping that Chase was wrong about the temperature. Every bump underfoot made terror seize his spark. It only took seconds to reach his target, but that gave him plenty of time to wonder if his worries about Kade were misplaced. That nanofuel might make him the monster.

Still, the real villain huddled near a window, waiting. Dark eyes rimmed by sooty glasses looked up at Heatwave, and he recognized the arsonist: Evan, the mute thief from the haunting heist.

"You!" Heatwave snarled, approaching Evan. He noticed something shiny in the boy's hands, but dismissed it quickly, focused on grabbing the thief.

Evan screamed, scrambling to his feet and running away; Heatwave nearly fell as he changed direction to follow him.

"Wait! I'm here to help!"

The boy wailed, the canister in his hands glinting in the firelight. Heatwave almost froze when he realized what it was, but pushed onward. He shuddered as they moved on, fans working overtime as he followed into warmer territory.

A cough interrupted the boy’s cries.

Heatwave started to believe they might both escape as they approached a small door in the back. He had just begun to slow when Evan screamed and darted away from the egress. The door rattled, indentations appearing near the top of it, followed by an angry howl.

He froze in his tracks, terror washing over him. It was really true. Blades was right. Kade was…

Evan shrieked and dashed toward the flames, brandishing the canister in his hand. Heatwave found himself sure it held the nanofuel that nearly killed Boulder, but he chased after anyway, hoping the werewolf at the door was on his side.

The boy approached the heart of the flames, and Heatwave grunted, his tires starting to reek of burnt rubber. Evan noticed it too, running back toward Heatwave. The Rescue Bot stooped to grab him, but Evan slipped between his fingers, canister tapping Heatwave's thumb with a twang.

Heatwave spun on his heels to grab Evan. The boy screamed, clawing at the air as he spun back toward Heatwave. Evan ran straight into Heatwave's palm, and the Autobot imagined holding Cody to keep his grip gentle. As he turned his attention toward the door, the lubricants ran cold in his lines in spite of the heat.

A mask lay on the floor.

A fire mask.

Kade's mask.

He heard a tiny roar from his hands, and Heatwave looked down to see Evan slam the red-branded canister on his fingers. A shiny swarm began to snake up his arm. Heatwave tried to brush it away with his other hand, but it flowed around his fingers. He felt the nanofuel swarm in his intakes, burning in a way the fire never could. His circuits surged, commands overwriting his intentions, limbs moving without him. He flailed, desperate to regain control, even if only of his fingers. When his back hit the floor with a clang, Heatwave's hand finally popped open. He heard Evan scream as he fled.

Heatwave stared at the yellow moon as his body, unbidden, climbed to its feet.

He struggled to keep composure as the nanofuel ravaged his circuits, pulling him toward the exit. He wanted to find the boy, but he knew he'd have a hard time turning his head.

But turn his head he did, just in time to see something scramble out the back doorway. The door lay on the ground, splintered, long slashes running down it. The mask still lay there by it, untouched. Panic crept in. Kade…

Then his head jerked the other way, eyes scanning for something without him. He struggled to remember what they'd had Boulder do when the nanofuel had jumped into him, but it had been out of his control. They'd steered him toward the power plant, Heatwave remembered, and suddenly he understood why Charlie had picked this warehouse to store Morocco's things.

He had nothing but time to dwell on it as his body tore through the fire, the smell of burning rubber lighting up his sensors with distress. Still, that was nothing compared to the searing pain in his executive circuits. He resolved not to fight, to save his strength for when he needed it, and that took the edge off the burning as he watched his body navigate the warehouse without him. Was that how Kade felt now? Was Kade…

Was Kade still in the building?

He fought through the fog around his circuitry, trying to activate his radio. It seemed to take forever, but eventually he opened a channel. "Chief! Report!"

"We have Evan!"

"What about Kade?"

"He's out, but Dani doesn't know where he went!"

"I can't go looking for him," Heatwave pleaded. He started to explain, but Charlie interrupted.

"I saw the canister. Get to the power plant. We'll look for Kade."

He burst out of the loading bay, roaring in anguish; Chase approached, wary. For a moment, he felt the nanofuel disengaging with his circuits, as if it were considering his teammate. By the time smaller robot frowned with pity, the grip on his body tightened. Of course. The nanofuel needed the largest machine.

The scene passed by him, burning into his memory like the fire in his lines. The chief, the thief, and Dani stood there, looking up slack-jawed in the firelight. Dani and the thief looked worried, but Chief Burns' eyes shined too much in the firelight. Heatwave remembered that Kade was Charlie's son, and that let him manage a frown.

Then he looked up, toward the hill, his feelings as confused as his controls.

A wolf stood there on the hill… or maybe something like a wolf, bur larger, rusty brown in the fiery glow. It stared at him with dark eyes.

He ran toward the beast, momentarily surprised that the nanofuel gave no complaints as his body obeyed him. Only when his eyes moved without his consent did he realize why: behind the wolf he knew was Kade lay the power plant.

The wolf took off toward the plant with a howl, and Heatwave panicked as he felt his targeting systems activating. For the first time in his life, he silently thanked Primus that he had no weapons. His arm shot off, firing its first impotent burst of water. The wolf dodged nimbly as mud flew up behind it, picking up speed toward the plant.

The second burst hit, and Heatwave screamed "Kade!" as it did,

The wolf stopped a moment to shake off, tail starting to wag. It turned back toward him and let an excited bark before running onward. The third burst of water hit the walls of the power plant; the wolf had disappeared from sight.

As his arms tore the power plant door from its hinges, and his legs stormed in, Heatwave felt relief with the burning. As the nanofuel left him, his last thought was one of gratitude. Maybe Kade being a monster wasn't so bad as long as the jerk were still in there.

The next thing Heatwave knew, something hairy scratched at his shoulder. "Stupid hunk of metal. Wake up and be ok already…"

He sat up, letting a little cry of shock at the sight of his partner.

The human sat near him, red beard even wilder than before. Bandages rather than fur decorated his pale, bare arms. Hands, feet, face…

"Kade… but you…."

"Had it completely under control." The human grinned wide. "Good thing I got sick at the Hall. I was just in time to hunt Myles down. Evan was just a distraction."

Heatwave tried not to think about Myles' fate. "But what about…"

"The nanofuel? Chase was wrong; it didn't melt. Evan just opened it."

Heatwave growled. "You're not listening to me! What about your mask?"

"Beard ruined the seal; I'll shave tomorrow, after I finish my costume."

"And why were you at the warehouse?"

"Graham had it under control. You needed me."

Heatwave hesitated. "And the wolf I followed?"

"Ok, ok. That was me."

The rage that swept over Heatwave burned; for a second, he thought he might still have nanofuel to purge. He roared, "You're a werewolf and you didn't tell me?"

The human fell over at that, laughing, pounding the ground with hairless hands.

"What?"

"You're so gullible! You fell for that?"

"I'm not gullible!" Heatwave roared. "I saw a wolf! And… and Blades said!"

"People can't turn into monsters."

"My people turn into cars!"

Kade finally sat up, wiping tears from his eyes. "That was a hologram, like Myles used before? Graham used it to lure you up to the power plant." He shook his head. "You know I'd tell you if something were going on with me, right?"

"You don't talk about feelings!"

"Whoah, whoah! I don't talk about emotions. Anything that's gonna get in the way of my job, I tell you about. Like tonight. If you don't believe me, call dad. Ask him about the holograms."

The Autobot grumbled and activated his radio, broadcasting so Kade could hear. "Chief, what's this about a wolf hologram?"

"What? Graham and Myles never got the holograms working."

Heatwave growled. "What? So what was the wolf?"

"Not a clue."

"We have to find it!"

"No we don't." Kade sighed, scratching his beard. "We're going back to base to pick Blades' brain, no matter how dumb we look."

Relief filled Heatwave's circuits. "At least I'm an alien who turns into a truck. I have two excuses."
Ah, what a journey this story has been. One of the best ideas for a fanfic I have ever had, I could neither compromise my story nor give up the idea of using it for the prompt that inspired it, even as it looked too long to edit. But edit I have.

And once again I'm pushing limits. So often I achieve the quirky, in-depth commentary for which I am known by dramatically changing the setting, tone, or structure of the stories I'm working with. I gave myself a challenge with this: to write a story about Rescue Bots, in the style of Rescue Bots, with the structure and tone typical of Rescue Bots... but with thematic content that would respectfully rip the show a new one. I set out to write an original story that doesn't look original.

So here you have it: a dark, moody piece about monsters in Griffin Rock with no swearing, no true violence, no sex, and almost no politics, although this story did spawn something more political to go with it. The target of my deconstruction is most specifically the episode "The Alien Invasion of Griffin Rock," with some pretty sharp criticism of "The Haunting of Griffin Rock" and the entire post-Morocco arc thrown in. There are details from a smattering of episodes that I'd love to discuss, not that anyone else watches RB.

This story was a gateway into a big world of "let's rip the shreds out of a show I love while showing exactly why I love it. What began as this simple idea has blossomed into a series, The Stark Moonlight. So far I've penned two companion pieces, at least one of which will see the light of day for sure. Expect "The Hateful Moon" soon, and "The Joyful Moon" eventually.

Want to see "The Hateful Moon" sooner?

I'm tying release of "The Hateful Moon" to the contest this was written for. I want to read lots of monster stories, and I want to see an amazing turnout! So, here's the deal.

I'm planning on doing the second Moonlight story for another contest. It's drafted, not edited. That contest ends on the 29th.

As it stands now, I'll submit that story to that group on the 28th.

If three more of my watchers enter the Fiendish Fan Fiction Contest for which this story was written? I'll submit it earlier. AND, anyone who enters the Fiendish contest can see my drafts of "The Hateful Moon" in advance. Ask *iammemyself, she's already entered the contest and already gotten a link.
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Follow the Yellow Line

Indiana


Characters: Cave Johnson, Caroline
Setting: Aperture Science Innovators, 1950s (Pre-Portal)



“Sir.  There’s been an accident.”

Cave Johnson, CEO of Aperture Science Innovators, stopped admiring his own reflection in the mirror and turned his attention to the image of his assistant, Caroline.  Mm.  Beautiful and smart.  Not bad, Cave, not bad, he mused to himself, turning to face her.  “What is it, Caroline?  It better be a good accident.  Today’s opening day, you know.”

“Yes, sir, I know.  Sir, the scientists assigned to the praying mantis DNA experiment misunderstood their instructions… it seems they stated they were supposed to inject themselves with it.”

Cave snorted.  “For a bunch of eggheads, I can’t imagine a bigger group of idiots.  Who wrote those instructions, anyway?”

“You did, sir.”  She showed him a sheet of paper, and that sure looked like his handwriting, all right.  Hm.  Well, he couldn’t be blamed for the scientists not having common sense, could he?  

“They should have known better.  I’m not a scientist.”

“But sir,” Caroline protested, readjusting her armful of files and folders, “then why do you have a diploma on your wall saying you graduated with a dual PhD in nuclear physics and chaos theory?”

“Because having my name engraved on a fancy piece of paper makes me look good, of course.”  He grinned and clapped an arm around her shoulders, guiding her towards the door and ignoring the confused look on her lovely young face.  “I don’t know if there’s even a such thing as a dual PhD in whatever it is you said that paper says.  I made it up.  Caroline, you’ll have to explain nuclear chaos physics theory to me some day.  Make a note of that.”

“Yes, sir,” Caroline answered, pulling out a notebook from her pile and doing so.  “When would you like me to pencil that in for?”

“Tomorrow,” Cave told her.  “We can skip the budget meeting and you can do it then.”

“But sir!” Caroline exclaimed, “I don’t know anything about… any of that.”

“What, between now and tomorrow at noon isn’t enough time to figure it out?”

“No, sir,” Caroline protested.  “It would probably take me longer than that to find a book on it.”

“We’ll discuss it later.” Cave waved his left hand expansively.  They’d figure it out some other time.  “No one’s noticed, anyway.  And if someone asks me about it, I’ll just call you in to explain it.  That’s what you’re for.  The details.”

“That’s… probably a bit too detailed for me, sir.”

“Oh Caroline,” Cave laughed, “always the modest one, aren’t you.  Well.  Let’s go see about this accident, shall we?”

“Sir,” Caroline asked tentatively, “why do you think that injecting people with praying mantis DNA will make them more religious, anyway?”

“The mantises are always praying, maybe this will scramble people’s brains up to think like them.”

“You do know they’re not actually praying, right, sir?”

“Of course they are!” Cave laughed, “Else they wouldn’t be called praying mantises!  Keep up, Caroline!”

The two of them made their way down to the labs and met up with a man who was nervously standing at the end of the hallway, shifting his weight from one foot to the other anxiously.  “Mr Johnson!” he exclaimed.  “Ma’am,” he nodded to Caroline.

“What’s going on here?  Caroline tells me the lab boys made a mistake.  Again.”

“Yes, sir.  We’re not quite sure what happened, only that all the lights in the lab are out now, and there are a lot of weird noises coming from inside… no one wants to go in there, sir.”

“Fine.  I’ll deal with it myself.  Where’s the lab?”

“Just follow the yellow line, sir,” the man said.  “I’d advise you to take these with you.”  He held out a pair of rifles.  “Just in case.  Like I said, we don’t know what’s going on in there.”

Cave took the rifles and waved at Caroline.  “Let’s go, Caroline.  We need to fix this and fix it now!  Or sooner, whichever comes first.”  He started down another hallway, noting that the lights were out at the other end.  None of the lights in the other labs on either side of the hall were on either.

