"Slowly...slowly!" Joseph Bluefire gestured with his hands as the machine slowly lifted the block of ice containing a female duck out of the icy pond.
"Dad, how in the world did she get in there?" I asked, watching the crane haul the block to the ice chamber in the laboratory.
"Well, when it's cold enough, which isn't a problem here, something as simple as falling in can freeze anybody." He said, than looked at me. "But, if my attempt at reviving her works, she should be able to tell us herself what happened that resulted in," he pointed over to the oversized ice cube, "an icy grave."
I watched from a distance as my father worked tediously at his table, my mom right by his side. They were perfecting a chemical compound, or as I like to call it, a potion; one that could possibly bring the frozen girl back to life from her deep coma. You see, my father and mother work at Puckworld Technologies, a small building which experiments with bioengineering and genetics. When Joseph and his wife, Mildred, adopted me, they taught me everything they had been working on since they began this company. They gave me a journal, something that I could write my experiments in and keep track of their progress. However, I used the journal to write my feelings and thoughts in as well as research.
Joseph began working on genetics with Mildred five years ago when he discovered that the body doesn't technically die immediately. Instead, it resides into a deep coma, one in which allowed the heart to beat less than ten times a minute. This slow pace causes most organs to shut down and muscles to stop working, thus sending the duck into coma. When he discovered this, he built a machine to watch and record this process. His findings showed that it could take up to five years before the body physically dies. However, although these findings proved to be interesting, there were small problems that made Joseph's research seem futile. First, this detection only accounted for ducks that died of old age or cancers. Murders and suicides could not be helped because organs are damaged in the dying procedure. Second, even though they are in deep comas, the body begins to decompose slowly. If this begins to happen, resurrecting them would be hopeless because their main organs and blood have began to literally rot. So, consequently, the duck must be preserved immediately to allow everything to stay in tact.
That's why the discovery of a frozen girl revitalized my parents. If they can achieve the perfect potion, they can use it to test it on the frozen girl and see if their years of work gave Puckworld a new medical breakthrough.
"I think we got it!" Joseph yelled, picking up Mildred and twirling her in the air. My mom just laughed.
"Shamrock, go to the ice chamber and tell Bern that it's time to start thawing the ice!" Joseph yelled to me, still laughing and hugging mom.
"You got it!" I ran out the room and made a quick turn towards the stairs. I flew down them, tripping more than once, but regaining my balance by gripping the rails. Once down in the basement, I shoved open the door, only to be greeted by a rush of freezing air. I skidded to a halt by the changing room and opened the door opposite it, which read "E. Bern."
Ernest Bern was my dad's co-partner in the company, and, his best friend. He and dad grew up in the same city, went to the same schools, and even went to the same college. Together, they had one goal: Puckworld Technologies. They had achieved it, all right. And now, they were on the verge of becoming famous.
"Uncle Bern!" I yelled as a burst through the door, the cold air making my breath transform into steam. I had a knack for calling Mr. Bern "uncle". Everyone in Puckworld Technologies seemed like family to me, and I always showed it through nicknames.
Uncle Bern was sitting at his desk in a heavy coat, monitoring the ice chamber and making sure that the temperature levels stayed the same. It had been a week since we exhumed the girl, and someone had to be here to guard the area 24-7. It was just my luck he had duty today; otherwise, I would have had to travel clear to DuCaine Metropolis fifteen miles away where he had a second job as a professor. When seeing me, he immediately stood up, sending the chair he was sitting in flying backwards.
"Tell me he's finished the potion!" Uncle Bern said, using the statement as more of a question.
I was so excited, all I could do was beam.
That was enough for him. "Come on, ZeeZee! We must begin to thaw!" With that, he ran through the doorway, grabbing my hand on his way through.
We ran across the hallway, and barged through the door that read "Changing Room." There, we put a protective suit over our ordinary clothes, which provided us warmth. Than, we applied oxygen tanks to the back of the garments and attached tubes that lead to masks. This provided us plenty of oxygen. The room where the block of ice was being held was nearly -85 degrees Fahrenheit, and if we planned to breathe without freezing our lungs, we needed the protective gear and oxygen masks.
When we were finished, Uncle Bern lead me to the end of the hallway where a steel door created a barrier between our prized discovery and us. Uncle Bern walked closer to the blank wall, and pressed a hidden button, revealing a lock. He than pulled out a key, one which only he and my dad possessed, and used it to unfasten the lock. The door began to slowly pull away, and even through my heavy garments and mask, I could feel the cold air rushing into my body and chilling my veins. Although, I don't think the air was the only thing that chilled me.
The doors eased open, and produced a loud bang as they fell into place on opposite walls. Uncle Bern and I walked through the door cautiously, and I began to follow him across the room, unable to see anything from the heavy fog that blanketed the vicinity. As I continued the treacherous walk through blankness, I suddenly ran into Uncle Bern, who had apparently turned around and had been heading back to the entrance. He motioned for me to stay there, than maneuvered around me and began to walk back out the door.
"Wait, where are you going?" I asked.
"I need to turn on the vents so we may actually see what we're thawing." He smiled slightly, than disappeared through the fog.
I began to walk after him, but the all-to-familiar sound of the doors banged shut. I was trapped in the room, unable to see anything, and alone...with a frozen duck. Trying to find a way to calm my pounding heart, I began to walk slowly forward, hands out, until I found a wall. I felt around, using the walls as a guide, and considered my situation.
The vent controls were three floors up, and because Uncle Bern had claustrophobia, he would take the stairs. In addition to that, the controls were with the main power generator that ran the electricity in the entire building, meaning it would be heavily guarded and would take many keys to get to the controls. I estimated the time in my head, and realized I would be stuck here for about five minutes until the vents turned on and cleared the haze. I sighed, and focused on walking to avoid panicking.
Then I realized something. The entire time I pondered my position, I had been walking in a circle. I still had my hands against the wall, yet it continued to guide me in circles. My eyes grew wide. The vents suddenly turned on, and cleared the cloud quickly. I, at the same time, happened to glance at what I had been feeling. I screamed.
Right in front of me was the block of ice, which inside held a frozen girl. But that wasn't what made me scream. I had never seen her up close, and right where I was standing, I could see her face. She was short, as was her brown hair covered in red stripes. Her eyes were open, and colored brown. She seemed to be reaching for the sky, as if trying to grasp something that she had lost. I looked at her for another minute, and realized it wasn't air she was after. Her expression, filled with pain and sorrow, was frozen into her eyes. That kind of expression you just don't see in people looking for air.
The doors opened, and Uncle Bern walked through. "ZeeZee? Are you okay? I forgot to set the doors on manual control, and they shut because the temperature level was dropping."
I continued to stare at the girl, piqued by her position that had made me scream earlier. I felt a hand on my shoulder, and that shot me back into reality. I turned around and smiled. "I'm fine, uncle. Just don't do it again."
He laughed, than walked over to the control panel on the wall opposite the door. Again, he used his key to open the plastic case surrounding the buttons, than applied the access code. Abruptly, a rumbling sound could be heard on all sides of the wall, and I watched as the panels in the walls began to commence, releasing waves of hot air. Quickly, he led me out of the room, bolting the door behind us. We stripped out of our protective gear, and began to gaze through the window in Uncle Bern's office as the block of ice melted and water plunged to the floor, flowing down into the drains.
Every minute another layer was swept away, and the girl became easier to see. I watched as her frozen fingers thawed, limping immediately. Than her arm became free of it's ice prison, and it too wilted. And according to my father, she's still alive. Biologically, anyway.
"Hun, go get Joseph. Tell him she's almost completely defrosted and that we need the team down here in a hurry."
"Yepsiree!" Once again, I twirled around and ran down the hallway toward the door. I opened the door, but glanced behind me before leaving. I could still see through the glass, and as the ice melted around her head, I would have sworn I saw her eyes blink, revealing one simple tear. The lids fell shut than, and her entire body collapsed onto the puddle that had once held her in such a longing position.
I flipped on my night-light, propped my pillow so that it cushioned my back against the headboard, and retrieved my journal from under my bed. Every night, I wrote in my journal before going to sleep, and today had been a very important day. I grabbed a pen from the top of my nightstand, and opened the cover of the journal. Inside, my name was written:
Shamrock Zee Bluefire
I had an interesting name, one in which was given to me because of my appearance. When my folks found me, I was apparently wandering around in the lab. I was three, so to this day I still don't remember why or how I got there. I had no reference to my past, and I didn't even know my name. Joseph and Mildred decided to keep me, since they had been wanting a child for some time. When no one claimed me after a month, they officially adopted me. They gave me the name Shamrock for the gold necklace I wore around my neck, something I had on me when I was found. It was of a simple design, but it holds the memories that had been lost to me. I sighed. If only it could talk. "Zee" came from a scar on my left shoulder, or technically, my wing. It was shaped like the letter "Z", so my oh-so-creative parents used it for my middle name. And of course, I received the name Bluefire from my parents' last name.
I flipped through page after page in my journal, watching the dates fly by on the top right of the page. It began at 12/25, which was when I got the journal, and continued down through 11/30. I counted all the 12/25 dates, and calculated that I had been writing in this journal since I was eight years old. I was 14 now, so that would mean about 2,000 days of happiness, angriness, and depression this journal had comforted me, allowing me to write my mind. I found a blank page, and let my hand flow.
Today was the day my family has been waiting for. Last week my folks found a frozen girl in a pond while walking through the woods. They took her into the lab and began to prepare her for tests. That way, Dad can make sure she's in shape to be resurrected. I wish they would have allowed me to stick around for the tests, but, as usual, my dad says I'm too young. Although, today I was able to get a close look at her while she was defrosting. Uncle Bern accidentally left me in the ice chamber while he went to turn on the vents. The girl seemed to be age 10 and was fairly short. She was frozen into this bizarre position, reaching one hand to the sky as if to grasp something that wasn't there. Her expression was filled with pain, and as I stared at her, I realized there's a lot more to her before she granted herself a kiss with the ice. Unfortunately, there are a lot of errors that can occur destroying the entire experiment all together. She can have some unknown disease, internal damage, or the potion may leave side effects.