“I understand, sir,” Caroline nodded, readjusting her papers and quickly following after him.  After a few minutes they reached the end of the yellow line, and Cave could barely see a thing.  He peered into the darkness.  Nothing.  Hm.  He turned around and extended one of the guns to Caroline.  “Here, Caroline.  You might need this.”

“But sir!” Caroline exclaimed, shocked, “I don’t know how to fire a rifle!”

“It’s a great time to learn.  Now you can’t say I never taught you anything.  Put those papers down, Caroline.”

Caroline looked at her armload of paperwork as if parting with it would give her a stroke.  Come to think of it, it might.  He couldn’t remember the last time he’d seen her empty-handed.  “I need these, sir… can’t you do the rifle firing and I just… observe?”

“Don’t be silly, Caroline,” Cave chided, putting the rifle down and holding a hand out.  “No one ever learned anything through observation.  Learn by doing, that’s my motto.  Or is it, learn by watching someone else do it?  Doesn’t matter.  Gimme those.”

Caroline shook her head and backed away, clutching the papers to her breasts.  “Sir, I must protest.”

“Protest away, but do it while you’re firing the rifle, will you?  Those are technically my papers and by the power vested in me as the… as double nucleic chaotic physical theory doctor Cave Johnson, CEO and founder of Aperture Science Innovators, I demand you give them to me.”

Looking down at her papers as if they were her children, Caroline slowly opened her arms and, gathering them as best she could in both hands, extended them to Cave while closing her eyes very tightly and turning her head to face over her shoulder.  Cave grabbed the papers and threw them in the corner.  Caroline gasped in horror.  “Sir!”

“They’re not important.  Now, here’s the rifle.  This is the… uh… the thing you press to shoot.  And this is the… the reloading thingy.  And you hold it like this.”  He braced the rifle against her shoulder and positioned her arms.  She looked very uncertain.  “This is very heavy, sir.”

“You’ll get used to it.”  He picked up his own rifle and moved forward.  “Let’s get going.  We should probably contain this problem before the test subjects get here.”

“Sir, why would you go ahead with the testing if you already know the result?”  She followed him, struggling to hold the rifle in the position he had put it in.  “Isn’t that redundant?”

“The lab boys followed the instructions wrong,” he told her dismissively.  

“No, sir, they didn’t,” Caroline protested.  “Remember?  You wrote them that way?”

“Really?  Prove it.  Show me the instructions.”

“I can’t, sir, you took my files away and threw them in the corner.”  She looked hopeful all of a sudden.  “I could go back and get them, though – “

“Nah, we don’t need them.”  Cave guided her forward with a hand on the small of her back.  Now that he thought of it, he would have liked to put his hand a lot of other places too… but that could wait.  “I know what the instructions said, and they did not say to inject themselves with – “

“Yes they did, sir.”

“Don’t interrupt me when I’m right, Caroline.  Or when I’m wrong, either, because in the unlikely event that I’m wrong, you need to stick up for me, not argue.”  The two of them soon reached the lab, Caroline holding the rifle in a decidedly not-so-useful fashion, and Cave noted with some irritation that the lights were off.  Stupid lab boys, always showing off by doing their science in the dark.  “Where’s the light switch in here, Caroline?”

“I don’t know sir, I’ve never been in this lab before.”

“Well, find it.  I can’t see a thing.”

“Sir, I can’t even hold this rifle properly, I don’t think I can find the light switch too.”

“Tell me what you’re here for again?”

Caroline’s eyes gleamed in the dim light coming from outside the doorway.  “I’m honestly not sure, sir.”

“It must be because you run slower than I do.  Fine.  I’ll find the light.  You stay here.”  Cave handed her his rifle and started feeling along the wall.

“Sir, what do you want me to do with this?”

“Fire it.  What else do you think I want you to do with it?”

“You want me to fire two rifles at the same time?!”

“Why not?  They do it in the movies, don’t they?”

“No, sir, those are revolvers!”

“Rifle, revolver, they both start with r, what’s the difference?”  And where was the light switch?  Damn lab boys, it was probably activated only if you recited the DNA sequence of a frog, backwards, in binary, or something like that.

“There are a lot of differences, sir.”

“If you know so much about guns, why don’t you know how to fire one?”  He continued feeling along the wall and his hand made contact with something hard and fuzzy.  Ew.  What was that, some sort of weird cactus?  He needed to figure out just what the lab boys did in here.

“I’ve never seen a gun in – sir!  I found it!”  With that, the room was flooded with light, and when Cave had finished blinking the spots out of his eyes he was able to see just what he was touching.

It was a gigantic praying mantis, and it did look kind of like a cactus, Cave noted.  It was the green he’d imagine a cactus to be, never having seen one, and it was covered with tiny little white hairs.  It was maybe six feet tall, with long, spindly limbs, sharp teeth-like things sticking out of its face, and beady little black eyes… which were staring right at him.  Caroline started screaming.

“Oh my God, sir, it’s, and you’re, oh God, Mr Johnson, get away from, oh my God –“

“Throw me a rifle, Caroline!” Cave shouted, not knowing whether to back away or to keep hanging on and hoping it didn’t notice him.  There was a loud clattering noise and Cave looked behind him to see the rifle lying on the floor about six feet away.  He groaned.  “Caroline!”

“I’m sorry, sir, but it’s very heavy!”

Cave made for the gun, but the mantis man, as he’d decided to call it, hissed and tripped him somehow.  Looking down, he saw that it had one of its pointed legs through his pants.  Well, at least it had missed his leg.  He ducked out of the way of a gob of saliva dripping out of the thing’s mouth.  He stretched out for the gun but couldn’t reach.  “Caroline!”

“I’m sorry, sir!”

The mantis man hissed again and brought its giant head to bear on him, teeth things snapping open and shut, and Cave almost thought he recognised the eyes of one of his lab boys.  Maybe lab boys just shared eyes with praying mantises, though.  He wouldn’t put it past them.  Always doing sneaky things behind his back.  He reached out to shove the head away, but the mantis was a lot stronger than he was and overpowered him.  “Caroline!”

“Hang on, sir!”

There was a bang and all of a sudden the mantis’s head exploded.  Trying not to think about what was now all over his face, Cave scrambled backwards along the floor, snatching up the gun as he went, until his back was to the wall.  Then he looked up at Caroline, wiping his face off with the handkerchief in his breast pocket.  She was shaking very badly, still holding the rifle in the direction of the mantis man who was now lying, headless, on the floor.  “You’ve never fired a gun before?”

“N-no, sir.”

“Well, you seem to have the hang of it.  Let’s take the rest of these guys out.”  He stood up, stuffing the handkerchief back into his pocket, and aimed the rifle into the darker recesses of the lab.  “Come on, Caroline.”

The two of them inched their way into the room, and when it got too dark to see they spread out, searching for another light.  This time Cave found it, and when they were able to see again, what they saw made them freeze in shock.

The back of the lab was filled with hissing, snarling, gigantic mantis men, even bigger than the one that Caroline had taken out.

“Oh… my… God…” Caroline whispered.  “Sir, I… is there a plan B?  Please say there’s a plan B.”

“Of course there is, Caroline!  I’ve always got a plan B!  And a plan CDEFG to be safe.  Come on!”  He threw the gun aside and made for the door.

“Coming, sir!”  Caroline dropped her own rifle and ran after him, but after a few seconds he realised she probably wouldn’t make it.  He stopped, waited for her to catch up, and grabbed her arm.  He twisted it behind her back.

“Sir, ow, what are you – “

“Trust me, Caroline,” he yelled heroically, and he threw her out the nearest window.  Hoping the drop wasn’t too far, since he had yet to make his prerecorded message for when the test subjects came in, he jumped out himself.

And landed on top of Caroline.  Not a bad position, all things considered.  

“Sir, get off me!” she yelled, pushing at him with both hands.  Disappointed, Cave hoisted himself off of her.  She struggled into a sitting position, brushing her hair out of her face.  “Sir, I’m – did you just throw me out a window without knowing what would happen?”

“It was either that or let you get eaten by those mantis men.  Pick your battles, Caroline,” Cave told her, annoyed.  He had just saved her life, for God’s sake, you’d think she’d be a bit more grateful.

“That’s true,” Caroline nodded slowly, looking up at the shattered window.  It seemed they had fallen into one of the unfinished testing tracks.  “Thank you, sir.”

Not quite what he’d been looking for, but it was a start.  “Let’s get going, Caroline.”  He stood up, waited for her to do so, and eventually stuck out a hand to help her.  For someone so efficient, she was taking a really long time.

Caroline, however, was frozen.  “Sir, look!”  She pointed up at the window.  Following her finger, Cave saw the beady little eyes of a mantis man staring right at them, and all of a sudden their departure was a little more urgent than it had been previously.  He grabbed her arm, yanked her to her feet, and pulled her along behind him.  “Let’s get going, Caroline,” he repeated more loudly, and the two of them ran to the elevator.  After they reached administration, the two of them ran all the way to Cave’s office, everyone in the hallways looking at them like they were completely bananas, and when they got to his office, Cave threw himself behind his desk and began searching madly in a drawer for his tape recorder.  “Caroline, for God’s sake close that door!” he yelled.

“I’ve already closed it, sir,” she panted, and he looked up to see that she had plastered her back to the door as if it were about to fall down.  “What are you looking for?”

“My tape recorder!  Help me find it, Caroline, I need to record this message, now!”

“The tape recorder was with my files!” Caroline shrieked.  “Sir, you’re going to have to borrow one from someone else!”

“Why were you carrying my tape recorder?”

“You told me to, sir!  You told me to take it so you could record messages on the fly!”

“Don’t let me do that again.  Go and get one from somewhere else.”

Caroline eyed the door uneasily.  “But sir…”

“No mantis man would want to eat you, you’re far too skinny.  Go get one.”

Caroline blinked.  “I suppose that’s true…” She opened the door and left, returning after a few more minutes.  When she got back Cave was regarding the diploma on his wall.  Just what was chaos theory, anyway?  “You got one?”

“Yes, sir.”  She handed it to him, rubbing absently at her leg.  Maybe she bruised it when she fell out the window?  That was kind of inconsiderate of her.

“Alright.  Here goes.”  He cleared his throat and pressed the record button.  Remembering where he left off, he continued, “Those of you who volunteered to be injected with praying mantis DNA, I’ve got some good news and some bad news.  Bad news is, we’re postponing those tests indefinitely.  Good news is, we’ve got a much better test for you!  Fighting an army of mantis men.  Pick up a rifle and follow the yellow line… you’ll know when the test starts.”

“Oh sir,” Caroline smiled when he’d shut the recorder off and given her the tape to put in the system, “that is a much better solution to the problem.”    

“Of course it is.  I thought of it.  Go tell whoever’s in charge of that test to gather the rifles.  We’ll have the experts clear these things out for us.  I’m pretty sure my diploma doesn’t cover mutants.  Or idiotic lab boys.”

“I understand, sir.”  Caroline turned to leave, clutching the tape in her left hand.

“Hey, Caroline?”

“Yes, sir?”  She really was pretty as a postcard, too, he thought.  He wondered if she actually was as married to science as she claimed.

“Good job out there.”

“Thank you, sir,” she beamed.  “You did very well yourself.”

He wanted to tell her he was also pretty good at a lot of other things, but decided it could wait and waved her off.  He stood up, stuffed his hands into his pockets, and looked out his office window at the many, many test subjects being escorted onto his property.

It was time to make some science.
Author’s note
I usually don’t enter contests. I have a hard time coming up with stuff that’s a prompt not given to me by myself. But for this contest, there happens to be a legend within Portal 2, and that is the legend of the mantis men… so here’s what happened, and what they did about it! This fic is extremely unusual from the ones I usually write (I think it’s the first one sans GLaDOS! *gasp*), and it definitely has a lighter tone than usual. And it’s exactly 3,000 words. Enjoy!
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The Cucco Conundrum


Link was getting thirsty, but he had made a point to never again drink from Kakariko’s well.  He knew what was down there.

Chirping crickets stilled their night songs as Link shifted his position where he sat beside the windmill.  Not for the first time, he fingered his Ocarina in consideration.  He hated to dampen his lookout spot, but he really was parched.  A little rain would have to do.

With a stretch and a groan he rose to his feet for the first time in hours and walked the short distance to the nearest sheltering eaves.  Bringing the sacred instrument to his lips, he trilled a soft little waltz that set the sky aroil with swift black clouds.  The wrack thickened and churned above him, veiling moon and stars and casting Kakariko Village into blackness.  At the last note’s release, a sharp vein of lighting split the sky, thunder rang off the mountain and tumbled among the foothills, and the rain came down in sheets.

Navi the fairy, Link’s only companion apart from his horse, started at the commotion, flitting out from the little nest she kept under Link’s hat.  By her light, Link watched the water sluice off the roof in a crystal curtain before him.  He waited a moment for its slight brown shingle-dust tinge to wash away before holding an empty bottle beneath the torrent.  This he filled and drained twice, gasping in relief and wiping his chin, before corking a third bottleful for later.  After that there was nothing for it but to lean back and wait out the storm while the mud spackled his boots.

The trouble with the Song of Storms was that there was no accompanying tune to halt the downpour.  Link never knew how long or how short the rain would be.  Near the lake on a humid day it might not stop for an hour.  Here at the foot of Death Mountain and its smoking caldera, however, Link hoped it would let up soon.  He couldn’t keep a close eye on Anju’s cucco pen in this kind of weather.