Mom, Dad, and Uncle Bern worked on the girl for hours, checking her for anything unusual and preparing her for the injection. Afterwards, they took her to the room they arranged for her. She is to be guarded by the hour until tomorrow, when they plan to use the potion. It's supposed to work immediately, and she should awake within the hour.
I stared at the last comment, absorbed in thoughts. There were so many risks that could occur, and since the potion had never been tested, it was most likely that the girl would not survive, or come back to life at all. I closed my journal, and placed it underneath the bed, resting the pen on top of it. I brought my pillow back down and turned off the night-light. But instead of going to sleep, I got up and walked to my window. Outside, the indigo sky buried the landscape in darkness and shadows. Only the full moon on the east caressed the planet, the west one smothered by clouds. I looked at the billions of stars spotting the sky, and wondered if that was what the girl was reaching for. Yeah, right, she was reaching for the stars right before she died. I smiled, but frowned as the expression of her face blocked the rest of my thoughts. Perhaps, I thought to myself, if the potion does work, she'll be able to tell me exactly what she was straining for...
Something flickered out of the corner of my eye, and, looking up, I saw a shooting star fly across the rising horizon. Rising horizon?! I turned back at my clock, and saw that it was 5:45 a.m. Must have dozed off...I returned my observation to the sky, and saw that today was going to be another gloomy day. For once, I'd like to feel the sunshine on me for more than an hour. Sighing, I got up, and left to take a shower.
"Vital signs stable..." A nurse said as she hovered around the medical equipment attached to the girl. "Well, considering she's dead, anyway."
"Good. I am about to inject the chemical compound into her blood system. By the hour, it should bring her life signs back to a normal pace. However, the results are just a theory." My dad looked at each of the members of the medical team, and each in return gave their nod of approval to continue through with the experiment. "Let's just hope that our years of research will bring this young child back to life. Ernest?" Dad called out to Uncle Bern, who also indicated his sign of approval through a head nod, than retrieved the potion off of the table across the room.
Dad took the potion out of Uncle Bern's hand gratefully, and attached it to the IV pump. Within seconds, the blue liquid began to swivel down the cord drop by drop and enter the girl's blood stream. All the while I stood out side of the doorway, peeping in through the window adjacent to it. I was allowed to witness the injection, but I could not be in the same room.
"Now, all that stands between us and our miracle is time." Dad said, than began to give orders to everyone.
Knowing that if I stayed any longer I would be caught and given a chore, I quickly sneaked away, leaving the medical team left with all my father's errands. Deciding that the lab would be teeming with people until late tonight, I left to go on a walk. Grabbing boots and a warm jacket, I silently treaded out the door and headed east.
The sun was almost completely enclosed by dark storm clouds, but perforations throughout the clouds allowed cascades of light to shine through. I walked steadily down a small pathway surrounded by dense woods, listening at different animal noises echoing around me. I thought about the last few days, and how it might change my family's life. The girl was quite a find, and because of her, my parent's could finally receive the admiration and respect that they deserve. In fact, that goes for everyone who works at Puckworld Technologies. For the past five years, ducks have had little venerability towards us, mainly because of my dad's discovery and his attempt to create a "witch's" potion, as they like to call it. We ignored the rude insults and irate mail we received, and continued on with research and tests. I wrote down information for Dad, and he persistently labored on his philosophy, Mom right by his side. Hopefully, after five years of constant humiliation, perhaps for once we can prove them wrong. Hopefully.
I found a clearing in the woods, and headed in that direction, wrapping my jacket tighter around me as a gust of cold air rushed pass. Inside the clearing rested an elegant pond, which I had grown to dub "Midnight Emeralds." It had a nice ring to it, and it fitted its appearance. At night, between midnight and two, the shadows in the forest leave interesting images. Than, with the moons stroking the land with its milky light, the leaves seem to dance around with the wind on the pond's surface, creating the effect of falling emeralds. It was a gorgeous sight, and only I ever experienced it. This was the place that only I knew about, somewhere I could go to get away from everybody and everything. As my journal did, the pond allowed me to forget all my worries and problems from the real world.
I took off my jacket, and attached blades to the bottom of my boots. Slowly, I began to skate across the ice, which was about the size of a hockey ring. As I gained my speed, I began to maneuver more professionally, performing triple axels, flips, spins, and balancing patterns. I loved to skate, and it was the only talent I had, one that I kept to myself. It was a secret only this place held, and, like everything else in my life, remained isolated.
I continued to skate, resting when I got tired, and allowing my emotions to play out in my stunts. As day grew into darkness, I realized that I had been out here for the entire day. Quickly, I detached my blades and threw on my jacket, running back the way I came.
I slowly opened the side entrance door, peeking to my left and right to make sure no one saw me. Than, I ran as fast as my feet could carry me until I reached my room. Realizing I had been undetected, I unlocked the door quickly, entered, and shut it. Within two seconds, the door knocked.
"Just a sec!" I yelled, throwing my clothes off and replacing them with pajamas. I looked at myself in the mirror, wiped the cold sweat off my face, and straightened out my hair, making it look like I had been in there for hours. Than, to top things off, I opened my journal and placed it on top of my bed, the pen right beside it. "Coming!" I hollered, kicking the dirty clothes out of sight as a made my way to the door. I took a deep breath, placed my hand on the control panel, pressed a button, and it opened. "Dad! Hi!"
"Don't give me that crap. You've been gone all day, and I know it." He barged in, walked over to where I hid my dirty clothes, and picked them up. "So, where'd you go this time while I was making our lives a little bit better?" He threw down the clothes and folded his arms.
I always could stand up for myself. In first grade, a bully tried to take my money, and instead of giving it to him, I had kicked him in the groin and smacked him on top of the head, leaving him unconscious. I got in big trouble for it, but I had grown knowing I could defend myself when the time depended on it. However, no matter how big my enemy is, he's always easier to confront than my dad. I...just couldn't get myself to look him in the eye and give him a piece of my mind. It was a flaw in my strength, and all I could do was watch as he continued to yank the threads of the wall I had created that blocked out my fear. Somehow, every time, that wall I worked so hard to repair after a fight is still no defense against his angry voice, his narrowed eyes, and the air of shame he let off.
"I...I went on a walk. It started to get really busy this morning, and I thought getting out of the way would...be best. I lost track of time and..." I looked at his stern face, which hadn't lightened up one bit since I began talking. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have an excuse for my absence." I let my head fall, once again allowing him to tear apart my wall of strength.
I stood, head down, as I listened to a long and stern lecture about "leaving without telling anyone," "you could have been injured or hurt," the never-ending "we trust you, just not other ducks" novel, and most importantly, the "don't ever do it again or else" speech. When he finished, I lifted my head, only to see that he had already left the room. Although I was used to lectures, this one was...different, as if he had been building his anger all day. I guess I was just the lucky one who got hit by the explosion.
I began to walk to my door to close it, but saw Mom come in. She closed the door behind her, and led me to my bed. "I see your father got you before I did."
"I would have preferred you over that raging inferno."
"Shamrock! Be kind." Mom smiled slightly. "Although, it seemed that if his head got any redder, it would have burst."
I smiled, but soon frowned as I remembered his face. "Mom, what's up with him? It wasn't all me, was it?"
"No, you didn't even top it off. He knew you like to go on walks, and that's where we guessed you went when we couldn't find you. The chemical compound...it hasn't taken any effect on the girl. He's been so angry with himself because of it. He expected more from it, and instead, all his research and work went down the drain. So, he's been blowing up in ducks' faces for minor reasons, using them as an excuse to let off his fury. You should have saw him this afternoon. He tried to fire poor old Mr. Porri."
"The mailman?! He's eighty years old, what could he do wrong?" I asked, shock written across my face.
"Well, apparently your father caught him getting a glass of water." Mom said, staring out the window. "I defended the poor old duck, of course, and now your father's mad at me." My mom sighed, and stood up. "I just wanted to tell you Joseph's not mad at you. He's...well, let's just say he's had a rough day."
"Yeah..." I still couldn't believe dad yelled at Mr. Porri. The worst thing that poor guy ever did was accidentally switch the mail. And that was once...three or so years ago.
"Good night, sweetie." Mom said, kissing my forehead and leaving.
"Night." I said before the door completely shut behind her. I listened as her footsteps faded down the hallway, than got up and re-opened the door. Looking from my left to my right, I tiptoed out into the hallway and headed the opposite direction from where my mom went. I knew where I was going, but I couldn't control myself; I knew how I was getting there as well, which didn't thrill me either, but no matter how hard I thought, I couldn't figure out why.
I crept down the hall, turning right to find myself in a long hall of doors, all of which led to someone's room. I walked down the hallway, reading the inscription carved on the brass plate attached to each door. I continued reading each one until I reached the door that said "E. Bern" on it. I quietly opened the doorway, automatically seeing the duck in his bed snoring away. Glancing around, my eyes caught a shine. Walking toward it, I inspected it closer and realized it was the key; the key Uncle Bern used to open the door to the ice chamber, the one he used to turn on the heaters to thaw the block of ice, and the one needed to get into almost every high-secured area in the entire building. Unfortunately, it rested in a glass case. I ran out of the room into mine, grabbed my compact that rested on the nightstand, and dashed back to the door I had left slightly ajar. I sneaked into the room, and stopped when I was about six feet away from the glass case. Glimpsing cautiously at Uncle Bern, still snoring in the same position I last saw him in, I opened up my compact, using the pad inside to create some crumbs. Than, with one swift motion, I blew on the remnants in the direction of the casing. Sure enough, it revealed three red lasers crisscrossing around the prized jewel. However, the panel, which controlled the alarm system, was right by the door. I made a 180-degree turn and skulked my way over to the control panel.
I began to sing extremely silently, rather lip-singing than actually releasing words. I was taught a song when I was young so I knew what to do if a burglary or some kind of disaster took place. Inside the song lyrics held the access code for the control panel. Although it wasn't the main alarm system access code, it controlled the fire alarm and the minor lasers that protected personal belongings, which was what Uncle Bern was using to guard the key. After finishing singing the song to myself, I typed in the code, begging I had hit it in correctly. Otherwise, instead of disabling the lasers, I would have set off the police siren. It beeped once, and the silent humming of lasers disappeared. Smiling at myself, I turned around, grabbed the key, and headed out the door, closing it behind me.
I walked through the maze of halls, avoiding being seen by anyone who patrolled the passageways, and finally found myself in the Infirmary region of the building. I walked to the very last door on the left, and peering in through the window, I could see the girl laying on the bed, the IV bag still hanging there, empty from its earlier contents. I looked around, making sure no patrol duck was coming, and than used the key to open the lock. Doing this, I placed the key away, took the lock, and lifted the heavy bolt that laid horizontally across the door. I quickly entered the room, making sure to close the door behind me. Within a minute of entering, I could see the flashlight of a guard. Frozen with fear, I remained behind the door, waiting to be caught. Instead, the duck just passed by, not noticing the unlocked door or the hidden figure behind it. I sighed with relief, than observed my surroundings.
The single window that allowed any natural light into the room was covered in thick purple curtains. I only could make out shapes in the eerie darkness from my eyes adjusting, and even than the objects camouflaged into their surroundings. The girl lay on her bed, still and silent. The machines were still on, probably the last hopes my father had in resurrecting her. However, no medicine was being pumped into her bloodstream, and, overall, her body seemed at peace.
I walked closer to her, still confused as to why I was there. Next to her still form was a small lamp, as well as a medical chart adjacent to it. Curious, I switched on the lantern, creating a soft omni glow half way across the recovery room. Than I cautiously picked up the chart attached to a clipboard and began to skim.
Name: Jane Doe
Status: Dead; no known health risks, cause of vegetative state: drowning...Chemical compound given to her 6:24 a.m. No effects....no symptoms of revitalizing...Resurrect Experiment failed....
The few phrases I glimpsed at told me enough. I looked up at the serene duck, and noticed something about her since I last saw her in a block of ice. Instead of her brown eyes that I saw through the frost, they were now a color of hazel. In addition, looking at her hair, the red streaks that striped over the original brown coat seemed to have almost bleached in there. I flipped through a couple more pages of the medical charts until I found a caption that read "Appearance."
Appearance: 5 ft.
Original color of eyes: Brown; colored hazel due to ice penetration into the iris
Hair: Short, ends slanted at underside of beak bone; red stripes also due to contamination in the water.
There was more, but I read what interested me. Flipping the pages closed, I returned the clipboard to its original spot by the lamp and switched off the light. It took a couple minutes until my eyes habituated, so I walked over to the window and threw the curtains open. The light from both moons illuminated the room, and everything appeared to have white contrasts of their black shadows. Suddenly, an abrupt noise came from the bed, startling me. I turned around, but the girl remained still. I took one step closer, and that's when the convulsions began.
Her body began to shake roughly, as if an earthquake erupted beneath her. I ran out into the hallway and rang the emergency alarm for that room. Sirens began to buzz throughout the building, waking everyone from their silent slumber. The light above the doorway began to spin, allowing blue streaks of light to brighten the hallways. The first duck I saw running toward the room was a patrol officer. I ran to him to tell him to get my father, but instead, I received a hostile attitude.
"Hey!" I yelped as he pinned me to the ground, taking my hands around my back and handcuffing them together. "I didn't do anything wrong, you moron! The girl, she's alive! I need you to get my father, Joseph Bluefire, immediately!"
"Didn't do anything wrong, huh?" The patrol duck reached his hand into my pocket, revealing Uncle Bern's key. "I think stealing a high-security level access key accounts for doing something wrong, don't you think?"
"I...was just borrowing it." I smiled, but he ignored me and hauled me to my feet, leading me down the hallway.
Fortunately for me, Dad came rounding the corner. I looked at his face when he saw me, and I suddenly wished it were Mom who had come first. His fast pace slowed to a halt as he, for the second time that night, crossed his arms.
"Dad, this is not what you think, I..."
"What the hell do you think you're doing? I don't want an excuse this time. You've done enough for one night, tampering with our experiment." He looked at the officer, but said nothing to make him release me. "Take her to the cell for the night. Maybe that'll teach you to destroy years of research."
"DAD! WILL YOU LISTEN TO ME?!" I screamed, as other members from the medical team came from their rooms clothed in little more than a house robe and slippers. "The girl, I didn't do anything to her! When I came into her room, she began to have a seizure!" I looked at him, his face expression heated. He didn't believe me.
My father opened his beak to say something, but was cut off.
"AAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!" A high-pitched scream was heard from the girl's room. I watched as every ducks' beaks in the room flew downward. Dad, whose beak almost came off, charged into the room, dozens of other medical team members running right behind him. I began to tell the officer to un-cuff me, but when I turned around, there was no one there. He had run in with the others.
"Hey! Officer dude! Heeeelllllloooooo?! GET YOUR DONUT-STUFFED RUMP BACK HERE AND LET ME LOOSE!" Infuriated, I began to storm toward the door, but saw Mom coming from the opposite end.
"Honey, you mind telling me why you're handcuffed?" Mom asked as she made her way to me.
"I seriously believe that the money we make from resurrecting this girl should be used to buy us some new PATROL OFFICERS!" I was still steamed, but most of my anger came from Dad's show of distrust in me.
"What do you mean? The girl, she's alive?" Mom asked, looking across the hallway to the room cramped with scientists.
"I think she proved that point when she screeched bloody murder a minute ago. Now, could you do me the sweetest of favors and go get the key from that incompetent nitwit!"
Today my dad gave Jane Doe the potion, but it never kicked in. When I returned from an all-day rendezvous at Midnight Emeralds, I received another wonderful lecture from Dad, and once again, I couldn't stand up to him. After his routine speech, Mom came in and told me what was really agitating him. He had such high hopes on the girl and the potion that when he found it didn't quite work all the way, he literally went berserk.
Around eleven, I visited the girl by stealing Uncle Bern's access key. I still don't know exactly why I came to her, but I'm sure glad I did. She began to convulse, meaning that the potion did work, but was delayed a bit longer than expected. I rang the alarm, but instead of being thanked, an officer arrested me. Dad came dashing in, and when he saw me, automatically thought I had tampered with her. For the first time in my life, I stood up against him; and I don't think I could have done it without the girl.
He didn't believe my story until the Doe screamed. But, instead of apologizing to me for accusing me of a crime, he barged right passed me, as if I didn't matter. I probably saved his experiment, but that doesn't really matter to me. My father says he trusts me, but now that I think about it, he probably means that he trusts me to make things worse. I have a feeling Midnight Emeralds will be seeing a lot of me these next few weeks.
My mind and body ached all over. I had so many memories, but the pain I felt through my entire body blocked them out. All I remember was seeing blurred visions of a dozen or more ducks crowding around me, looking at countless charts, watching the surrounding monitors, and all of them seemed to be staring at me! Sounds of shouts and sirens encircled me, and I wanted so much to just scream, "TURN THEM OFF!" but the words just couldn't come out. It was like my mouth was bolted shut.
With my eyes closed, I could still see an illuminating light shining, hoping, joyfully, that it was the smiling sun. But, sadly, I was wrong. Opening my eyes, I found myself staring into a bright 60-watt bulb, or at least I think it was. Gazing around, I found out that I wasn't alone. A blurred figure of a male duck stood next to me, staring at more of those funny charts. I couldn't quite figure out what his true features were, but, for some odd reason, he looked like someone who really needed an attitude adjustment. It was made quite clear to me that the man didn't see that my eyes were open. I took my chance and tried wiggling my fingers, just to see if my muscles were functional.
Finding that my muscles worked, I started making a tune by just tapping my fingers against the metal bar that was perpendicular with the bed. The tapping really got the duck's attention. From what I could see, his eyes widened to the size of baseballs and his jaw dropped like a fruit fly getting swat by a fly swatter.
"SHE'S ALIVE! SHE'S REALLY ALIVE!" he screamed. It was as if a hundred-pound boulder had squashed his foot. Suddenly, dozens of other ducks joined the form, surrounding me like a bunch of vultures waiting to chew away at my carcass, whatever was left of it. Again, all the figures worked like busy bees checking the charts and looking at the monitors next to me.
"I'm alive..." I mumbled, "you don't have to check and recheck. If you keep poking me with those needles," I let my eyes glance at the nurse who was injecting something into my IV; "I'll hurt you...once I wake up from my little na..." Everything blacked out than.
Opening my eyes for a second time, everything came into focus. Evidently, the room I was placed in really needed new interior. The walls were a crinkly gray, like someone had taken an axe to it just to give it texture. A single window stood opposite above me, covered with purple curtains. A bright lamp hung above me like I was in one of those interrogation rooms. Blindly, I sat up and studied more of my new environment. The floor consisted of white tiles, and stained footprints could be seen; most were adults, but there was one set of a child's footprint...a big child. Skimming the walls, I saw a mirror. It looked like it was a big window but I could clearly see my reflection. Scanning the room even more I saw an iron door.
I shifted my body and let my legs dangle off the edge of the bed. I saw that I was wearing a hospital gown, but it was yellow with black dots. Slowly I slid my rump off the bed, leaning against the bed as I realized that my leg muscles were a bit too weak to hold my own weight up. Looking around, I grabbed the IV pole and used it like a cane to aid an old lady. I walked, slowly, toward the door and gently it opened with a screech. Poking out my head, I found three halls leading into different directions; each was lined with doors that headed into various rooms.
I than heard a sudden snore next to me. Glancing in the direction of the noise, I found a sleeping, overweight officer leaning in a chair against the wall. On his potbelly a box of doughnuts swayed back and forth as he snored deeply.
"Pig." I said under my breath as I strolled out the door and into the intersection. I stood there wondering what way to choose but nothing came up. If I went forward, the slumbering officer could wake up and see me without any trouble. Well, not if you don't count the box of doughnuts stuffed in front of his face. The right didn't look too promising either because there were too many cobwebs; it looked like no one really paid any attention to it. Looking to my left, I saw a door ajar, allowing some light to stream out into the hall. Quietly, I shuffled my way to the door, hoping that the room would have a change of clothes so I could get out of this hospital gown. What I was wearing now let in a tad too much of a breeze.