Much earlier that afternoon, Link had ridden in from the desert, hot and bothered, low on provisions and in need of a decent meal.  He had truly been looking forward to the quiet hospitality of the mountain village.  After hitching his horse and ascending the rough-hewn stairway through the foothills, however, he had been disappointingly greeted with only a flurry of noise and feathers as Anju’s free-roaming cuccos rampaged through the avenues, scratching up dust, harassing the populace and generally pooping on every available surface.

And Anju, ironically allergic to their feathers, had had a devil of a time trying to round them all up again.

So Link had lent a hand.  Anju was always ready to drop a fair amount of pocket change for this kind of favor.  Still, it had taken the better part of an hour to track them all down, and Link had the sneaking suspicion that the cuccos were getting faster...

*

“I’m sorry about all the trouble, again,” Anju sighed, “I just can’t figure how they all keep getting out.”

Link only gave her a shrug and a reassuring little smile as he set the last cucco back in its pen.

“My father built that coop himself—you can see the latch, it’s good and solid, it’s just... I’ll have it fastened so
tightly at night and then... some mornings...”  The cucco keeper brought her hand to her temple, at a loss.  “I’m sorry.  Just listen to me.”  She shook her head and smoothed her skirt.  “I know I can hardly keep up with demand as it is, but I’d be out of eggs entirely if it weren’t for your help.  Thank you, Link.”

Link gave a single nod as Anju took his hand and pressed a few rupees into his palm.  She closed his fingers around them and gave a grateful squeeze before turning back toward her house, her patterned skirt hem aswirl.

Halfway to her door she stopped in her tracks.  “Link...” she started, turning around again.  Her eyes flicked shyly over the hilt of Link’s sword.  “You’ve got experience in... doing away with vermin, haven’t you?”


*

One hundred rupees she had offered.  A hundred rupees to catch whatever fox or cat or wolfos she suspected must have been cracking into her coop every other night and setting the cuccos loose.  Link had taken a look at the strange scratch-marks surrounding the latch and believed she might be on to something.  But what was more, those rupees would certainly have been useful; Link’s little run-in with the desert thieves had completely fleeced his pockets.  He needed the money.

He just had to keep reminding himself of this as he stood shivering against the mortared wall, droplets misting his face.  Navi had once again taken refuge under his hat, and the remaining darkness pressed in coldly upon him.  Widening his eyes, he strained for any hint of light beyond the few yellowed windows of the village.

Thankfully, Link didn’t have to wait long before the silver shower began to thin out and the moon broke haltingly through the clouds.  Already he was regaining sight of Anju’s cucco pen through the dimness.  Nothing had changed.

With the storm resorted to casting down its last spitty drops, Link left the cover of the eaves and took a few sodden steps to check on the cuccos.  The droppings encrusting their pen had slushed together into one rank atrocity in the downpour, but the coop was otherwise untouched.  A few of the cuccos cracked their bright eyes at Link’s approach, quietly clucking between the wooden slats at the squelch of his boots.  The latch was still secure.

After a glance up and down the empty avenue, Link again mounted the steps to his spot on the platform outside the windmill.  This part of the hillside offered a good vantage point over most of the village.  But as the tussock grass now glistened with frigid rain and mud, Link resigned himself to lean against the rail for a spell.  It did feel good to stretch his legs at least.

By the moonlight, Link could see all the way to Grog’s tree near the village entrance.  Poor Grog.  The last Link had seen of him had been in the Lost Woods, and Fado said that anyone—everyone—who strayed too deeply into that forest became a stalfos, a hideous, skeletal creature bent only on violent harm.  Link had dispatched many of them on his forays into the woods.  Maybe he had already found Grog, and put him out of his misery.  Or perhaps men-turned-stalfos were already dead, their remaining dust and bones simply possessed of the Demon King’s dark power.

Either way, there was nothing Link could have done to save him.

The world had become so twisted over the past seven years.  It was often difficult to discern the line between the natural beasts of the wild land and Ganon’s demonic horde.  Link looked to the cucco pen down the hill.  Was it really only some mountain fox that kept breaking in?  Or had some unholy fiend from below somehow sensed the warm flesh and crept up from...

Link looked down into the well below the platform.  Its slick inner stones reflected the moonlight with an innocent glimmer.  The things this town didn’t know.

He spat, shuddering out his dread, and removed his shield.  He laid it face down on the grass before the windmill wall and had a seat on the wood, thumping his back against the stone with a sigh.

At the vibration, a subtle scratching sound jittered out of the stones above his head.  In the next heartbeat that passed, even as Link was just considering that he knew that noise, Navi was out of his hat in a blur, pulsing a dangerous yellow.  “Watch out, Link!” she warned in her tiny voice, flitting between her friend and the source of the noise.

Link rebounded from where he had just sat down, and leapt to his feet.  Nearly slipping on the wet grass, he spun around, sword in hand, to see Navi’s fiery glow hovering some feet up the wall.  Her fierce light shone hotly down on a sheeny golden carapace.  It seemed a skulltula had crawled out of the earth to air itself out after the storm.

“Found you!” the fairy crowed.

Skulltulas were only a breed of spider, so named for the death’s head shape and markings of their carapaces.  But they grew as large as housecats, and one bite could leave a welt the size of a melon.  At least, that was the case with the regular ones.  Big skulltulas were another story.

The spiders themselves were natural enough.  But golden specimens such as this had been markedly touched by evil.  They were twice as vicious and, as bearers of an eldritch curse, infinitely more harmful.

They were still only spiders, though.  And this one wasn’t so far up the wall that Link couldn’t reach it with his sword.  Guided by Navi’s light, he stood tall and knocked it down with the tip of the blade.  Its legs flailed wildly, its scratching becoming more frenetic as it tumbled to the ground below, where Link cleaved it in two.

The severed halves still twitched and jittered as the golden skulltula’s cursed body consumed away in a dark flame.  Scratch, scratch, scratch...  The carcass continued to sigh and evaporate until only a glittering piece of carapace remained behind—the heart of the curse.

Scratch... scratch... scratch...

Bending down, Link carefully collected this token and tucked it away in a pouch.  He and Navi were going to hunt this demonic species to extinction.  Their numbers were limited.  The fairy could feel it.

Scratch-scratch-scratch-sratch...

Link’s head shot up.  He turned around.

Three cuccos were headed his way, running for their lives.  Two more darted toward the graveyard.  Link’s eyes shot to the pen.  Cuccos poured out of the coop in a confused white mass, flapping over the pen wall and casting up a shower of feathers.

Navi only just managed to slip back underneath Link’s hat before he leapt over the rail.  He hit the ground running, but it was only a few strides to the pen.  The cuccos fluttered and jumped aside at his hot approach.  He quickly scanned the area, but aside from the undone latch and open coop door, there were no signs of any predators.  He had only looked away for a minute!

Small, white bodies fidgeted all around him, expanding, wandering; there was movement everywhere.  Link swept his eyes across the little horde again and again, seeking for some kind of sign of what could have done this...

And he found it.  There, a little way down the path, one white shape moved differently than the rest, slower, jerk by jerk along the ground.  It was being dragged.

Unsheathing his sword once more, Link strode toward the shady cucco thief.  Another step and he could see the cucco was already dead.  And another and another, and he could make out the large puncture wounds on its neck.

Scratch, scratch, the cucco dragged over the tussocks.  Link was mere feet away.  Another step and he could see the skull, pale in the shadow of a house.  A common skulltula.  It released its prey and raised its forelegs in alarm, venom and blood on its fangs.  Link raised his sword.

Wait!” the skulltula shrieked, its voice the rattle of scratching dead reeds.

Link froze, his eyes wide.  That skulltula talked.

“Stop!  Please don’t!”  It curled its creaking forelegs in a pathetic attempt to shield itself.

Link’s sword arm remained uncertainly in the air as he attempted to process this.  Skulltulas couldn’t talk.  Nor could Ganon’s power charm them into sentience.  But no, he had seen this before.  No skulltula in the world could speak except for... oh no...

“It’s me!  It’s Taran!”  The spider warily peeped through a crack between its legs, and now Link could see the faint gleam of the human eyes in the skull.

Link slowly stood back, breathing long and deep, and the sword went back into its scabbard.  Taran.  A curse bearer.  One of six ill-fated souls Link knew to have been afflicted with the golden skulltulas’ devilry.  One for whom he was hunting those accursed spiders.  And a lifelong resident of Kakariko.

“You recognize me!” Taran chirped, scuttling forward, “Oh thank you!  I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you, I know how this must look...”

Four hairy, creaking spider legs tapped and touched and curled gratefully around Link’s left leg.  Link knew Taran meant well, but he could hardly keep from stiffening at the creeping contact.  It was unsettling to have three-inch fangs up against his shins, no matter how nice the kid they belonged to.

But it was beside the point.  Behind him, a dozen cuccos still clucked and scratched and wandered further away from their pen.  Link’s hands went to his hips as he stared down at the spider-child.  This was not okay.

Taran caught Link’s gaze and shrank back, his every move accentuated by that scratch, scratch, scratch.  He guiltily regarded the dead cucco lying limply on the grass between them.  Its face had gone a fine shade of green.  “I’m sorry it makes such a mess every time,” he said.

Link supposed he should have known all along, given Taran’s family’s condition, and the proximity of their house to Anju’s.  No wonder the cuccos were getting harder to catch.  All the slow ones were getting picked off.

“But we have to eat!” Taran reasoned, “And the cucco lady gets along just fine—she can always just hatch more birds—and people are gonna eat them anyway and—and—”  He began to quail beneath Link’s steely gaze, the admonishing hands gesturing to all the cuccos now running loose.

Taran quivered in sudden anger.  “Well I try to lock them up but I can’t shut the door because of these stupid—” he twitched his tiny claws before his face, “—do I look dexterous enough to button up that stupid latch?  It’s so complicated!”  His legs curled inward and he sank into the turf.  “We’re doing the best we know how and it’s not like we like it and—well how would you feel if all you could do to live was suck on dead animals?  Maybe if you’d help us break the curse a little faster—we can’t find all the pieces like this—we just—”

Taran’s words broke apart as he shivered on the ground, his young human eyes beginning to tear.

With a sorry little sigh, Link stooped down and, for lack of a shoulder, laid his hand on the cheek of the skull instead.  Taran stilled his shuddering, his poor eyes only pleading out from the heart of that grotesque carapace.  He just wanted to be human again.

In the fragile quiet, Link took the golden skulltula’s token from its pouch, and proffered it in an open palm.

At this Taran gasped in his reedy spider’s voice... and then the tears began in earnest.  He took the precious token in his mandibles, the venomous fangs brushing over Link’s skin with a dexterity the swordsman forced himself to trust.  “Thank you, Link,” Taran croaked, and then closed six legs around Link’s arm in a scratchy spider-hug.

When he didn’t let go after a moment, Link stood back up and lifted Taran with him.  With the spider-child in one arm and the cucco in the other hand, he walked the last few steps through the moonlight back to the home of the cursed family.

*

The next morning, after helping to gather the stray cuccos once again, Link was sorry to explain to Anju that there were no foxes, no wolfos, no naughty village children.  The latch was, in fact, simply unreliable before the restless beaks and talons of her superior breed of cucco.  Yes, he knew her father was the best carpenter east of Castle Town.  Yes, he was sure it was a brilliant latch design, far ahead of its time.  But all the same, he just recommended she replace it with an older style.  Preferably one that could latch upon just being pushed closed.  The old designs really were the best designs.

Disappointed though she was, Anju was an honest woman, and she paid Link in full for his troubles.  His purse jingling like music again, Link then set about restocking his quiver and supply pouch, and paying a serious visit to the bomb shop before returning to the desert.  The Gerudo Thieves were not to be taken lightly, he knew.  But neither was the wielder of the Master Sword.  They would know it soon enough.

He paused by Grog’s tree on his way out, tightening his bandolier for the journey.  Taran’s house stood nearby, its windows dingy as ever and curtained by cobwebs.  The inside was so dark it was impossible to tell if there were anyone looking back out.  Link gave a heartening little wave anyway, distantly hoping to lend Taran a little courage.

His business in Kakariko complete for the time being, Link set off toward the stone stairway to the plain, crunching through leaves and snapping through twigs—Grog’s tree had been slowly withering away, dropping bit by bit.

Grog.  The memory of the forest was grim—that was one life Link hadn’t been able to save.  One life lost to the Demon King.

Link cast a final reassuring smile over his shoulder for any eyes in the windows.

Piece by piece, no matter how long it took, he wasn’t about to lose six more.
And with that, I've just ruined Kakariko Village for everyone.  Happy Halloween!  :mwahaha:

(Well it makes perfect sense if you think about it----them spider-people gotta eat!  How else could those cuccos keep getting loose?)

Entry for Community Relations' Fiendish Fan Fiction contest. :heart:

Also, this icon because it's hilarious:  :iconwooooplz:

Also also, true to form, Link = :iconnowordsplz:  :XD:

Also also also, I hate naming already existing and unnamed characters in somebody else's universe; it feels so pretentious.  :ashamed:  But I tried for something in Zelda-style, and you know how they can get a little.... abbreviatory sometimes, or punny, referring to other things....  Can you guess where Taran's name came from?  :dummy:

Anyway.  Thanks for readin', y'all!  Hope you enjoyed!

Love,

Connie

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An Aqua Teen Hunger Force fanfic


It was another Halloween night. The windows and doors were locked, the electric fence with laser beams activated outside. All Carl Brutananadilewski hoped for was a peaceful night. It wasn’t just kids with the usual toilet paper and eggs in his neighborhood. No, he would be lucky if his house wasn’t burned down, or that he escaped brutal, agonizing torture. This was never a good night for him.


Carl stood in the living room, carefully peaking through the curtain to see out, but not be seen himself. He was middle aged, overweight and caucasian.  He was very hairy, except for the very top of his head, and his eyebrows and mustache were darker than his hair. Carl wore what he usually wore, a stained white tank top and old, blue sweatpants with green flip flops on his feet.


Hand Banana crawled up Carl’s back with its weird appendages. The creature, and now Carl’s most significant and stable partner, was genetically engineered from the DNA of an anthropomorphic milkshake, and shaped by computer software designed to create dogs. Hand Banana was a strange amalgam that resembled his name, if one could imagine a four-fingered hand that walked on its fingertips, and colored the bright yellow of a banana. He had the face of a dog, eyes that were small, dark and possessed all of the puppy-dog cuteness. He had two floppy ears and a pointed nose, on a head shaped something like the end of a sausage.


“You seem awfully tense tonight,” Hand Banana said soft and huskily into Carl’s ear as he massaged the big man’s shoulders. It used to bother Carl when the creature got up on him like this, but he had gotten used to it. Carl had adapted to many strange things.


“This is a freakin night of freaks,” said Carl. “And this is New Jersey. It’s a very dangerous place, especially if you’re me for some reason.”


Hand Banana understood. He was mind-linked with Carl. He knew about all of the robots, aliens, monsters, and bad people that his beloved Carl had encountered.  “It won’t be so bad now that you have me,” said Hand Banana. It spoke telepathically, through the mind-link. “When those rapist aliens came to get another piece of you, we showed them a thing or two.” *


“Heh. Yeah, I guess we did,” said Carl, relaxing slightly as his partner kneaded his hairy shoulders. “But they were small,” Carl added after a bit.” Some of the things that come through here, they’re like freakin Godzilla!”


Hand Banana crept off of Carl’s shoulders and back onto the floor. “I think I know what you need,” it said. The yellow, doggish creature scampered off and then returned with a can of beer and a fresh baked muffin. “Here, this ought to help you feel better.” Hand Banana knew the direct route to Carl’s heart and mind, was his stomach. Being a pastry chef, Hand Banana always had baked goods on available for such occasions.


Carl sat down on the couch with his beer and muffin. “Yeah, I guess you’re right. It’s pretty quiet out there. Maybe it will be an uneventful evening.


Carl opened his beer can and leaned back to take a few gulps from it. That’s when he noticed something strange in the hallway.


It was a roll of paper towels, but it wasn’t behaving the way it should. It was crawling across the floor, the extended sheet undulating like an inchworm, the rest of the roll carried like the shell of a snail


“That’s not right,” said Carl. “I ain’t even that freakin drunk an I can tell ya, that’s just freakin wead!”


Hand Banana had spent enough time in the kitchen to understand the nature of paper towel rolls, and he had never seen anything like this before.


The paper towels slid across the floor, making only a very soft scraping sound as the towels transported themselves. It came out of the hallway, into the living room.
Carl picked up Hand Banana, and carried him upstairs into the bedroom. The paper towels followed them. Two ply, the single sheet lifted the roll step by step, with minimal strain. From the top of the stairs, Carl and Hand Banana watched as it gained on them.


“What the freakin hell? I’m running away from a roll of paper towels!” Carl exclaimed. He dropped Hand Banana to the floor and had grabbed a shotgun so quickly, his partner could not say from where he had obtained it.


“Wait!” Hand Banana called out, in a voice that would sound to anyone, but Carl, like a dog’s yip.


“Why?” Carl demanded.


“It might be related to me,” said Hand Banana. “I am part paper product, you know.”


“Oh fine then! We’ll ask the freakin roll about its family! Hey you! Creepy paper towels that ain’t supposed to be moving, why the freakin hell are you doing that?”


The paper  towels remained deathly silent. Then, towels started to come off of the roll. Longer and longer, the strip of them snaked up the stairs. Hand Banana growled and barked at them.


“Enough talking,” said Carl, as he raised his shotgun and blasted the roll right in the cardboard tube. The paper towels fell limply onto the stairs where Hand Banana viciously tore them to pieces.


Someone was knocking on the door. “Carl! Hey Carl! This is Frylock! I heard a gunshot. Are you okay in there?”


Carl was too shaken over what had just happened to wonder how Frylock had gotten through the security system, but that floating box of French fries always had a way of getting in. No way Carl wanted to open his door to that freak. Not on this night of all nights. Bad things always followed his living fast food neighbors.


“It’s okay!” Carl called back. “We’re just watching horror movies… naked!”


“Okay,” said Frylock. “I thought maybe you were having problems with your toilet paper.”


“Toilet paper?” Carl asked.


“Yeah, ours just started attacking Meatwad. We had to burn every roll in the house!”


“Damn! You better go back to yer house in case some more wead crap starts  happening. You know, go protect Meatwad or something.”


Hand Banana’s fur bristled at the tissue box. Carl fumbled around the living room for a book of matches. There was no further sound from Frylock. He must have floated home. There was no trusting him, not on Halloween. Frylock was right about the paper products, but then, he was cardboard too.


Carl and Hand Banana spent the rest of the night burning paper products. They got rid of all toilet paper, which was pretty easy, since Carl didn’t have any, just the paper tubes. They burnt those, along with the tissues, coffee filters, and a chair that got snippy. Hand Banana cried when they had to throw his baking cups into the pyre, but they were already becoming animated and belligerent.


When the sun finally rose through the dense New Jersey haze, an exhausted Carl and Hand Banana looked around the yard at the charred remains of possessed wood pulp, and were glad, at last, that Halloween was over. They made their way back into the house, upstairs and to the bed. Nothing they passed along the way was moving or acting in an unnatural way. They collapsed into bed, too tired to even cuddle. Carl drifted off to sleep with the wish that some year he could get to have a hangover the next day, like other people did, after this crazy freakin holiday.
* is in reference to this: fav.me/d6p53ac

Happy Halloween folks! Here's a story about our favorite couple, Carl and Hand Banana.

This is my entry for :iconsingingflames:  SingingFlamesand Community Relations'  Fiendish Fan Fiction Contest.

All characters are from Aqua Teen Hunger Force on the Adult Swim network. I do not own them, just did the writing here. Paper towels, tissues, coffee filters, etc. are owned by their respective brands and I do not produce them.
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Flashes of bright lights, where there once was nothing.
An entire dark abyss, brought to life by beauty.
Warmth & chills left thrills ripping up my body.
Color...This was color.
Being born Colorblind, you never think about it.
It is just normal, it is your world, you accept it.
You have always been that way, you don't know anything else.
Others may tell you about color, or ask your favorite,
but you never really get it.
Your world has no color, and one cannot really explain color,
so you never really bother trying to understand it.
It's like a deaf person asking what it is like to hear,
you cannot really explain it to them, not accurately.
People cannot really explain a sense,
as a sense is what we use to explain.
This feels soft, this looks marvelous, this sounds great,
this smells lovely, this tastes wonderful!
That was pretty easy to do, everyone knows what you mean.
But have you ever tried to explain a sense?
Go ahead, try, I am sure that you cannot.
When I was young, I remember that I had asked.
No one really could explain it to me.
How do you tell someone what color is, 
when their world is coated in a Sepia filter?
It was impossible for me to understand,
but when I walked out of that machine,
I remember everything that I saw.

All those needless, puncturing into my skin.
It was the worst pain I had ever felt,
but once I stepped out of that machine,
I had never felt better in my life.
For once in my life, I wasn't in pain anymore.
I could breath, I could stand & I could see, without pain.
My eyes were adjusting, slowly, but surely.
And as I looked around the room, I expected not change at all,
but then the strangest thing had happened...
The American flag started flashing.
A spec of something came out of it, something I had never seen before.
I was afraid, I was confused, I was astonished!
This was Blue, I had never seen Blue before.
But it must have been, Bucky told me that this spot
on the American flag was colored Blue.
I would never think to question it, as this was it's name.
Whatever this was, it was called Blue.
My first color, it was amazing!
I didn't know what to expect next, I was shocked.
The stripes, those are next.
That must be Red, yes, Bucky told me that those were Red.
The stars are White. White stars.
The American flag, it is more beautiful with color.
I began looking around the room, examining.
Peggy's cheeks are Red, but not the same.
Lighter...Shades? Bucky told me about these shades.
He said that colors came in millions of different shades.
Pink. Her cheeks must be Pink.

Since then, I have discovered many more colors.
This new world flashes them around, much more than my time.
The war had brought darkness to our colors,
but now the colors are stronger than ever.
The wondrous shades come alive with ourselves.
Each of us has a color, a personality that is best defined by one.

I never really cared for Pink, but I like her sister, Red...To a point.
Sometimes it is hard to look at red,
as one of it's shades is the same as that of blood.
Blood is horrible...Blood signifies the end.
It reminds me of the past, of everything I have lost.
Red is the color of death, the color of goodbye.
Tony's suit is a shade he calls Hot Rod Red.
It's flashy, just like himself.
Just like Tony, the color begs for attention, and will do anything to get it.
Someone like Iron Man should not be so obvious,
but he doesn't worry about surprise attacks,
Tony wanted a color that screamed, look at me!
With Red & Gold, he received just that.

I remember last fourth of July, I was with Tony.
He brought me to this little spot, a park in NY.
There was a little pond & we sat on one side of it, in the grass.
" Why did you take me here, Tony?" I asked.
" We can watch the fireworks from here." Tony replied.
As the first shells went up, my eyes lit up like fireflies,
" Tony, the colors...They are beautiful."
" Ha. Never seen fireworks before, Spangles?"
" Not since I was able to see colors."
" What about colors?"
" Before the serum...I-I was born colorblind."
" Oh, Steve. I never knew, I am sorry."
" Don't be sorry. Thank you, this is wonderful!"
" You're welcome; Happy birthday."
" How did you know that it was my birthday?" I asked.
" S.H.I.E.L.D. database." Tony replied.
" Oh...Well, it is nice to have someone celebrate with me."
Tony grabbed my shoulder,
" No, Steve! All these people, they wouldn't be here,
had you not done what you did.
If you had landed that jet in NYC,
and if you hadn't fought Loki this year,
if you had made different choice on either of those incidents, 
these people, these women & children, would all be dead.
They are forever in your debt, whether they realize it or not.
So these fireworks they blow off, 
these colors they send flying into the night's sky,
these are for you, Steve. It's all for you."

I never forgot what Tony said to me.
I had never hated someone so much, 
but that man mean't the world to me.
He was an egoistic, arrogant, S.O.B.,
but he could be so sweet, sometimes.
And today I sit beside him, as he looks into my eyes.
It wasn't supposed to happen like this, but it did.
I was supposed to back him up, but I couldn't.
They told me that the serum may wear off, they just didn't know when.
As I fell to my knees, screaming & receiving a complete bodily reverse,
Tony tried to pull me to safety, but he was wounded.
A sharp blade stabbed through his suit, dropping him on the floor.
Everyone is fighting now, it's just Tony & I.
His brown eyes are staring into my own, blinking slowly.
The color is leaving now, flowing out, alongside the serum.
The dark abyss is closing in, leaving nothing but bland nothingness.
I look to Tony's wound, a red bleeds from his bodily torso.
" Please, don't leave me, Tony." I cry, laying my head onto his stomach,
" Don't leave me, you bastard!"
I cannot see the colors anymore, but I know that they are there.
I thought that these colors were magical,
but, perhaps, they were monsters in disguise.
My eyes may not see, but my mind can envision the last color I ever saw.
A color that will haunt me forever, one I will hate for eternity.
The one that took Tony from me, that took everything from me.
Red...The color of goodbye.
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             Part 2