I felt like a kid trying to sneak out of the house to go to a party. Boy, I wish I were! Peeking my head in, I saw a tall, light gray-feathered duck leaning in an office chair. I walked closer to him to get a little more detail of who I was dealing with. He seemed to be a really sweet guy; he had very small cheekbones and his eyes weren't attached to his beak. Very dark, gray, curly hair covered his head; he kind of reminded me of a clown. He was pretty well built, almost like a hockey player. He slumped in the chair, sleeping happily. I really didn't want to disturb the guy, he looked too nice, but it was either him or dealing with the snoring pig down the hall.
I came up to his ear and whispered, "Sir?"
The man jolted up in his seat. "Huh? What?" He looked at me like I were a ghost. "Its you! You...you're..." He kept on stuttering until I couldn't stand it anymore.
"DUDE! Snap out of it! Yes, I am alive and awake but could you not make such a big deal out of it?" The man looked at me in confusion as he stood up slowly. I looked into his eyes, and saw that they were dark brown. His eyes than glazed over and he smiled. The expression was welcoming.
"I'm sorry dear, you just scared me. I didn't actually expect you to be awake and walking this early." He said in such a pleasant voice.
"Heh, that's true...wait a minute. What time is it?" I looked at him confusingly.
"Why...its three-o'clock in the morning. Are you cold?" I didn't quite know why he said that but than I noticed that I was shivering.
"Heehee...I am. Do you have anything in this room that I could change into? These gowns aren't exactly the typical things that I'd love to wear." Both of us chuckled at the same time, and it surprised me that he sounded more like a teenager.
"We don't have anything in this room...but I think we can get something from Shamrock." He placed an arm around my shoulders and helped me out the door. Locking the door behind us, we walked down the hall I had just come from.
"Who is Shamrock?" I stared up at him as we walked past the still slumbering patrol duck.
"Shamrock? Oh, you'll like her. She's Joseph and Mildred's daughter--" He looked over at me, saw my blank expression, and smiled. "And they're the people who got you out of the ice."
"Ohhhhhhhhh, I like 'em already." I stopped next to the man, who had paused at one of many doors along the hallway. "Hey, what's yer name?"
"Ernest Bern." He smiled, than knocked.
There was a brief moment of silence, followed by a groggy "coming" and shuffled noises. A loud thud was heard, than a muffled curse, and finally the door hissed open.
A slouched, female figure stood in the doorway, looking like she woke up on the wrong side of the nest. She was covered with dark gray feathers, illuminating her yellow eyes and blonde hair. Speaking of her hair, it was all tied up in a messy bun, giving the appearance of moss growing from the girl's head.
"Well, good morning sunshine! Sleep well?" Ernest grinned.
"It's 3 o'clock in the morning," she said in a very tired, low-toned voice, "what the heck do you want?" She was obviously beginning to become aggravated.
"Jane Doe here needs some clothing." The girl finally looked over and noticed me. Her eyes grew wide, erasing any sign of tiredness and irritation from her face. She took a step back before recovering from her apparent shock.
"Wha-what is...she's...I mean...what the hack is she doing...awake?!" The girl exclaimed, looking about ready to run screaming through the halls at any minute.
"Jane, meet Shamrock. Shamrock, meet Jane Doe, our living 'popsicle'." Ernest said in an 'announcer's' voice.
"Nice to meet ya!" I stuck out my hand.
"Er, yeah..." She cautiously took my hand and shook it.
"So, what kinda clothes you got?" I maneuvered around her, and waltzed into her room, surveying my surroundings. It was small, but had a bathroom attached to it. There was one huge window on the far wall, with a window seat. She had a waterbed with a quilt covering it, but it was hard to tell the color from the lack of light. I shrugged, than looked around until I spotted her closet. I began to rummage, feeling their eyes on my back, but I pretended not to notice.
"I'm going to go wake up Joseph," Ernest said after a moment of silence, "Shamrock, help her find some clothes that'll fit."
"Sure...I guess." She walked next to me as Ernest disappeared and the door hissed shut.
"Hey!" I grabbed a shirt that was pushed far back, and held it up against me. "Camouflage! I love camouflage. Can I wear it?"
"It doesn't fit me, so, yeah, go right on ahead."
I threw it on the bed, than began to search for some pants. "I don't suppose you have camouflage pants as well, hmm?"
"Heh, no...I'm not into cammies."
My face gave a shock of horror. "What?! Cam's are the best!"
She smiled, than yanked a pair of jeans off the hanger. "Well, you'll just have to do with these for now."
I gathered up all my clothes, and began to walk to her bathroom.
I stopped and turned around.
"Don't you want some socks?"
I looked down at my feet, and realized I was wearing paper slippers. "Yeah, I guess that could help some."
She smiled again, opened her drawer, pulled out a pair, and placed them on top of the pile of clothes in my arms. I walked into the bathroom, and let out a huge sigh of relief. I took off the paper slippers, and looked at my feet. I was probably the only duck on Puckworld with webbed feet. I had three toes, the one in the middle taller than the other two, which were slanted outward. A thin layer of skin attached each toe to its adjacent. My feathers stopped at my ankles, creating a 'skirt' appearance on my feet. With socks on, they looked fairly normal, except the larger toe was in the middle instead of on the inner side of the foot. Sighing again, I changed into my clothes, and exited the bathroom.
Shamrock was at the foot of her bed, sleeping. Her feet were still dangling from the edge, but the rest of her body was lying on one side. Just than, she pulled her legs up, curling up against the foot of the bed. I looked at her bare feet, which were completely covered in dark gray feathers, her largest toe of the four on the inside of each foot. I sighed, and wished I could have normal feet.
All of a sudden, the bedroom door zipped open, and a fairly old, tall, male duck rushed in. He saw me, and his face began to glow. "EUREKA!" The unexpected holler startled Shamrock out of her sleep, and she screamed as she fell off the bed with a thud.
Scared out of my wits, I ran back into the bathroom. I tried to lock it, but I had no idea how to use the control panel. Frantic, I began to press lots of buttons. Unfortunately, that didn't help anything. Some buttons got jarred, and the door to the bathroom continued to open and close continuously. "Nononono! Come on you stupid thing, close! No! Don't open! ARGH!" I tried to un-stick the buttons using a hairpin, but the more force I used, the faster the door kept opening and closing. Than, out of nowhere, smoke began to rise out of the control panel, and I ran out of the way before a small explosion erupted, creating a mass of dark smoke in the room.
When the smoke finally settled, I stood up from my crouched position. I looked over, and saw that the two heavy doors were on the floor, bent and charred at the edges. The other ducks in the room were silent, except for a faint cough here and there. They were all staring at me, some absolutely furious, others shocked, and most just dumbfounded.
I smiled sheepishly. "Oops."
"How was your breakfast?" Joseph asked, sitting across from me on a couch with a clipboard resting on his lap.
"Good." Since the bathroom incident, I was introduced to Joseph and Mildred, Shamrock's parents. They had done some simple tests on me before showing me to my room. Now, Joseph sat alone with me, preparing me for some questions.
"Alright, than lets get down to business. Do you remember your name?" He began, readying his pencil.
"Do you remember anything before falling into the ice?"
"Do you know how you fell into the ice?"
"Can you give an explanation as to how you were positioned?"
"Here." Joseph handed me a picture of me in the ice.
I looked at it, a little startled at what I saw. The memories were there, but my mind had locked them far away. I couldn't remember anything before waking up in this building. "No..." It seemed familiar, but forcing myself to look back onto my past seemed futile.
Joseph sighed as I handed him back the picture, which he tucked away under the clipboard. "How about your age?"
"Well..." I thought about it a minute, than shrugged. "No clue."
"According to blood tests, you're 12."
"What?" Joseph looked at me oddly, trying to figure out why I said that date.
"March 12th. It's...my birthday." I scratched my head, confused as to how I remembered that. I couldn't remember my past, but I could remember my birthday. That must say something very profound about me.
"Do you remember anything else?" I could hear a tint of hopefulness in his voice.
I sighed, not wanting to disappoint him. "No, but I'm sure I will. Someday."
Unfortunately, he did seem to slump at the negative reply. He picked himself up, and stretched. "I need to run some more tests. I'll return shortly. Just hang around here for a bit, will ya?" He smiled at me, which I returned, and he walked out the door.
Looking around the room, I noticed a long mirror. Smiling evilly, I walked up to it.
Behind the girl's mirror, I sat, completely bored out of my mind. After Dad tried to pry out information, and failed, he returned here. I thought spying on her was invading her privacy, but, as usual, my voice didn't go far in the subject matter. Sighing, I rested my head on the table and peered at the girl, who appeared to smiling...evilly?
She walked up to the mirror, and began to fix her hair. She used both hands to press down her bangs, but tried to make the two hairs in the back stand up more. Weird...
The girl looked around the room a little bit, I guess to make sure no one was around. She looked at her wrist, and tapped it as though there was a watch there. Than, she began to shrink. She was pretending to be in an elevator. I lifted my head, and looked at her strangely.
She disappeared beneath the window/mirror sill. All of a sudden, she began to emerge from the left, growing as she walked across the long window. Stairs...I thought to myself, smiling.
She lifted her hands in exasperation, than turned around and walked back down the "stairs." And than she disappeared, once again.
She was still out of sight when the ducks in the room heard noises. Looking back at the window, the girl appeared in front of the window, elbows bent high and hands against her waist. She was imitating a chicken.
"Bruuuuuuuccccckk, buk buk buk, bruuuuuuucccccckk...BRUACK!" She continued to walk around in circles, occasionally bending her head down to "peck."
Uncle Bern and me began to laugh hysterically, while my dad began to ruffle through papers. "Mom?"
My mom was staring at the girl in shock, and it took a couple more "Moms" before she snapped out of her daze. "Yes, honey?"
"What'd you give her for breakfast?"
My mom thought for a few seconds before answering. "Cereal."
"What kind of cereal?"