             For what seemed like forever there was nothing but the darkness. It was nothing but utter blackness and silence. Only occasional moments where my eyes would open, but I still saw nothing. Would opening my eyes help me see any better? In truth it was the same. Have you had so much darkness around you that even with your eyes open you still couldn’t see? That was my feeling. It wasn’t my sight that helped me coop with my fear but more what I felt and heard. I felt like I was moving. Smooth and steady with only a few bumps. I could hear fast vroom’s going on around me. Like something around me was going very fast. Like a soft echoing sound of speed. But this was all I could gather. I could feel and here this when I was awake, but that was the problem. I would only wake up slightly then pass out again. But when I was awake this was what I heard. Hours could have passed by while I was out and I wouldn’t even know it. Later, something put me in that state again. I stop feeling like I was moving and I could not hear that sound of speed anymore. I felt a light hit my eye as the dark silhouettes came towards me and I once again blacked out. The final time I was in this in and out state was after that. I felt my feet being dragged against the floor, my armor scrapping the ground, and my arms being pulled. But after that I was in that repetitive state once again. This darkened state was in it of itself enough to drive me insane. It was nothing but blackness. Only cold blackness. As I finally began to wake up fully I could hear music. At first when I tried to open my eyes the room was to bright and it blinded me. As they adjusted I could see more into the room and where I was. It was strange to see it. It was a large room filled of gold and white. It was large and very fancy, like the room of someone in charge. Decorations crowded the walls around me; They were covered with treasures like Chinese masks, a fancy box of cigars covered by glass, swords, art that looked like it was trying to say something but really it just looked like a toddler was using too much super glue with whatever he could find, you name it. There was a large desk in front of me; it was styled brown with gold lines all around it. Strangely there was almost nothing on it, only a pen and a few papers. Behind the desk was huge chair; it was covered in black leather and gold highlights and behind that chair was this big glass window that took up the entire wall. I looked outside the window and saw what looked like big shipping containers, the ones you see on big cargo ships. I could see as far as the tip of a ship and all the people putting the cargo on the ship. The ship itself seemed larger than life, but I had never seen one in real life before so I couldn’t relate it to anything I had seen. A dock parked the ship but I had no idea where I was. I then started to look at what was my condition. My armor from the con was gone; I had only the leg armor on me, everything else on me was stripped off. The chest plate, shoulder pads, and arm plates were completely taken off. I was tied down to a large chair, almost king sized. It had a large backside for leaning, but it was too big for me to see behind me. I struggled to break free hoping to escape. I rocked back and forth in the chair doing whatever I could to break free. As it turned out it only made things worse for me, as the chair lost its balance and began to tip over hitting the floor. When I hit the floor it was like the panic button in my head was pushed. I was frantic. I screamed at the top of my lungs but it only translated to moans due to the gag in my mouth.  My mouth was covered by an apple tape to my face. It was so far into my jaw that I couldn’t bite down on it. I laid there completely insane. Like a crazy man I spazed out. I was so crazy about getting out of the chair that I didn’t even focus on how I could get out. It was a state of panic I had never been in. I was too frantic to calm down and collect my thoughts. But all my fear would begin to jump straight up after I heard that knocking. Dun Dun Dun! It was the knocking of a door, a knocking that froze me dead in my tracks from the moment. The knocking made my body jolt immediately still. I was stone like. I wanted to imagine that it was in my head, that I was so afraid that my mind was playing tricks on me. But then the next knocks came and shot down my hopes before I could even have them. Dun Dun Dun! Each one of those Duns felt like a punch to my stomach. Each knock felt like it was hitting me in the gut. But it wasn’t a painful feeling, but more of a burning feeling. It was a burning feeling in my gut. Again the knocks came. Dun Dun Dun! It then felt like each knock increased the room’s temperature because I was sweating so much. If I was to work out in the desert on the hottest day of summer… that would only be half the amount I was sweating here. I was like a fire hydrant in Harlem (shame you may not get that joke). Then to put my mind in more torment I heard a doorknob turning. I was more stone like than before when that happened. Whatever part of my body was twitching had come to a complete halt. The door swung open as I could hear the tapping of shoes on the floor, then the stepping of them on a carpet, but I couldn’t tell if it was one person or two. I then heard them stop… right behind my chair. Part of me wanted to see who or what this figure was above me but I was too still. I couldn’t move even if I tried to. I could feel this figure behind me was standing there watching over me with daggered eyes for what seemed like forever. The chair began to lift up as I was propped back up in the chair. Still stone faced, I kept looking forward at the large chair behind the desk. Not even glancing at the figure that lifted my chair back up. I still could not move to see this person, I just kept completely still. But I wouldn’t have to worry about seeing him, because he began to sit in the chair in front of me that I was looking at. I could finally make out who this person was, this person causing me all this torment and fear. He was a tall grey furred lion with black hair. He wore a white suit with red and black lines. On his hands were these red gloves that looked like they had a strange paint or liquid on them. But only two thing caught my attention the most, his tail, and his face. His tail was mangled up, it looked both burnt and cut up at the same time, and his face was strange as well. He covered it with this mask that had the top put very red and the bottom was a metal grey. The eye holes on his mask were shrouded in darkness so I could not see this man’s eyes. The mask looked similar to “El Diablo” from Army of Two. He stared at me for quite some time, and then fussed around with his papers. He didn’t say a word to me. We both just sat there completely still and quiet waiting for anything to happen. I started to calm down while we waited. He finished up the work on his desk the stacked the papers up neatly into his drawer. He then started to stare at me as I waited for him to speak, and so he did.

: I can’t think of a thing to do with you.
He said with the voice of Jim Cummings (*sigh* look him up).

My fear came shooting back up like a jolt of lightning after those words.
He said it with such a soothing and calm voice but what he said was the real fear. “I can’t think of a thing to do with you”, I couldn’t think of anything but the fear of what he was thinking. What would he do with me, what could he do? That was and still is my greatest fear, the “what if” or “what could go wrong”. It’s the not knowing what would happen and the knowing all the things that could go wrong. That feeling of he could do anything to me and me not knowing what he would do is the scariest thing I can think of. I’m a very planned person, so when the unexpected happens it is twice as bad. He sat there tapping his fingers on his desk and using his arm to prop up his chin, thinking of what he would do. As I sat there in fear for what he would do. He spoke again.

: AH HA, I’ve got it!
(Snapping his fingers)

He reached into his pocket and pulled out a quarter out in his hand. He then explained to me what he would do.

: Son, you know how flipping a coin works. So let me tell you this right now… you want heads.
(He said leaning towards me with what felt like a cocky smile)

I couldn’t express my fear he began to flip the coin into the air. Time seemed to slow down as the coin started to fall and my heart started to beat faster. Finally… he snatched it from the air and smacked the back of his other with the hand holding the coin. He waited a bit before seeing. He wanted to wait and build the tension of this coin. I stared at his hand focusing solely on what side it was, my heart racing as he began to tease me over it. Finally, he said.

: Show Me Tails!
(He exclaimed)

He quickly flung his top hand of as we both saw fate’s choice. Heads. Suddenly with that one sight, all my fear turned to a sigh of relief as I laid back into my chair praising Kari (Kari is the only person I pray to, and is my girlfriend. I’m not kidding when I say she’s been my good luck charm). As I was celebrating my victory, he was a bit upset.

: Ah Dang it! Oh well. I guess you won fair and square.
(He said like he was up to no good)

Unfortunately my victory was short lived as he continued.

: SCORN! Put him with the others will you please? I’ll be down there shortly.

Suddenly the chair was flung up in the air as I was then carried on what I assumed was someone back. I never heard, felt, or even assumed that someone was standing right behind me. It surprised me back into my state of fear I had just got out of. This Scorn person was right behind me this whole time back I didn’t know. I guess she came in with the other guy. I didn’t know who Scorn was, in fact at first I didn’t even think it was a person until I heard the grunting of carrying both the chair and me in it. One thing I did know was that Scorn was very strong, we moved pretty quickly for someone carrying a heavy chair and a person as we left the room. All I could see while being carried was the roof of the ship as we went from hallway with pipes to hallway with more pipes, not knowing what was ahead of me. Eventually we got to what the lion was taking about. I could hear the door open as Scorn carried me into the room. It looked like another fancy room. I still couldn’t see all of it though. I was put down finally and got a better view of the room. I was covered with velvet red and white everywhere. The carpet, the walls, everywhere I looked there was either red or white. As I saw more I noticed that there were other people here. Women in fact, were everywhere. But the thing was, they were all tied and bound up in their underwear, bras and panties galore. But even stranger, they all had masks. Every fox, lizard, bird, wolf, you name it, was wearing a mask similar but not the exact same as the man I saw earlier. These masks were red at the top and had the grey bottom but didn’t have the fearsome teeth his had. The masks here looked a lot smoother and less rugged. All I saw was all these large breasted girls in their underwear struggling to get out. They spoke like me, in that they were gagged so all you could get was mumbling and moaning. I think the masks were built with some kind of gag in it. All they did was moan in their erotic underwear as there breasts perked out in a rather sexy way. After looking at my surroundings I finally looked at Scorn to see who this person really was. It turned out Scorn was a large blue lizard looking woman. She wore a grey and red jacket dark black pants and even darker boots. I noticed she had knife pockets on her pant as well, three on each side if I remember. Aside from what she was wearing she was rather… well… big. She had big boots, a big breasts, and even bigger butt. She also had a strange red paw mark on her right breast. Even her hair was large, and she had Hair! She was a blue lizard lady but had hair, I didn’t understand. She had long big black hair that resembled that other guy’s hair, but bigger. Logic would have to wait, and strangely to add to even more weird features on her she had an eye patch. My eye patch in fact, the one I used for my costume. I was a surprised but considering all the things that I had gone through already I wasn’t to stressed out over it, plus it was only an eye patch. I saw her playing around with some of the girls breasts. I’m sure if Ruby was here she and Scorn would get along just fine. Then again I didn’t know any of these women cause of the masks so I wouldn’t be surprised if she really was here. I could see her lifting each breast up and down, squeezing and pulling, tugging on then to the tipping point. I was aroused but I couldn’t take this much longer. The woman she was groping moaned in ecstasy and discomfort as she could feel Scorn’s hands gripping her large luxurious breasts. I kicked up and down trying to break free or at least get Scorn’s attention off that woman. Ask and you shall receive it turned out, as Scorn came to me looking a bit annoyed. She walked towards me as I sat in the chair trying to look strong. Then she started to undress herself in a weird twist. She took of her boots, jacket, shirt, all the way down till she was down to her underwear. She came walking to me as I began to sweat with each step she took. She finally made her way to my chair, and then sat on my lap wrapping her arms around me, pressing her chest against my face. She smiled at me as she could tell I was nervous. She kept pressing her breasts into my face as she widened her smile. She finally spoke.

Scorn: Oh little one, your so cute trying to escape. But here’s a little tip…

She pulled out a knife out of nowhere and sliced the apple in my mouth in half. It allowed me to speak but seeing how the knife was that close to me face I couldn’t speak out of fear. She then took one of the sliced apples pieces and took a bite out of it. Then after she was done she spoke again.

Scorn: You should just stay still and enjoy what you see. Keep struggling and I’ll put you over there with Ms. Fox over there.

I spoke finally.

Sandy (Me): What is all this, why do you have these women here, why am I here? And where is my friend!!??
(I snapped)

Scorn: You might not be here for much longer so why not? Kid, we’re in the lovely business of selling some of the most wonderful women in the world tied up and gagged. We take the best-looking gals in America and auction them off to the highest bidder. I caught you sneaking around at one of our best collecting spots and brought you here to keep you from spreading the word to the wrong people. As for your friend I have no idea where she could be. We’ve already sent some of the cargo out already so she could be gone by now, but I don’t know. I’m not the one in charge of knowing who we take.

Sandy (Me): That man back up there, the one in the white suit. Who was he?

Scorn: That’s the boss. You can refer to him as El Nightman if you want. We all do.

Sandy (Me): What do y…
(She cut me off)

Scorn: Look kid that’s enough, okay. I don’t like talking to you and if you say one more word I’ll have no choice but to put you in the punishment corner with foxy over there.

She turned my head facing the corner. There I saw the figure of a fox woman in the corner. She had ropes all over her and most of them were tied in a way to peak her breasts out. She also had what looked like one of those little back massage machines tied to her leg. Could it be who I was thinking about? Could it be Scarlet? I had to find out and I would have to do something I wasn’t too happy to do. I ignored Scorn’s warning and continued to struggle. A more blunt way t put it is I head butted her head to the ground. It was so hard in fact that her hear came off, turns out it was a wig. She looked at me not too amused. She stood up and I could see the anger in her eyes… or eye. I could see her face go from blue to red in a millisecond and I could hear steam coming from her too. She threw me to all the way across the room and broke the chair I was in, freeing me from my trap. The throw was so powerful I couldn’t get up after it happened. Suddenly I heard a voice behind me. I saw that I was next to the fox Scorn was talking about but seeing this woman was not reassuring. Unlike Scarlet she had black hair, so it wasn’t her. But somehow she was able to whisper the gag mask and tell me to do something.

: Piiisssssss, hey, chico, pass me that phone on the table.
(The woman said with what sounded like a Spanish accent)

I saw that there was a table that was right next to Scorn and on it was a phone. It seemed like the only thing that could get me out of here was that phone. Scorn was right next to it mouthing off at me after that. There was no way I could get to it with Scorn there, so I had to go deeper in my grave.

Sandy (Me): Awww, I’m sorry. Did I smack your wig off… or are you just having a bad hair day.

She got even madder as she went straight at me. She grabbed me and lifted me up to the sealing. She threw me to the mirror on the table with all her force. I was able to grab the phone no problem after that. Then I used my acting skills to make it seem like I was too scared to fight as I moved back to the fox. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry” over an over again crawling on the floor looking weak and helpless to the fox lady. Scorn looked at me pleased as punch as she boasted about her dominance over me. I got to her and handed her the phone as she gave me my next instructions while Scorn was distracted from boasting about herself.

: When Hannibal gets here I need you to stall him for as long as you can.
(As she grabbed the phone with her still tied together hands)

Scorn figured I caused too much trouble so she decided to knock me out with a morphine rag. Once again I was in the darkness of my mind. Except this time for whatever reason I wasn’t afraid. I was in the darkness waiting for what was to come next, willing to be ready. If Scarlet was here I would make sure she got out, even if I didn’t. For the last time I woke up from the darkness of my mind and pondered what was next to come. I was in a small room comprised of a white green color. I could see the paint on the wall was peeling off and a door in front of me, I was completely alone. I waited there knowing someone was watching me. All they wanted to do was make me wait; they wanted to see me squirm for my life and make me break. But at this time I didn’t care anymore. I had already been through enough fear so the last thing I would do here is give them the satisfaction. So I waited there, just waiting for them. Finally the two stepped in, Scorn and the man who I believed was named Hannibal.

Hannibal: I can’t leave you alone with Scorn for two seconds without you head butting Scorn in the face. Man you are one annoying kid. Whatever though, you’ll be out of my hair soon enough.