"Um, that kind you used to like--"
"You gave her Chocolate-Frosted Sugar Bombs?!"
"Yeah, that's the name."
"And...how many bowls did she have?"
"I believe four."
"I can't even finish one before bouncing off the walls! That stuff has more sugar in one bowl than a whole box of Twinkies does!"
Just than, the girl began to hum to the tune of "Mission: Impossible." We looked out the window, and saw her holding an imaginary gun. She looked around cautiously, before quickly and slyly maneuvering across the window, constantly checking around to make sure that no "bad guys" were on her tail. She vanished to the other side for a couple seconds before jumping out and pointing the "gun" at the window. Apparently, she wasn't quick enough before she was "shot."
"Oh, the agony...the pain..." She grasped her heart before falling with a thump to the floor out of sight.
"Mildred, how could you do that?! I can't survey her while she's got five pounds of sugar in her system!" Joseph sighed wearily, laying back in his chair and tossing the clipboard onto the table.
"Well, dear, I'm sorry, but I figured the least we could do is let her eat what she wants! She hasn't led a very good life up 'til now, you know."
"No, I don't know! She doesn't remember anything! For all we know, she could be Julia Duckbert's long-lost daughter!" I could tell that Dad was getting irked...fast.
"Uh, guys?" Uncle Bern called from the front of the room.
"WHAT?!" Both Mom and Dad yelled back.
"I haven't seen the girl since her death act."
"What?!" Both walked to where Bern was sitting.
Everyone came closer to the window, trying to see whether or not the girl had escaped.
"BBBBWWWHHAHAHAHAHAHA!" The girl screamed, jumping up from underneath the window, hands up, and...two pens sticking out of her beak.
My dad yelped, instinctively hiding behind Mom, who screamed as well.
The girl obviously heard the motion, but never thought it came from the mirror. She looked around, confused, before returning to a witch's cackle and running around the room flailing her hands in the air above her head.
She ran around the room a couple times before stopping in front of the mirror. She looked at it for a minute, curiosity written across her face.
"I'm melting, meeeeeellllllttttttiiiiiiiinnnnnngggggg!" She began to shrink underneath the mirror/window again.
"I. Give. Up!" Dad stood up, sending the chair he was sitting in flying backwards. "Shamrock, take her on a tour of the building. We can't work on her while she's imitating every movie she's ever seen." With that, he grabbed his coat, and walked out.
The rest of the scientists looked back at the window.
"Zzzz...Zzzz." The girl poked out part of her head, showing that she moved the two pens from her mouth to the sides of her head. She began to fully emerge, pretending to fly around like a bug. "Bzzzzz! Bzzzzz!" She ran around the room, gaining momentum. She turned and headed straight for the mirror. "Bzzz-SMACK." She ran headlong into the mirror, slowly falling to the floor as she peeled herself off the window.
I smiled, than grabbed my journal and headed out the door.
I was having too much fun. Those Chocolate-Frosted Sugar Bombs did wonders to my hyper-ness. After my "bee" act, I slowly inched my way around the mirror and noticed a chain flowing along the wall, which led to the hanging light fixture in the center of the room. I yanked on it a couple times to make sure it would support my weight. Than I climbed up it. After I had made it over the mirror, I positioned myself into a sitting posture. Than, I swung backwards, my head appearing into the mirror. I began to make faces at myself.
The door suddenly hissed open, startling, me. I lost my balance and my legs lost grip of the chain. I yelped as I fell, landing on my back with a hard thud.
I heard some footsteps before I was peering into the yellow eyes of Shamrock.
"'Ello." I said before picking myself up.
"Would you like me to take you on a tour?" She asked, crossing her arms.
"Sure, why not!" I smiled, than began to skip to the door. "We're off to see the Wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Oz..."
She followed me out of the door and began to walk past me. I grabbed her arm, and she turned around.
I smiled, than threw my hands up to pretend I was holding a gun. My smile was erased by a serious expression, and I slowly walked down the hallway, back against the wall. I peered around a corner, to make sure no one was there, and than I turned and motioned Shamrock to follow me. At first she was reluctant, but than, after laughing, threw her hands up as well, and walked next to me.
I checked the corner again, and I began to slink my way over across the intersection.
I walked out the door, looking at the tests the nurse had given me on our Jane Doe. Mildred told me I needed to take a break and relax, but who would want to relax after perfecting years of work! I smiled, imagining next week's front-page headline:
JOSEPH BLUEFIRE AND ERNEST BERN BRING GIRL BACK TO LIFE!
I smiled, more smugly this time, until I heard the familiar tune of "Mission: Impossible." I looked over and saw at the end of the hall my miracle running across the intersection, hands holding a "gun". She was humming the tune she had hummed earlier in her room. I sighed, and realized I needed to stop Mildred from buying that cereal. After she made it across the hall junction, she gestured to someone from where she came. Shamrock peered around the corner, hands also pretending to hold a gun, and she skulked across the hallway, also humming the tune.
"Great DuCaine, what have I unleashed..." I murmured to myself, watching the two disappear to who-knows where. "I need more coffee." With that, I headed the opposite direction towards the cafeteria.
We crossed a few more intersections, staying in the same main hallway. Before I could cross again, Shamrock tapped me on the shoulder and whispered to make a left at the next crossing. I nodded, and tiptoed my way over, making sure to keep my back firmly pressed against the wall. Forgetting to check around the corner, I jumped out, pointing my fingers out in the shape of a gun. Unfortunately, someone was in my way. I ran into a large belly, ricocheting off and falling flat on my back.
"Hey, watch it there!" A low, husky voice said.
I looked up, still a little shocked, and saw the same patrol duck I saw earlier when I first woke up. "You know, it's not polite to take your half out of the middle."
"Hey, Earl!" Shamrock said, stepping in front of me in case Earl decided to get a little less than friendly.
"Who's the riff-raff?" He said, a little less irritation in his voice.
"Oh, her? This is...um...RosyRoo." Shamrock said. I looked up at her confused.
"Dad's experiment." Shamrock interrupted before I could say anything.
"Oh, well, keep her in line, will ya?" He walked around Shamrock and me, turning the corner and disappearing.
Shamrock offered me a hand up, and I took it gratefully. Once the dizziness cleared, I spoke up. "RosyRoo? Where the heck did ya get that?"
Shamrock grinned. "Your cheeks and the kangaroo necklace of yers."
"My cheeks ain't rosy!"
"They were when you were gettin' thawed."
"Oh." I thought for a few seconds. "RosyRoo...RosyRoo...I like it!" Smiling, I walked past her into the direction we were heading. "Where are we going, anyway?"
"Well, you've seen most of the labs, and I'm pretty sure you don't want to see bedrooms, so I thought we could take a quick look at the...kitchen.
"Food!" With that, we both began running, making turns here and there before Shamrock completely stopped, me bumping into her. She opened the door, and I barged in, hungrier than heck. Joseph was in there, pouring himself a cup of coffee. When he saw both of us, he quickly left. "So, where's the grub?"
"Do you like tea?" Shamrock asked, grabbing a canister out of the cupboard.
"EW! I hate tea! It's too hot and just...bleh!"
"No, not hot tea. I hate that too. I mean cold tea, like...Nestea." She put the canister down, and opened another cupboard, grabbing two glasses.
"Never had it." I stated, seating myself down at a nearby table.
"Well, here." Shamrock filled the two glasses with water, and brought them over to the table with the canister and two spoons. "Put as much in as you'd like. Usually, with these sized glasses, it takes about four spoonfuls." Shamrock opened the can, and began to put the brown, powdery substance into her water.
"Well, okay, I guess..." I took my spoon and began to place heaps of the Nestea into my water. I placed about six in before taking a sip. "Mmmm!" I said after a minute of swishing it around in my mouth.
"I know it is." Shamrock stated, taking another gulp from her cup.
I took another, larger sip, and continued to guzzle it down. Before I knew it, I was already done and refilling my glass with water for another cup.
Shamrock hadn't even gotten half down in her cup, and when she saw me getting up for seconds, I saw the look of horror on her face. If I could hear what she was thinking, she'd probably be saying to herself "what have I created?" I smiled, than returned to my seat with my second glass of water.
"You like your tea?" Shamrock asked, already knowing the answer.
Instead of saying yes, I decided to make things interesting. "I don't think we should call it 'tea.' Perhaps come up with our own way of saying it?" I looked at her, and she grinned.
"Alright. Any ideas?"
I thought about it for a minute. "How about tei?" (tei is pronounced like tay)
Shamrock thought about it, and than nodded. "Tei sounds good to me!"
I laughed, and lifted my glass. "We are the wonderers who say...tei!"
(Say it like the knights in "The Holy Grail"..."We are the knights who say...Ni!")
"How many times do I have to tell you, Joe, I don't remember my past! You've been asking me these same questions every month for the past nine months!" I yelled, irked that'd he continue this stupid thing.
"Look, Rosy, I know you don't like this. But I need to keep doing this. Repetition may help you recover anything that you can remember about your past." Joseph stated, leaning back in my recliner.
We were in my room again, and just like last month and the month before, Joe insisted that we have these meetings just to see if I could remember anything useful to my forgotten past. Although they were only once a month, these sessions lasted up to three hours of constant questions. It was worse than getting a pebble stuck in your shoe. And every time he asked these questions, he got the same answer.
"I. Don't. Remember! Get it through your thick skull!"
Joseph looked up at me, about as exasperated as I was. "If I stop, you'll never learn what happened to you."
Maybe I don't want to remember, I thought to myself. "Joe, do you know how it feels like to be a guinea pig? No? Well, guess what? I DO!" With that, I threw myself against the chair, slouching with my arms crossed.
"Perhaps you'd like to talk to someone your own age?" Joe asked, knowing I wouldn't answer his questions anymore.
"Sure." I'd prefer Shamrock any day to you.
Joe left the room, leaving the clipboard behind. Oh, he's gonna make Shamrock ask me these stupid questions. Great.
A minute later, Shamrock came in, obviously not thrilled at having to do this. We had become best friends in the last nine months. But the only way we kept that friendship was by forgetting about our pasts. She never told me hers, and I, of course, never told her mine. I don't see why she never said much, but I didn't pry since she didn't know much about mine.