I looked at him with unimpressed eyes to show him I was too tired to be afraid him or anyone else here anymore. I could tell he saw it. So for our last moment together he thought it would be fitting to end this all with a game, or in this case riddle. He pulled a gun from his pocket and pointed it to my head as he told me my riddle.

Hannibal: All right kid lets have some fun! And what better way to have fun than with a little… riddle. Oh… and if I were you… I’d get it right…

He said.

Hannibal: If you aim to give us a shot! (he emphasized) We’ll riddle you… what are we?

I knew the only way to make sure that fox lady had enough time was to do what seemed necessary. I made jokes… and I made them feeling like they would be my last… but I did it hoping Scarlet would be safe for it.

Sandy (Me): *deep sigh* that is a stopper. Say it again.

He replied
Hannibal: If you aim to give us a shot we’ll riddle you, what are we?
(Still pointing the gun at me)

Scorn: I’ll give you a hint, its bu…

I stopped her
Sandy: Shhhhshshshshsshsh. No hints. Is it…
buuuuuuuu?

Hannibal was not impressed and took a step back to think.
Hannibal: You think the answer to my riddle… is buuuu?
(He said looking puzzeled)

Sandy (Me): I heard Scorn say it.

Hannibal: Don’t worry about what she say, worry about…

I cut him off.
Sandy (Me): Is it… Helicopter?

Hannibal: All right wha… what did I say that would make you say helicopter?
(he then lowered the gun as he was thinking)

Sandy (Me): The way you said if you aim is… if your aim is to… I have no idea dude. Man I’m just… I’m just shooting in the dark.

Hannibal: Listen, if you aim…

Scorn: With a gun.
(Scorn added)

Hannibal: To give us a shot…

Scorn: *pretending to be shot while make gun noises*

Hannibal: We’ll riddle you.

Scorn: With little pieces of metal that are called…

Hannibal: That are called… What’s gonna come outta the gun?

I responded immediately
Sandy (Me): Injustice!!! The tools of cowards and criminals!!!

Hannibal: Are… are you serious right now because I got like ten more of these that are Way harder than this… this is just to say like “I’m riddling you” kinda…

Sandy (Me): I got it… it’s you! You’re riddling me.

Hannibal: In this context the word “riddle” isn’t referring to a joke or a brainteaser.

I looked puzzled.

Scorn: Sometimes words can have different meanings like a bat could mean an animal or a baseball bat.

Sandy (Me): Am I a bat?

Scorn: *sigh* You’re not a bat.

Sandy (Me): Is the answer… a small boys Sunday trousers?

Hannibal: No.
(Shaking his head in anger and sadness)

Sandy (Me): Is it… invisalign braces?

Hannibal: No
(Becoming even sadder)

Sandy (Me): Is it… a bag of steal cut oats?

Hannibal began to lose hope in humanity due to my answers so he thought for a second then responded.

Hannibal: Multiple choice.

Scorn: Great, great idea.

Hannibal: What comes out of a gun? A! Bullets…

Scorn: That sounds good to me.

Sandy (Me): What are B and C?
Hannibal: There is no B or C.

Sandy (Me): No B or C… IT’S A TRAP! Help, somebody help!

Finally he snapped.

Hannibal: IT’S BULLETS! BULLETS!

Scorn: Riddled with bullets! It’s a common expression!

I looked tilting my head back and forth to show I was confused and squinting.

Sandy (Me) Wait, how could a bullet riddle me? It doesn’t have a mouth.

Hannibal: OH MY GOD! I told you the riddle, the answer was bullet, you were supposed to say bullet, then I was going to shoot you… like this!

Before he could pull the trigger the door slammed open as dozens of cops tackled those two to the ground and began to free me.

Sandy (Me): You know, if you’re gonna tell riddles, you shouldn’t give away the answer. Totally ruins the fun.

Hannibal looked at me in anger as I could see his eyes burning with rage as he screamed to get back up, but the cops handcuffed in to the ground before he could continue.

The fox lady I saw before came to me. This time fully clothed.

: Are you okay chico?

Sandy (Me): Yeah I’m fine. I’m pretty sure it was helicopter; this guy just didn’t want to admit I got it so fast. I’m Sandino by the way (extends hand to shake).

: Inspector Carmelita Fox, with Interpol (shakes hand). I’ve been on his trail for a while till his goons caught me. I’ll tell ya right now my friend; we couldn’t have got this guy if it wasn’t for you help. Interpol thanks you for your service… Sandino.

Sandy (Me): Glad to help, uh can I ask something Ms. Fox?

Carmelita: Of course.

Sandy (Me): I had a friend I was looking for when they took me and I think they took her too. Is it at all possible you could help me find her?

Carmelita: Sure, that is if you would be willing to help us.

Sandy (Me): Of course! Whatever you want

Me, Carmelita, and the rest of the cops searched every container on the ship. Each one we found more girls in ropes and masks, but none of them had Scarlet in there. We opened the last crate as I hope this would have Scarlet. We opened it and saw a large breasted fox with red hair wearing one of the masks. I jumped to her to take the mask gag off. “Scarlet” I exclaimed. But this was not Scarlet. I stood there in shock believing she was gone as the cops untied the other fox. I couldn’t believe it, I lost her. Guilt ran through my mind as blood rushed to my head. It was my fault, she was gone because of me. If I never asked her to grab that stupid helmet she would still be here. My back hit the wall as I started to lean back and sit. Putting my hands to my face, taking in the shame. Carmelita came and sat beside me tying to comfort me, but it was pointless. I lost a friend in the worst way. I may never see her again and I’m the one who caused it. She could be going through who knows what. She must be scared out of her mind. Or she could be going through worse, I didn’t know. All I knew was that I was the one who caused it. I shouldn’t have been the one saved.
The 2nd part to my story for the contest, and boy was this one crazy. Lot's of stuff happening in this one so yeah. Hope you like it. :)
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Rain is pouring down on the buildings of the M*A*S*H* 4077. Most of its denizens are vast asleep after another long, boring day without casualties and everything is quiet. Wait, not everything is quiet. A dark figure emerges from the shadows near the jeeps, rain cascading down his oilskin as he slowly makes his way towards a specific olive-green tent. Its careful sidling gait gets interrupted when Corporal Klinger ambles past, clutching a rifle in both hands and a handbag swinging from his left wrist. The skulking figure waits impatiently as Klinger totters away on high heels, shawl flapping wetly in the wind. When the squelching sound of Klinger's shoes in the mud dies away, the figure advances toward his intended destination.
A soft light shines from within the tent, despite the late hour. The figure sneaks up to the door and puts his ear to the wooden surface, trying to hear what's going on inside. A sly grin spreads over his face when he hears a woman humming to herself, she is blissfully unaware of what's going to happen next.

He counts slowly to three for maximum dramatic effect, then yanks the door open at the same time lightning snakes through the sky. The result is magnificent. Major Margaret Houlihan shrieks when her door suddenly flies open and a dark, dripping creature stands in the doorway, illuminated by lightning and accompanied by rolling thunder.
"Guard! Klinger!" She screams hysterically.
"No! Margaret! Wait!" The creature squeaks, hastily closing the door behind him and taking off the cowl that protected his face from the rain.
"Frank?" Margaret asks incredulously, her voice still slightly trembling from fright.
"Margaret darling, I wanted to surprise you." Major Frank Burns steps forward in the light of the single bulb hanging from the ceiling. He giggles nervously under Margaret's stunned gaze. "So... uhm... surprise!" He finishes lamely.
"You... I... surprise me?" Margaret stutters, her brain finally kicking into gear.
"It's just that it was raining and storming so hard, and well, I couldn't stop thinking about you and then one thing led to another..."
"Oh Frank, how dear of you." Margaret smiles and reaches out for Frank's dripping form when, for the second time that night, the door slams open and a gust of wind and rain comes in, followed by a soaked Klinger who has his weapon at the ready.
"I heard you yelling, Major! What's going on? Do you need help?" He points his gun at Frank.

Margaret laughs sheepishly and waves Klinger away,
"There's nothing going on Corporal. I just got startled by the thunder, is all."
"That's all eh?" Klinger eyes Frank warily, "Then what's he doing here?" Then his face brightens and he grins slyly at the couple.
"I get it, I get it." he says, "You two were meeting up secretly for a romantic randai foot, weren't you?"
"Absolutely not!" Margaret  replies brusquely, but Frank's brow furrows.
"A randy what?"
"He means a 'rendez vous' Frank," Margaret snaps, "And we were not. Major Burns simply rushed to my aid when he heard my scream."
"Hm, is that so? Rushing, you say? Very well then, I'll continue my round." He salutes both Majors and steps back outside through the door.
"Tell me though, Major," Klinger asks, before closing the door, "How did you rush so fast? Your tent is over on the other end of the compound and I was just around the corner. I never did see you come past me."
Frank's face turns scarlet with rage.
"That's none of your beeswax, mister!" He sneers, "And get out of that dress! You're a disgrace!"
"Out of my dress? You perv!" Klinger replies with disdain, slinging his shawl back over his shoulder.
"What did you call me?"
"Sorry sir. You perv, sir!" Klinger salutes again and marches off, hips swaying and head held high.

"I... he... did you hear that Margaret?" Frank demands, stuttering in anger.
"I heard, but just let it go dear. He's gone and we're together now, that's all that matters." Margaret coos, closing her mistreated door. "Take off your oilskin Frank, you're dripping on my floor."
"Oh!" Frank giggles, "Sorry." He unbuttons the oilskin and takes it off, hanging it over a chair before pulling Margaret close in a embrace.
"Oh Margaret, I missed you so!"
"But Frank, we saw it each other this afternoon in the mess tent!"
"I know darling, but seeing isn't the same as holding! Oh, to hold your soft, warm body like this. To smell your silky smooth hair. It smells like strawberries, you know."
"Oh Frank!"
"Oh Margaret!" He passionately starts kissing Margaret's face all over, making little smooching noises as he proceeds. When a thought strikes him he stops, a puzzled look on his face.
"Why were you so startled anyway?" He asks, peering down on Margaret, "It's so very not you to be frightened so easily."
"Haven't you heard?" Margaret's eyes widen, "They say there's a creature running amok on the compound. Several of my nurses woke up with this, this thing hovering near their beds as they sleep. The locals say it's a Dokkaebi, a monster. I've been hearing these tales all day now and I can't get it out of my head, so when you came bursting in..."
"Oh Margaret, you're so silly. Monsters aren't real!" Frank laughs, rubbing Margaret's back comfortingly.
"I know Frank, but I can't help but wonder if there isn't some truth in it all. After all, no less than six nurses came to complain!"
"My snugglebunny, you have nothing to worry about. I shall protect-"
It will never be known what Frank would protect, because at that moment the entire tent came crashing down on them. Margaret's screams are drowned out by Frank's squeals and shrieks as they both fight their way from under the canvas. Several people come rushing towards the noise and they all see a dark and grotesque shadow speed away, chuckling under its breath.
~~
"I'm telling you Trap, it's a monster!" Captain Benjamin Franklin 'Hawkeye' Pierce straightens his hat and casts an approving last glance in the small mirror.
"And I shall find it." He raises his fingers dramatically.
"Find it, hunt it down and then bring it back to camp, where I shall be regarded as a hero by all the lovely nurses!" He booms.
"There are no such things as monsters. And you know it." Captain John 'Trapper' McIntyre opens one eye to look at his colleague and partner-in-crime who is completely dressed in what Hawkeye affectionally calls 'hunting-garb'. It consists of a drab-green army helmet, his red robe with a drab-green shirt donned underneath, a cane, knee high shorts and his army boots.
Hawkeye glares at Trapper, "What I know," he replies, dusting an invisible speck from his robe, "is that I'm bored out of my mind and that I can use the distraction before I go completely out of said mind!"
Trapper yawn and gets up from the cot he had been lying on, "Y'know, when this started I thought it was you dressing up like a monster to scare those poor defenseless nurses," he says conversationally as he grabs a pitcher filled with gin, "but now I'm really curious to find out who this guy is."
The gin is poured into a wine bottle, a standard preparation for any date they might have that evening.
Twirling his cane, Hawkeye turns around, "Hasn't it occurred to you that it might actually be a monster, Trap? We are in Korea! Asia is crawling with monsters!"
The corners of his mouth twitch, "And some of them might not even be humans!" he adds.
A little bottle of red food-colouring is being held up to the light, scrutinized by Trapper before he puts a few drops in the gin-filled winebottle.
"There is no such thing as monsters." Trapper repeats, "Hotlips's tent was sabotaged, not blown over by monster-voodoo. I'm telling you, there's something fishy about all this."
"Fish or not, I'm off for the hunt!" Stepping outside with the cane swung on his shoulder, he cups his free hand around his mouth and hollers, "Tally ho!" before striding away.
"And I'm off for my date." Trapper mumbles to no one in particular, tucking the bottle with gin under his arm and leaving The Swamp with a flourish in his step.

He's about halfway across the compound when he hears women screaming near the post-op. Not before long the source of the screaming come running towards him, two nurses flee away from the building. Their faces are a mask of terror as they clutch onto Trapper."Ladies, ladies. One at a time, please!" Trapper quips, putting his arms around the two nurses.
"Stop it, McIntyre." Nurse Gable slaps him on the arm, "We were just attacked by the Dokkaebi monster!"
"Oh no, not you too." Trapper sighs, letting the girls go, "Monsters do not exist. And if they do, just redirect them to Hawk. He's out hunting them today."
"Be serious!" Gable admonishes him, "We were in post-op, sorting out the supplies for the next few days, when all of a sudden this huge bear-like creature jumps out at us! It was growling and roaring. Gave me a good fright too!" The nurse shudders as she recalls the monster.
"Very well. Show me this horrible monster of yours, sweetheart. I'll protect you."

Cautiously they proceed the post-op building. It's mostly empty, due to the lack of wounded coming in these last few weeks, with the exception of two or three patients that need longer to recuperate. What the building is also clearly devoid of, is a monster.
"Sorry girls, no monsters." Trapper ducks and glances underneath one the bunks, just to be sure.
"That'll be one kiss in the supply room tonight as payment, each. I'll let you two decide which one of you goes first. Be sure to schedule half an hour for each kiss." Ignoring the scoffs, he deftly makes his way towards the exit.
"But... this can't be!" Nurse Kelly calls out, frowning at the supplies and the list in her hand.
"What's wrong?"
"I'm missing two units of penicillin."
Trapper stops, "You're missing penicillin? Are you sure?" he asks, curious.
"Can't be," Gable interjects, "You must've counted it wrong!"
"I didn't count it wrong! I'm positive, I always double check and even wrote it down before the monster came in. Look, I wrote it down there. There are two units missing."
Trapper casts a doubtful, longing gaze on his bottle of gin. Then he sighs and gives up.
"It seems I've got a date to cancel." he grumbles, "and a hunter to find."
~~
"If I'm going to be eaten alive by a monster then I'll hate you forever." A male voice hisses in the dark supply room.
"You won't hate me. You're too foul to eat." Another man hisses back.
"You don't know that, for all you know I'm haute cuisine in monster world."
"Have you ever seen, or smelled, yourself? You are absolutely not a fine dish."
"That's just mean."
"I'm only saying mean things because I love you, Hawke."
"I'm sorry Trapper, you'll have to go without my manly affection. I'm reserved for women only."
The two men are lurking behind a stack of blankets, both dressed in the hunting garb this time. The only difference between them is the colour of the robes, Hawkeye wearing his red robe and Trapper a yellow one.

"I don't know Trapper, I usually only meet women here. Not monsters. Are you sure about this?" Hawkeye whispers.
"I'm positive. We got a new batch of penicillin today, the monster will be here. Trust me."
The silence outside is suddenly pierced by a bloodcurdling scream, followed by footsteps hurrying towards the general location of the scream.
"That'll be our monster." Trapper whispers.
They wait. They wait a bit more.
"I don't think-" Hawkeye starts, but then the door opens for a fraction before quickly closing again. Very light footsteps can be heard hurrying across the wooden floor.
Trapper puts his fingers across his lips and motions for Hawkeye to go and stand near the door, effectively blocking the only exit.
Then he turns on the light with a triumphant "Aha!", bathing the room in the blinding yellow light of the bulb.
Two small children, both no older than five or six years, stand frozen in the middle of the supply room. When they see Trapper walking towards them they turn around and run away, but find their exit obstructed by Hawkeye.
One of the children screams when she sees Hawkeye and sinks down on her knees, covering her eyes with her hands.
"What... what is she doing?" Hawkeye asks bewildered, grabbing the other child by the shoulders and holding on to the wriggling and struggling little boy.
"Beats me," Trapper says, crouching down next to the girl, "Hey, are you okay? We won't harm you."
The little girl shakes her head and cries "Dokkaebi" while pointing at Hawkeye.
"I think she thinks you're the monster, Hawk." Trapper says, barely keeping the laughter out of his voice. The girl doesn't resist when Trapper picks her up and carries her outside. They take the children to Colonel Henry Blake's office.

When they arrive they find Henry, dressed in a robe and his personal fishing hat, in a conversation with what seems to be a genuine monster. It's at least 6,5 feet tall, covered in stubbly black hair and it smells like a bog. But upon closer inspection it turns out to be a very tall man covered in some sort of camouflage net.
When the man sees the children he abruptly stands up and spreads his arms. Trapper puts the girl down and both children run towards the safety of the 'monster's' arms.
Henry nods at the two surgeons, "Hawkeye, Trapper. Meet Mister Johnson. Mister Johnson is our monster. It seems that the 'monster' is just an act to distract us while his two helpers help themselves to our supplies. Klinger caught him and brought him in."
"Yeah Henry, we know." Hawkeye replies, extending his hand to the monster-man. "Hawkeye Pierce, surgeon and part-time monster hunter."
"Johnson, volunteer and part-time monster. How do you do?" The man introduces himself with a wry smile.
"Trapper, John. You're an American, aren't you? How did you end up dressing more fashionable than our Klinger here?" Trapper sits down in one of Henry's chairs.
"I volunteered to help the sisters out in the next village. But a lot of those kids are sick and need medicine. I figured you guys could easily miss a few units, so I had the kids help me out with this little play. I guess it would've been better to just ask, but I couldn't risk it." Johnson shrugs, a mischievous glint in his eyes.
"You distracted us so the kids could go ahead and steal our supplies." Hawkeye says, laughing, "That's genius!"
"Genius? Pierce, he stole supplies!" Henry objects.
"Never much!" Johson hastily says, "Just one or two at a time."
"Even so..." Henry's voice trails off.
"Oh, come off it Henry." Hawkeye helps himself to some of Henry's liquor, "We wouldn't have missed the supplies if Kelly hadn't written it down."

"Let's say we come with you to the village tomorrow." Trapper suggests, getting up, "We can have a look at the kids, see what we can do. That way the kids will get better and we will be monster-free again."
"That sounds like a fair deal, what do you say Johnson? We won't press charges and you get what you want." Henry looks at Johnson, who nods his consent with a satisfied grin.
"Very well, then it's now time to get some shut eye." Henry gets up and shuffles out of his office.
Johnson takes the children along and is just about to leave, when Trapper calls him back.
"Hey Johnson. Can I ask you for a favor?"
~~
Another rainy night, another romantic evening in Major Houlihan's tent.
"Oh Frank, this is so lovely. I wish this war would last forever so we could be together until the end of days."
Frank nods, gazing in Margaret's eyes. "I know, I'm very romantic aren't I? I'm just glad this whole 'monster'business is over and done with."
"Yes, you were so brave that night, Frank. So heroic!"
"It's like I've always said, Margaret. There is no such thing as a monster."
Their conversation is interrupted with a brief knock on the door.
"Who is it?" Margaret calls out, annoyed. No answer, except for another knock on the door.
"I said, 'Who is it?'" Margaret sneers, moving towards the door. There's no answer again.
She yanks the door open and immediately starts screaming. Because there, in front of her door, stands the monster. It's huge, it smells and it's hideous. Even worse, it slowly extends its arm towards Margaret in an attempt to grab her.
"Frank! Help!" She cries out, backing away from the creature.
But Frank is already hiding underneath her bunk, "No! Get it away from me! Don't eat me! Eat Margaret, she has more fat on her bones!" he wails.
Then they become aware of laughter, coming from outside.
The monster takes off his mask, revealing the grinning face of Trapper. The laughter is coming from Hawkeye, who is outside and doubled over from laughing.
"Remember Frank," Trapper says, winking at the Major underneath the bunk, "there are no such things as monsters."
A short MASH fic for singingflames.deviantart.com/j… :)

The 4077th is being harassed by a monster.
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What defines a monster?

There are real monsters inhabiting the world, of course; the land, the waters, even high above the clouds. Pocket Monsters. Not many people know that that’s what the word ‘Pokémon’ means. The term was coined a few hundred years ago, with the invention of the technology that allowed the so-called ‘magical creatures’ we share our world with to literally be carried around in your pocket. I don’t know why they call them monsters, though. Pokémon aren’t scary. All right, some of them can be scary – show me someone who didn’t shriek out loud when they first saw a Cofagrigus or a Hydreigon, and I’ll show you someone who’s a damn sight braver than I am – but even those ones aren’t always as bad as they seem. I know that, because I have one: my Absol, Hotah. People say that Absol bring disaster and death, and yet Hotah is my best friend. Sure, he’s stubborn, but he’s loyal, and he’s never let me down. And, of course, I haven’t died yet.

I came close a while ago, but that’s a story for later.

Of course, there are the fictional monsters too, the imagined creatures of horror movies and video games; the creatures that can haunt your nightmares for days afterwards. Trust me, I know this. I once watched a horror movie with Hugh, one night when I slept over at his house – one of those cheesy werewolf flicks, I think. How Hugh managed to get hold of what was clearly an R-rated movie in the first place, I’ll never know, but what I do know is that that were-thing took up residence in my head and refused to leave. For a month, I could hardly sleep for fear of the beast looming over me in the night and ripping me to shreds.

My dad went ballistic at Hugh when he found out exactly why his fourteen-year-old daughter was suffering from perpetual fear-induced insomnia, but the funny thing is, the were-whatever in the movie probably wasn’t as scary as my mind made it out to be. My imagination made it seem more frightening than it really was. It’s all about perspective, I think. In the same way that Absol, to those who have been raised on the rumours and hearsay, can appear as harbingers of doom, something that actually is frightening can become even more so through the machinations of our minds.

The thing is though, the creature that stalked my nightmares wasn’t real. There are actually real monsters out there in the world, more frightening than the most terrifying fictional creation. I know, because I’ve seen them: one a traditional fairy-tale creature, the other a being that I never believed could even exist. I was young, naïve; how could I have known beforehand that the worst monsters are the ones that don’t look like monsters? The ones hidden away so no one can see them?

It happened while I was travelling through Unova. We were so carefree at first, Hotah and Cleo and me, making friends with each other before having our first battle together: Cleo and me against Hugh and his Tepig. I wandered all over the region, winning battles by the number, even winning Gym badges. Imagine, little me defeating Gym Leaders! I was so happy then, right up until I defeated Drayden, that terrifying day that Opelucid City became encased in ice. Hotah tried to warn me that something bad was going to happen. It should have been a sign of things to come.

The thing is, though, is that it really started in Lacunosa Town. That was probably when I began to feel uneasy.

When I travelled to Lacunosa Town, I heard a story, a tale from many years ago. It told of a meteorite that crashed near the town, a meteorite that released a creature of ice: a terrifying monster that would devour any foolish enough to stray outside the confines of the town after dark. A tale from legend, passed down from generation to generation. If I had heard it any other time, I might have passed it off as mere hokum, a story to frighten children. Who could have guessed that it was actually true? That the ice monster did exist?

I know this, because I met it.

Kyurem. I saw him, there in the place where he was said to roam. The monster, in all his glory. Except he wasn’t. Because when I saw him for the first time, he wasn’t rampaging, or hunting, or doing anything a stereotypical monster is wont to do. No: he was alone, brooding, locked away in a cage. I knew that he was the creature spoken of in the Lacunosa Town legend, but he didn’t look like the devourer of those who strayed after dark. He didn’t look scary. He just looked sad.

He wasn’t the monster. The man who imprisoned him was.

I remember. Tracking down Team Plasma, finally cornering their leader in a secluded cave, deep in the snowy wastes north of the town, Hotah by my side. Standing before the dragon of legend, the remnant of the creators of the Unova region. Facing the man who imprisoned and tortured him. Realising belatedly that I was out of my depth. Suddenly being filled with panic when the man ordered the dragon to attack.

It was so simple. ‘Kyurem, Glaciate.’ Two words, forming an order that, rather appropriately, chilled me to the core. This man, ordering a comparatively innocent Pokémon to freeze a fourteen-year-old girl where she stood. Ordering my fate worse than death.

‘Kyurem! Glaciate!’

‘No. No!’

Terror. How can it be accurately described? Not that abstract feeling that’s bandied around so often, but a very real mixture of emotions: fear, helplessness, despair, horror. And yet, in the midst of it all, there still remained a need to protect my Pokémon.

‘Hotah. Run! Please, run!’

Had Hotah sensed this coming? Had he realised? Maybe so, but he didn’t run. He refused to leave me; he stood by my side as our prison of ice began to form around us. I remember crouching down on the freezing ground and throwing my arms around my friend’s neck. I think I closed my eyes, unwilling to accept our fate, but too afraid to stare it in the face.

Until I heard the rush of a large body in flight, and a full-blooded yell from behind and above me.

‘Reshiram, Fusion Flare!’

When I opened my eyes, looked up, it was as though the sun had just risen, the light burned me so. Not just light, but heat; a fierce fire was washing over Hotah and me, effortlessly reducing the pillars of ice that had been rising up around us, the ice that even Drayden’s Haxorus had failed to smash, to mere puddles. And there, in the midst of it all, was a young man, a few years older than me, sitting astride the legendary Pokémon of light and truth as though he had been there all his life. Giving the order that saved me.

And the other man knew him. Ghetsis, the leader of Team Plasma, recognised my saviour, and he was pleased. Pleased because he had expected the young man to show up, so he could use the DNA Splicers stolen from Drayden to fuse Kyurem and Reshiram into one. And he did.

The horror I felt as I watched the process take place can’t be put into words, so I can’t even imagine what it must have been like for the young man called N to witness his friend and partner reduced to his dormant state and absorbed into Kyurem’s body, merging to create the abomination that faced us. A grotesque fusion of the two Pokémon, unnervingly streamlined and yet unfinished; it terrified me. But even then, I couldn’t think of the creature as a monster. This wasn’t Kyurem’s fault, was it? It was all Ghetsis.