She plopped herself onto the recliner, and took the clipboard. "This sucks."
"No kidding." I said. Joe had put me in a bad mood.
"Alright, let's just ask these questions and get them over with." Shamrock said, flipping through the pages.
I didn't want to go through the stupid questions. It was a waste of my time, and I was angry that Shamrock actually decided that we'd go through it. I thought that since no one was around, we could just talk a bit and forget about the whole thing. Already irked from her dad, this pretty much frosted my cake. I decided to take action.
"What kinda name is Shamrock, anyway?"
A little startled at the question, Shamrock looked up at me and began to defend herself. "What?!"
"I mean, come on, your parents could have come up with a better name than that."
"At least I have a name!"
"What? I got a name. RosyRoo. In fact, you made it..." I thought about it a moment. "It probably could be better..."
"At least it's better than what we used to call you."
"And what was that?"
"I don't see anything wrong with that."
Shamrock began to laugh. "Jane Doe is used to name unidentified, dead, female ducks."
Shamrock smiled smugly. "You know, Jane Doe fits you perfectly. Hard, cold, and dead in the head."
"THAT"S IT!" Our simple little argument just made a huge jump into the danger zone. I stood up, growling. Shamrock also stood up, towering over me more than just a few inches. I stood up on my chair to reach her at eye level. "Listen, you long-legged, tooth-picked shaped mangled cat, at least I don't have a pompous, old windbag for a dad!"
"Keep my dad out of this! He may be strict, but he takes care of me. I have a family here! You...you have NOTHING!"
That line hit me like a stab at my heart. She was right. I didn't have a family here. They took care of me not because they loved me, but because I was going to get them rich. In fact, I already had made them rich. I was thirteen, and I was famous. I wasn't famous for my talent, for my brains, or for my looks. I was famous because to them, I was a living, breathing, walking zombie.
Infuriated, I jumped at Shamrock, ready to rip her head off. Unfortunately, she had much better fighting skills than me at the time, and she sidestepped, sending me flying onto the floor and sliding into a wall.
Facing the mirror, she threw done the clipboard. "I'm not doing this anymore! I'm outta here." With that she turned and left my room. I slowly got up and walked to the mirror. I was so angry my tightened fists were turning purple. I looked at the mirror, and realized there was nothing for me here. In an attempt to release my fury, I threw my fist into the mirror, ready for the impact of glass, than wall. Instead, my arm flew through the mirror, sending half my body through as well. When I looked up, I saw an empty room with tables and chairs.
"They've been watching me?!"
I ran over to the door, locking it. I was so angry that they had been watching me this entire time, and no one even gave me the courtesy of warning me. That's why Shamrock tried to ask me the questions. We weren't alone. They had been watching the whole scene unfold through the window. I sat on the edge of my bed, pondering the fact that I had never had a private life since I woke up in this hellhole nine months prior. Jolting out of my dazed fashion, I thumped over to my dressing table, pulling out every drawer. They jerked out of their placements, falling unpleasantly to the floor. But I didn't care. I picked the remaining clothes out of them, throwing them into the duffel bag I had stole from Joe and Mildred's room. All I wanted to do was get out of here. Fast.
I threw some non-essential toiletries into the bag, than zipped it shut. It wasn't even near half full, but it was enough to get me to DuCaine Metropolis. I walked out of my room, heading toward the kitchen. But when I stepped out, I realized that if anyone saw me, they'd lock me up. And that would put a major cramp in me getting outta 'ere. Looking around cautiously, I finally saw my escape route.
The air ducts.
I silently slid a chair underneath one of the vents outside my room, than lifted off the grate. I picked up my duffel bag, quickly shoving it inside, but leaving enough room for me to squeeze through. Taking one last quick glance around, I hauled myself into the cramped corridor, than slid the grating back on, leaving nothing out of place...except for the chair in the middle of the hall. Someone's going to be pleasantly surprised...I attempted to smile, but failed utterly. Oh well. Next stop, the cafeteria!
A half hour later, I found myself exiting the vents via the back wall of the building. It was a tight fit, but I squeezed through. The duffel bag was another story.
It had grown in size tremendously since my last rendezvous at the kitchen. I had stocked up on food to supply me for whatever was ahead. It was hard enough to move through the vents, not to mention pulling it out since the vent openings were a great deal smaller. I yanked as hard I could, putting my full weight against the opposing force. Without warning, it gave way, and I flew backwards with a massive heap landing on my stomach.
"Ouch..." I grimaced, and stood up a little shakily. I threw the heavy bag over my shoulder, nearly losing balance in the process, and started to slowly make my way to the forest about 40 yards away.
It took me fifteen minutes to reach my destination. As I entered the dense forest, I took one look back at what I was leaving behind. I sighed, than returned to what was to come, never looking back again.
I had been walking for about ten minutes when I heard a sound. I couldn't identify it, but it sounded like ice being shredded. It was a smooth swish, and it seemed to be coming from an area not to far off from the path. Taking my chances, I headed that way, using my ears to guide me.
As I came dangerously close to the sound, I dropped my duffel bag and made my way to the clearing up ahead. I pushed myself forward, moving away the last bush. Once there, I saw Shamrock, apparently skating on a fairly large pond. It was a gorgeous area, surrounded by trees, yet open to the sky above. Until today, I had never been into the woods by the laboratory. Sure, I'd gone to every other major city on Puckworld, but never here. This place held tranquility, whereas every other place I've gone had been crowded with people. Even my room wasn't safe, as I once thought it had. Keeping out of sight, I watched her.
She was obviously a good skater. She did twirls and spins, and she always seemed to be on her toes. I watched her as she continually skated faster and faster, taking less time to cool down after each jump. She was skating like she was angry. I guess it's her way of letting out her emotions. I smiled slightly. Kinda like how I destroyed that mirror. I released my anger through energy, just like Shamrock did, but mine usually concluded with something breaking.
She skated for a few minutes longer, before, to my surprise, she stopped abruptly. She quickly got off the ice, leaving her jacket on the floor. I watched as she exited the area through a small path opposite the pond from where I crouched.
I waited for a few seconds longer, curious as to where she had gone. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a hand grabbed the back collar of my coat and jerked me up to my feet. It turned me around, and I realized it was Shamrock who was holding me.
"Oh, it's you." She let go of me, more or less relieved, I could feel, and made her way back to the pond.
A little nervous, I decided to break the awkward silence. "Since when did you know how to skate?" I walked closer to her, but made sure not to touch the ice. I had a very intense fear of falling into it. Gee, I wonder why, I thought sarcastically to myself.
" Since when did you learn to break out of the lab without being caught?" She contradicted, beginning to skate along the edges of the frozen sheet.
"Oh, I have my ways." I simply stated, not wanting to get off subject. I sighed a little. I always hated being the one to bring up bad memories. "I'm...sorry for what I said earlier...about your dad. He's just been getting on my nerves lately."
"Get in line," Shamrock finally said after a minute of silence. She did a quick twirl before returning down to a slow pace. I saw her sigh, than stop in front of me. "I'm sorry too. I didn't mean what I said earlier, about you...having nothing. It's not true. You're considered like family, just like I am. In a way, you're like my sister."
"What do you mean?"
"Huh? I mean that you're like family to everyone at the--"
"Nonono. I mean what you said about how I'm considered family just like you are. You are family, so how could you be considered anything else?"
"Oh." Shamrock rubbed her arm absently, looking at the ground. It took her a minute before either gathering up what she was going to say, or how she was going to say it. "I'm not a Bluefire."
"I mean that I'm adopted. I was found in their lab at age 3 wandering around. When no one claimed me, and they couldn't find out where I came from, they kept me."
"That's why you don't look like Milly or Joe." I realized something than. "Was that why you were defensive when I mentioned your name? Was that the only thing you have left of your past?"
Shamrock laughed at that. "No, my name came from the two brilliant people you call Milmaid and The Jolly Green Giant." At the sound of the nicknames I give her parents, I had to grin. She smiled too and began to skate again, with much less force. "I probably shouldn't have even defended that. For years I've been insulting my parents on their talented choice."
"So..." I decided whether to say what I wanted to. "We on good terms?"
"Yeah..." Shamrock stopped and scooped up a ball of snow. "For now." With that, she heaved the snowball at me, and, too startled to move, I got hammered.
"AGGGGGHHHHH! It's running down my shirt!" I squirmed frantically, trying to get the wet clump out of my shirt. Finally achieving my goal, I gave a death stare at the girl rolling over laughing on the ice. "If you weren't on the ice I'd kill you!"
I was about to make a snowball myself when the ground began to rumble. Shocked, I fell on my butt. "What's...going...on?!" My voice was bounced along with the shaking ground, and I still couldn't figure out where it was coming from.
"Hey...look!" I barely heard Shamrock's voice over the loud reverberating coming from all around me. But I looked to where Shamrock was pointing, and my face grew into an expression of horror. A fleet of blood red, oversized rocket ships loomed over us, slowly making there way toward DuCaine Metropolis. Suddenly, a wave of reminiscence washed over me.
I was walking down a blinding white path, a small cottage making its way into view. As I advanced closer, a trail of blood stained the white blanket. I followed the trail, not knowing why. I followed it to the other side of the cottage, where I discovered two slain bodies surrounded by red snow. Instinctively I screamed, and the memory died as quickly as it came.
"RUN!" I yelled to Shamrock, who, during my flashback, had made her way over to me, despite the fighting ground.
"What are they?!" Shamrock hollered back, holding a tree for support as she slipped off the blades of her shoes.
"Saurians." I was shocked at my own voice: cold and serious.
Apparently, Shamrock wasn't interested as to how I said it, but as to what I said. "WHAT?! How can that be? Drake DuCaine locked them away in Dimensional Limbo thousands of years ago! And even that was a legend! There's no proof that these reptilians ever existed!" Shamrock obviously sounded disbelieving.
"Believe me, they're real! Now get over here!" I grabbed her arm, and yanked her into the protective covering of the dense vegetation.
"How do you know? You've been awake for what? Nine months?" Shamrock looked at me, and her expression became serious. "Are you remembering something?"
"Yes..." I winced a little, remembering the scene that came before my eyes. All of a sudden, another flashback erupted, and I remember grabbing a tree for support before totally losing my surroundings.
I blinked hard, and when I opened my eyes I saw that I was running down a hill. I watched as a little boy was being dragged into a massive, red ship by two drones.
"Nooooooooo!" I screamed without thought, rushing as fast as I could toward the boy.
Just as I began to fall, the child screamed, "Look out for the ice!" Before disappearing into a blue abyss. I found myself suddenly surrounded by ice-cold water. The bubbles I saw from my shattering yells faded into nothing but a black world.
"Rosy? Rosy!" Shamrock had been shaking me, and finally I was able to respond.
"Hmm, wha-? Er, sorry." I shook my head, and let go of the tree I had been embracing painfully.
"The ships have passed." Shamrock stated, and I noticed that we weren't yelling to each other. They could still be heard in a distance, but the ground had ceased to move.
"How many were there? Did you see?" I asked, cautiously looking for any more signs of trouble.
"Six or seven. Ten at the most." Shamrock sighed, looking wearily up at the sky. "But there were much more than that. I saw hundreds of red dots spotting the sky in the distance."
"Way too many to just be grabbing slaves." I looked toward the now smoke-covered skies, shaking my head in distaste.
"How do you know all this stuff?"
I looked at her with a wave of confusion. "I...have been having flashbacks."
"For how long?"
"Well..." I gestured to the sky, "For about ten minutes."
Shamrock glanced away for a second, thinking, and than returned her gaze towards me. "Slaves...if they are not here for slaves than what would they be going for?" An expression of dreadfulness wiped across her face. "You don't think--?"
Shamrock and RosyRoo treaded their way down the path that led back to the laboratory. They feared the worst. Out of nowhere, a sudden sound of gears shifting in a mechanical fashion came from not but fifty feet away. The sound originated from their home. Intuitively, the two teenagers took a passage that led off the main path. Staying down low, the girls made their way close to the field making sure as to not be seen. Two blood-tinted drones could be seen moving things into one of the smaller ships of the Saurians'. None of the girls could see what they were guiding, but all they knew that it wasn't good. The drones came back out of the ship, letting the hanger close behind them. The aircraft started up and took off into the black-colored sky, leaving the drones to walk on foot toward DuCaine Metropolis.
Unknowingly, Shamrock half-ran toward the building, RosyRoo reluctantly following behind. Rounding the corner of their dwelling, they aimed their eyes toward the front doors. They had been torn from their hinges and were demolished. Security alarms were blaring from within the lab. Shamrock placed her hand on the control panel to end the infernal noise but pulled her hand back instantly. On the numbers, each was soaked in red, thick blood. Shamrock looked at it in horror, but punched in the numbers hurriedly. Jogging into the halls they traveled into different rooms, yelling the many different names of the scientists. Speeding into one room, they found Earl's lifeless body slouching in a desk chair, with the look of death in his eyes. Shamrock and RosyRoo slumped in pain. There were three other bodies in the room, but none them could be recognized because their faces were mauled and distorted. Streaks of blood made by desperate hands were slashed all over the gray-crinkled walls. Shamrock tentatively took steps back and ran down the halls, calling her mother and father's names. RosyRoo followed as well, pleading in her mind that they were all right. RosyRoo had never felt so close to people she thought of as family until now. The teens sprinted down the many halls, calling the scientists' names.
Shamrock came into one of the labs, and looked with dismay in her tear soaked eyes. There, her mother lay dead on the ground with her throat slashed. Shamrock came closer to her mother sobbing silently. RosyRoo stood at the doorway, watching as her friend bawled. Shamrock, even though it was futile, checked her mother's pulse, receiving none. She stood up slowly, wiping the tears from her eyes, and walked over toward the numerous lab coats that hanged on the wall. Grabbing one of them, she draped it over her mother's still body. In moments, the white coat was bathed in blood. Shamrock looked up toward RosyRoo, eyes glazed over with sorrow.
"We have to find the others..." Shamrock said in a choked, hurtful voice.
RosyRoo nodded, feeling absolutely helpless in the situation. She wanted nothing more than to stop the pain that enveloped her and her friend. But she couldn't do anything. She stood silent for a minute trying to find her voice. "I'll search the west wing."
Shamrock walked past her without acknowledgement and sauntered down toward the east wing. RosyRoo watched in grief as her friend disappeared around the corner. Sighing wearily, RosyRoo made her way to the west, terrified to what she might find. Mournfully, RosyRoo treaded into the long hall lined with bedroom doors. Looking into each one she found no one, but each of the rooms had been trashed. Papers were sprawled throughout the quarters and desks were over-turned as well as beds. What upset RosyRoo the most were the laser scorch marks that spread throughout the walls and the spots of blood here and there. She shook her head to erase the images and tried to focus her mind on her goal.
I need to find Joe...alive. Please be alive. She prayed to the ceiling. Continuing through the search of the bunking quarters, RosyRoo came dangerously closer to Joe and Mildred's room. Standing in front of the door, RosyRoo observed the gold plaque that read "Bluefire" hanging only on one hinge, causing it to slant downward. Oh Drake no...please no, please no, please no...
RosyRoo reluctantly opened the door, but remained in the doorway and gawked at what she saw. There she found Joe slouched in the back corner of the room. His head hanged low with his glasses slipping off his beak. She ran over to him, begging that he was alive, but only to find a trail of blood leading out of his abdomen. He had been shot with a laser at close range.
"Oh Great DuCaine, no..." She checked his pulse, and found none. From that point on, all hope seemed to have vanished. "I'm...I'm sorry for what I said. But I guess that doesn't matter that much anymore...Drake rest your soul." With that said, RosyRoo went to the bed, pulled off the blanket, and placed it over the still form in the corner of the room. When she turned to leave, she found Shamrock standing in the doorway.
"I know. I saw."
"I'm really sorry..." Tears began to swell in RosyRoo's eyes, and she couldn't hold them back any longer. She burst out crying, the first time since she had retuned home only to find it in ruins. Shamrock came up to RosyRoo and hugged her tightly. Both girls cried on each other's shoulders, remembering the faces of the past.
"How do you know that they'll come back?" Shamrock asked while wrapped up in a blanket on the foot of her bed. The girls had moved themselves into Shamrock's bedroom, seeing as though her room was the only room not in disarray.
"I'm positive. Even though the flashbacks have vanished, I still have the remembrance of some of my past. I had a little brother and parents. I had gotten into an argument with my brother, and I left on a walk into the nearby forest. When I came back, I had found my mother and father slain. My brother was being taken into a Saurian ship just like the one we saw earlier. I ran towards him and the ship only to find myself falling into an ice-covered river. I was pulled by the fast current into a lonely pond; I tried swimming toward the top only to find it covered with sheets of ice. As I lost my breath I guess I had screamed my brother's name, even though I knew he wouldn't hear it. That's why I looked so depressed when you saw me in my icy tomb."
Shamrock sighed, her mind wandering. "I'm sorry. I am. But right now, there's nothing we can do...or could have done." RosyRoo knew that she wasn't just talking about her past. Shamrock shifted somewhat, and wrapped the blanket tighter around her shoulders. "So, what are we going to do?"
"We can't stay here," RosyRoo began.
"Or we'll end up duck soufflé." Shamrock finished. "Where are we going to go? We can't go to DuCaine Metropolis."
"Even as speak they're taking over all of Puckworld. The only place that'll be unguarded and secure from the Saurians and drones would be--"
They looked at each other for a minute, realizing just how deep they were in.
"We have to get out of here. I left my duffel bag back at the pond-"
"Midnight Emeralds." Shamrock corrected.
"Oh-kay, I left my duffel bag back at Midnight Emeralds. There are supplies in there, but nothing that'll last more than a couple of days."
"Hmmm...alright, I'll go get my bag and fill it up with some stuff."
"We will definitely need to grab the first-aid. No telling what might happen out there in the woods, or on our way there."
RosyRoo came down the hall that led to her room. Barely even touching the iron door with her finger, it fell to the floor with a bang. Her room was destroyed, and her bed was thrown to the other side of the room. The walls were charred, all of the posters were now burnt to a crisp, and the pictures of Shamrock and the other scientists were melting and dissolving. Glancing around, RosyRoo found broken glass sprawled all over the ground. The mirror had been totally smashed, revealing the lab on the other side. The computers and cameras were pounded into a pulp, letting the sparks fly as if the computer wanted to still be alive. Sighing at the sight of her room, RosyRoo made her way towards her over-turned bed and grabbed the pillow. She peeled off the pillowcase and started to walk out the door. Stopping at the doorway she looked back with tear-soaked eyes. Memories had flashed in her mind, and she remembered the many times that she and Shamrock sat on her bed and talked about their lives. She remained at the doorway, allowing the images to develop. She sighed in sadness and walked down the hall, wanting so much to just run back into the ice to stop her pain.
She made her way towards the nearby lab. It, too, was demolished. Papers blanketed the ground, covering the blood soaked tile. Gazing around she saw that each of the computers were torn apart and the monitors were blown-up. The gray walls were now spotted with black soot and red blood. RosyRoo wanted so much to just go back in time and warn the scientists of this, but sadly she knew that it wouldn't be possible. Making her way towards the overturned desk, she searched through the mangled drawers for anything that would be of use. There she found a small first-aid kit and some lollipops. She stood and was about to walk out the door when she noticed something very familiar about the room. It had pictures of all of the scientists, but the majority was of the Bluefire's and Ernest. It was a child's kind of room; it had old hockey gear mounted on the wall, including hockey pucks with different team emblems and old hockey sticks. Suddenly it finally hit RosyRoo that this was Ernest's office. A look of shock came over RosyRoo's face. Oh no...please...;not him too. RosyRoo held back her tears and grabbed her pillowcase, as well as a few more extra items: a few old coats, extra pairs of shoes and socks, and some winter gloves. RosyRoo then ran down the hall towards Shamrock's room to tell her what she had just found out.