What could drive a man to do something so in violation of nature? How could he stand there and watch N’s distress as Reshiram fought vainly to escape the DNA Splicers’ grasp, his horror as he listened to the dragon calling to him for help from within the other Pokémon’s consciousness? Because N could hear Reshiram’s voice, he said, begging him to defeat the hybrid Pokémon. How could anyone be so cruel as to put someone through that pain? It was almost as though Ghetsis had no discernible human feelings whatsoever. I’d never believed that that was possible; I always thought that people were generally, well, human. But this man, clearly, wasn’t, and it scared me more than anything that day. Even the thought of possible death and the fact that I was the only one there who could fight back wasn’t enough to override the unease and sheer disbelief I felt at this man’s insanity.

But I had to fight. N couldn’t fight Kyurem and rescue his friend himself, but I could; I had to push aside my fears and face this monster head-on. And I was going to start with saving Reshiram and Kyurem.

The battle was exhilarating, if mercifully quick. Kyurem must not have got used to his new abilities yet, because my Crustle and Azumarill were able to exhaust him between them – Zuzu incapacitating the ice dragon with Bulldoze attacks, and Malach using a combination of Shell Smash and his newly learned Rock Wrecker to defeat him and ultimately release the two dragons.

Of course, Ghetsis was less than pleased with this turn of events. His rant at me might have been comical were I not so disturbed, and he not so willing to hurt me. Still, I had to fight him, because who else could have? I had no way of knowing if Hugh would show up in time to help me, or if he even knew where I had gone; it was all down to my team.

The battle that ensued was the most tense of my career, but in the end it was strategy that won it. Images from the fight still remain with me, as reminders of how proud I was and am of my friends. Malach setting up a Stealth Rock early on, chipping away at every Pokémon the Team Plasma boss threw at us. Cleo, my Serperior, throwing Seismitoad aside with a Leaf Blade. Sigilyph inexplicably seeming to recognise N, calling out to him in joy, before easily defeating Toxicroak with his Psychic. Zuzu fighting Drapion, battling back from a worrying moment where he was encircled by the Poison-type’s great claws. Lucario, finally evolving at the crucial moment, taking down Eelektross with a barrage of Close Combat and Copycat. How proud I was of them all as we smashed Ghetsis’s resistance aside, together, like the greatest synchronised team in the universe. And finally, when it seemed that hope was lost – Ghetsis’s last Pokémon, Hydreigon, defeating almost all of my team – it was Hotah who shone through, as I knew he would. With all the grace befitting his species, he fought off the Dragon-type with fast, accurate strikes, eventually ending the fight by learning Megahorn and sending Hydreigon crashing to the ground.

Ghetsis lost it. Completely, utterly, out-of-his-mind lost it. OK, so he hadn’t exactly shown sign of being mentally stable to begin with, but at least he seemed fairly eloquent with his outbursts. Now, though... he was barely coherent with rage, ranting about his perfection and superiority, totally bewildered as to a random teenager had defeated him for a second time.

A second time? I had wondered for a moment then. It was funny, though, because the Trainer who had defeated Ghetsis two years before... I had heard her name throughout Unova. Celebrated in the Musical Theatre, remembered by Drayden as a Trainer who promised a bright future. If one battle with her could haunt a man such as Ghetsis so profoundly, send him into such a pit of madness, there must have been something special about her. One more defeat – one more upset to his grand plans ¬– must have been enough to send him over the edge.

And over the edge he went. He had already heaped scorn on N, calling him an abomination, a ‘freak without a human heart’, completely missing the irony of his insults. Even from a few minutes of watching N and Ghetsis, listening to each one’s words, it was painfully clear to me that the boy who grew up in the forest with only Pokémon for family, who could apparently understand Pokémon as easily as though they were one mind, was infinitely more human than the man who had raised him. But then, as though I needed any further convincing of the young man’s gentle nature, N spoke out to Ghetsis, begging him to understand what he and I both knew: Pokémon are our friends. Even more surprising, he called him ‘father’.

If this had been a movie or a fairy tale, the antagonist would have been stopped in his tracks by the utterance of that word. Even after everything, N still accepted Ghetsis as his parent; in a story, that would have turned things around, shocked Ghetsis into realising what he had done; he might have broken down, embraced his son, maybe even apologised for all he had done wrong by him. Maybe there could even have been a chance of reconciliation between them.

Did Ghetsis do any of those things? Of course not. This was the real world, and although I knew then that things hardly ever go the way they do in stories, I never expected him to respond in the way he did.

‘Shut your mouth! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!’

I jumped. Hotah jumped. Even Reshiram seemed taken aback by the fury that spilled from the older man. And that wasn’t even the worst of it.

‘Don’t talk like a person, you freak! No real person could talk to Pokémon!’

That moment, right there, became the defining point of my journey: the moment a man lost control in front of everyone, condemning his own son as an abomination, right when the son tried to forgive him. That was the moment I realised that the worst monsters don’t exist in horror movies and ghost stories, don’t fall from the sky in the form of frightening-looking creatures and devour until there is nothing left. No, I learned; the worst monsters are the ones that exist in us, in humanity itself; the monsters that slumber in our heads, surfacing sometimes to rant at the injustice of it all, howl and scream at the sky until they are finally sated. I had seen one emerge that day, from one man who was probably intimidating enough on his own without the insanity that fuelled his final stand in the Giant Chasm.

What scared me the most, however, was the aftermath, because that last hysterical outburst was what ultimately broke Ghetsis. He fell silent, spent, almost catatonic. I heard later that his spirit had shattered irreparably, the former leader of Team Plasma reduced to a non-functioning wreck; a fate both fitting and terrifying. Our monsters, it seems, can destroy us if we allow them to take control.

Things ended happily for the Unova region, after all of that. Reshiram was released, and he and N reunited. Kyurem fell into hibernation, exhausted and deeply affected by the trauma he had been through but, N informed me, grateful. Opelucid City was released from its icy shroud, Hugh found his sister’s Purrloin – by now a Liepard with serious trust issues, but happy to be away from those who had mistreated her – and brought her home, and what remained of Team Plasma disbanded. And me? I travelled on to Victory Road and the Pokémon League, with my friends at my side, pleased that Team Plasma was finished but unsettled.

I keep seeing the encounter at night when I try to sleep. Just like my experience with Hugh’s werewolf movie, my dreams are haunted by memories of ice and fierce-eyed dragons and hysterical howls. This time, the monster isn’t a creature of the night, but the fury that lay inside the mind of a man. That’s what a monster is, I think: something that doesn’t just scare you on a physical level, but makes you question everything you thought you were sure about. How do you fight something like that?

I fear that one day I might witness the rise of a monster again. I don’t want to have to fight one again.
My entry for the #LiteraryFanFiction Fiendish Fan Fiction Contest, with the theme 'Monsters and Creatures'.

This is set in the Pokémon White and White 2 continuity, with a female protagonist. It's also slightly based off of my own experience of playing the game, hence the Pokémon that appear and their nicknames. And, obviously, there are spoilers for the climax (even though the games have been out for a while now...).
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"And that was the last of what has happened today."
Heinz Doofenshmirtz was typing away all the latest gossip around town in his evil blog, as usual. After realizing that it's too late in the night, he turned off the computer, yawned, and wandered off to sleep. While sleeping, he dreamed of what he wanted to do all his life. Taking over the Tri-State Area. It made him sleep easily and calmed him.
After 15 minutes of peaceful dreaming, he woke up with a sudden CRASH! The moment he woke up, he could not see anything because the vision was blurry, which looked like a brown smudge with a large cream dot on a wall. He rubbed his eyes and what did he find? An ugly-looking woman that looked just like him!
"Hey! What are you doing here?" asked Doofenshmirtz.
I am the witch of the Tri-State Area. You must follow my instructions or something bad will happen to you," replied the ugly-looking woman.
"Pffft! I thought it was the witch that appeared in "Wizard of Odd". He looked just like me. But never mind, what do I need to do?" He took out a notepad.
"You have to go into the Dark Forest, battling bats and scary-looking trees. When you successfully got away from them, you will encounter a weird, huge monster. Defeat him by following him to a pit of lava. There, it lies a treasure waiting for you."
"Nah! I know that you're making up stories. Get away from here!"
"It is real!"
"Even if it's real, I'll not go and find some treasure, even if I'm hungry for money, which I'm not because I don't do crime and make inators, hee hee. Still!"
"Want to know your penalty?"
"Yes… hope it's not scary."
"Well, you have to retrieve the treasure by the next sunrise. Failure to do so," the witch then slides a finger across her throat, "this."
Doof panics. "No! Not death! I don't want to die! I promise to take care of my daughter Vanessa and pay her education fees and spend time with her more than fighting Perry the Platypus and- AHHHH!!!" He falls onto the ground.
"NO! It's not a brutal one! You will turn into ashes and they will be gone with the wind!"
"Like a vampire? Oh boy, I should watch more Phineas and Ferb episodes than ever after this story ends."
"Good luck with your journey! Ha ha ha ha!"
The witch turns into a cloud of dust with a POOF! sound at the end. Seconds after she was gone, up stands Doof. He still panics.
"Turn into ashes? That is terrible! I must follow that ugly witch's instructions than do nothing and turn into something non-living!"
He quickly gets all the supplies he needed to survive this enduring journey: water bottles (as usual), a small hand fan in which its cloth has torn away, a gun (I thought guns were not allowed in this show, so I put plungers in place of bullets), a rope, and a picture of him with his daughter. As he stepped out of his apartment door, a blue light in which there was no top transported him to the forest.

The very next moment, Doof found out there was no way out of this place after starting it. "Whoa, I thought I was supposed to take a bus to this haunted place. But anyway, there is no bus route to this place," he said to himself. "At least this looks exciting."
He takes out a camera and begins to take pictures of this forest. "I'll send this to Vanessa, so she'll know the adventure I'm going to have today!" Suddenly the camera was stolen by a bat. But not just any kind of bat. A bat that when you look into its eyes, you'll be blind in ten seconds flat. "Hey! Get back here with my precious camera!" Doof shouted. He started chasing the bat, not realizing he was also followed by a group of another bats. It was the start of a wild goose chase.
He tried to capture the bat by setting a trap in which if the bat touches the rope to activate it, it will be caught. It was successful, but he nearly blinded himself, causing the camera to fall onto the muddy ground, causing the camera to be neutralized.
"Curse you, blind bat!" Doof shouted to the bat. "Oh, this is such a bad day. I lost my camera for good. I should have ignored that silly old witch, but me turning into ashes? Never!" And he continued on his journey.

A few hours later, he encountered a strange monster lurking in the darkness. A very unusual monster that is. It had…
"…the face of a wolf," Doof starts to describe the monster, "the eyes and the mouth of a platypus, which reminds me, the body of an elephant, the tail of a monkey, the legs of a lion,…" the weird monster growls, "…and growls like a bear? You know the platypus part reminds me of Perry the Platypus-- I'm starting to have second thoughts about this adventure… AHHH!!!" He screamed so loud that the whole universe can hear his voice, and started running around like a crazy person who ate drugs just three hours ago. The monster just followed him. It did not stop for anything, not even a drink.
"Wait, that was why I brought the gun! To shoot plungers at the monster!" Doof thought to himself.
He started shooting plungers at the monster, shooting every single plunger there was inside the gun. After the gun was empty-loaded, thr monster just stood there. It did not do anything. It did not move a single muscle. The forest suddenly became silent, with only the owls hooting and the crickets chirping.
"Wow, those plungers did help me stop that monster." And he started running again.

Moments later, he heard thumping footsteps. He turned (pause for effect), and saw the monster running again! "Ahh! How did it rise up from the dead? Oh, I forgot. They're plungers, not bullets. No guns in this cartoon, I guess." He kept running, and stopped at a group of trees blocking his way.
He used the small fan to sweep away the thorns on the vines supporting the trees. But he acted very fast as the monster was also behind him, hungry for people stuck in the forest like him. After thirty minutes of brushing past the thorny vines, he looked back at the forest and- gone. Gone was the strange monster.
"Yes! I got rid of the monster." He started dancing around. "Now no one will stop me from getting that treasure." He quickly ran to the lava pit, not noticing the sign at the entrance that says, "CAUTION - ONE TOUCH OF LAVA AND DEAD IN A
MINUTE".

"If there's no one to stop me, then-- whoa. What a huge pit that is. And I have to cross this deadly pit to get the treasure?! Oh no. I don't want to cross. No no, I can do this. I can't do this! I wish Perry the Platypus was here! But I have a rope. I can do this."
As he was about to throw the rope, something growled behind him. "The monster! I thought the thorns killed you-- oh you're so strong! But you can't defeat me!" He then realized that he was standing at the edge of the rock. The monster slowly walked towards Doof.
This was the end of the line for him. Either jump or fall, or stay and get eaten. Sweat started to drop. He couldn't decide! The monster was about to leap toward him. But he thought carefully, finally concluding that he'll jump into the pit, as getting eaten alive is too gruesome. He jumped, thinking about his life, his family, Perry the Platypus, and how he would miss them. But luckily, he suddenly woke up.
"Whew, it was just a dream," he said to himself. "That witch was a real jerk. Talking about treasure. I nearly died, thinking all if that happened in real life! Now I just need to do what I do every day."
He got up from his bed, and as he was walking out of his room, he suddenly turned into ashes! And you can't guess what happened next!
My entry for the Fiendish Fan Fiction Contest. I'm not a good writer, but I've learned narrative writing back in elementary, and my parents say, "Hey! Do some creative writing!" and stuff like that. I do narrative writing, but limited to fan fiction. Anyway, the word count? 1/3 of the maximum word count. I also found out that there are some fragments in the story. Nah!
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