Shamrock closed her bedroom door after Rosy had ventured out to find the first aid. Taking in a deep breath, she walked to her closet and rummaged through until she found her old camping bag. Emptying the remaining contents out of it, she threw it on top of her bed and began to place some clothes into it. When she finished with that, she walked over to her nightstand and opened the drawer. She placed her hand into it and pulled out her journal. Staring at it's crumpled edges from years of use, she rubbed her fingers over its surface, feeling the textured cover. The memories came back all too quickly, and she shoved the book into one of the bag's pockets. Tear stains still visible in her eyes, Shamrock made her way to the bathroom.
When she was done filling her bag with necessities from her room, the bathroom, and the kitchen, Shamrock made her way to her parents' bedroom. When she entered, she shut her eyes quickly when they glanced upon a figure draped in a blood-spotted sheet in the corner of the room. Turning her entire body away from the area, she walked over to the dresser. She opened the bottom left drawer, and pulled out a metal box. She laid it on top of the bureau, and returned her gaze toward the still body. Cautiously, Shamrock made her way next to it. Holding back the pang in her heart, she lifted the sheet partway to reveal the left side of the duck. Tears began to spill again, but Shamrock kept her body still as she reached into the lab coat's pocket. She retrieved a set of keys, and quickly replaced the sheet in its original position. Taking in a deep breath of relief, Shamrock returned to the metal box. She fumbled with the keys for a second, her hands shaking slightly. Once she found the one she was looking for, she placed it into the fused lock attached to the case. It was a magnet key, and a small click was heard before the lid popped open automatically. Inside laid bound volumes covered by a blue velvet cover. Gingerly lifting it out of its resting-place, Shamrock flipped through a couple of pages. Inside held all of her parents' research. It had everything, from simple physic equations to the information on Joe's theory about death. Hugging the large book, Shamrock placed it in her tote and made her way back to her room to find RosyRoo.
"I don't know. I thought you knew."
"No. You know this area better than I do."
"But you're the one who 'seems' to know what the heck is goin' on with the Saurians."
"Yeah, well, I knew we had to get away. I didn't know WHERE we were supposed to get away to. I don't know these woods like you do."
"I can tell you for a fact that I haven't gone any farther than Midnight Emeralds."
"Well, there's a new time for everything. Let's go."
"What are we supposed to do? Walk around until we find a Motel 6?"
"I don't know, last I heard the rents were pretty cheap."
"But they don't have room service."
"Well, on to plan B."
"And what would that be?"
"If all else fails, become one with the woods."
"Thank you, Robin Hood."
The sun began to set, and the two moons of Puckworld were beginning to make their appearance. Shamrock and RosyRoo continued to walk deeper into the woods, avoiding any lights they saw in the distance.
"I do not!"
"Please...after all the times you stayed the night in my room? YES. You. Do."
"Shamrock! I DO NOT SNORE!"
"Yes you do."
"No! I! Do! NOT! Not not not not n-WHOA!" RosyRoo slipped on an ice-covered log, falling flat on her face into the dirt. A muffled voice arose from her. "I rupea: I dom't smore."
Shamrock helped RosyRoo peel herself off the floor and began to walk ahead of her. RosyRoo took a minute to dust herself off before following.
"Oh, and by the way."
RosyRoo took her gaze off the ground.
"Yes you do."
"AGGGGHHHH! DANG YOU!"
"Uggghhh, Shamrock, I'm tired! We've been walking for four straight hours!"
"Yeah, well, we need to find someplace warm to sleep. Puckworld ain't to friendly during the winter."
"But it's gettin' dark! We wouldn't see Puckworld's Paradise Resort if it were five inches in front of our beaks!"
"Well, it shouldn't be too lo- WHACK!" Shamrock slammed into something hard in front of her. "-ng now. Oy, that hurt."
RosyRoo continued to walk forward until she ran into Shamrock. "What happened?"
"There's...a wall in front of me." There were some shuffling noises before she spoke up again. "There all around us!"
"Wha? What do you-SMACK!" RosyRoo had turned to her right, only to find it barricaded. "Ouch..."
"Okay, turn around, and head back the way we came."
"Alright." RosyRoo did so. She took a couple steps back the way they came, and found herself no longer confined. A cold breeze whipped her hair.
Shamrock found her way out as well, and began to rummage through her large bag.
"What are you doing?" RosyRoo couldn't see Shamrock, but she could hear her.
"I'm looking for my flashlight."
"But won't that attract the attention of potential predators?" RosyRoo wasn't only referring to the drones.
"I know. But I want to see what was that thing we went into. It was warmer in there, I know that. And anyway, were deep enough in the forest. No one will see the light." Shamrock stood up, and clicked on her flashlight.
"Wah! Blinded by the light!" RosyRoo covered her eyes when the glare hit her face.
"Whoops! Heh heh, sorry." Shamrock turned the flashlight to the area they had come from. The light reflected off a rather large tree. In the center of the tree was a hole; the same hole Shamrock and RosyRoo had found themselves in just moments prior.
"Now that's a monster of a tree."
"No kidding." Shamrock walked into the hole, using the flashlight to check out the surroundings. "Hey, look! This hollow part reaches up to the trees above."
RosyRoo followed Shamrock into the hole, and peered up. From where she was standing, she could see the sky above, as well as tree branches to climb.
"Think this'll be a good place to stay? Just for the night, at least?"
"Sounds good to me." RosyRoo heaved herself up through the hole, and began to climb tree branches until she found one large enough to lie down on. Shamrock followed in her example and found a tree branch to the right and a little lower than RosyRoo's. They each got into comfortable sleeping positions, using their bags for pillows.
"It's going to get cold." Shamrock stated, curling tighter into the coat she had draped over her.
"Yeah, but we might as well make the best of this. We're safe from any wild critters or Saurians, this place is a little warmer and will shield us from any bad weather, we'll have a chance tomorrow to find someplace better or fix this place up, and..." RosyRoo paused for a couple seconds, "We're better off than the people in DuCaine Metropolis right now."
There was a friendly silence for a couple minutes while each of the friends were absorbed in their own thoughts. Five minutes passed before someone spoke up.
"Don't let the bedbugs bite."
"Don't kid about that."
Each fell asleep quickly, allowing their minds to drift away from reality and enter the world of pleasant dreams.
"Heads up!" RosyRoo called from atop a tall tree branch.
"Whoa!" Shamrock dodged a mangple (cross-over of a mango and apple) that careened passed her. "Watch it, there!"
"Well, eXCuuuuuuse me! From up here, you look like a gray hairball!"
"I resent that!"
"I'm sure you do. Here comes another one!" RosyRoo picked another one, which was about the size of a bowling ball and dropped it. This time Shamrock was able to catch it using her coat as a net.
"Hey, you caught it! FINALLY! I'd prefer not to eat fruit that's been smashed into the dirt."
"I think this'll be enough to last us through lunchtime Rosy." Shamrock looked over at the other ones she was able to catch: five.
"Alright, comin' down!" RosyRoo began to hop down each branch, using some to step on, others to grasp. Suddenly she stopped.
"What's up?" Shamrock looked up at the still girl still in the trees, shading her eyes from the bright sun.
"Something red this way comes!"
"WHAT?!" Shamrock looked over where RosyRoo was looking, but saw nothing. But that didn't mean there was nothing there. "Where is it? Rosy! We need to get outta here!"
"It's limping! We need to help it!"
"WHAT?!" Shamrock shrieked again. "We are not going to help a drone! ARE YOU NUTS?!"
"Who says it's a drone? Meet you there!" RosyRoo began to hop from branch to branch toward the direction she saw the creature.
"Not a drone?" Relieved, yet still anxious about helping any kind of animal, Shamrock reluctantly followed RosyRoo on ground.
Because the forest was so dense, trees were very close together with many overlapping branches. Thanks to this, Rosy continued to advance toward the limping creature by hopping along the limbs. She stopped when she found herself above the animal, and slowly began to descend. When she was about twenty feet above it, she could see what it was. A tyke (dog) in the woods? How'd he get here? RosyRoo made the last few jumps down to the ground. When she did so, she startled the small tyke and it began to growl at her.
"Whoaaa, easy boy. I'm not gonna hurt you. Now, what's wrong with yer leg?" RosyRoo approached the dog in a friendly manner, extending her hand so that it may sniff her and realize that she didn't mean any harm. It did so, and it stopped growling. She patted its head while she examined the wound on his leg. Unable to distinguish what made the marks, RosyRoo took in the rest of the tyke's appearance.
His shoulders were up to RosyRoo's knees. He had black fur on the top of his back that faded into a dark red around his stomach and legs. His pointy ears and bushy tail implied to Rosy that this was a hunting dog, usually used to track rabbits and squirrels. He had pitch-black eyes, along with a short snout that ended in a light pink nose. There was no collar or identification on him. He looked bony, as if he hadn't eaten in days, and the wound on his leg looked pretty recent. RosyRoo continued to pet him, and looked into his eyes. He was weary.
"Rosy?" Shamrock came through the clearing, and saw the dog. "How'd a little thing like him get this deep in the woods?" She walked over to him, and began to pet him as well.
"I don't know. There's no identification on him. But he's hurt. Look." RosyRoo pointed to his front-left leg, which Shamrock examined.
"These are laser scorches."
"Are they bad?"
"No, just burned his tissue. It should heal by itself if cared for appropriately."
"Are they from the drones?"
"I don't know. My guess would be yes. I don't see why any duck would want to shoot a tyke."
"So they did invade..."
"Can you carry him?"
"Of, course. No problemo."
"Come on, then. Let's get that leg bandaged up and get him some food. He looks starved."
"Alright. Come on boy, up you go." RosyRoo gently lifted up the tyke, grunting in the process. "Ooo boy, you're a heavy one." She slowly began to follow Shamrock back to the tree.
"What should we call him?"
"Hmm, I don't know. You found him, so you get the pleasure." Shamrock looked over at the sleeping tyke. They had bandaged up his leg and fed him some of the fruit they had. He needed meat, and they knew it, but the fruit would have to do until they could catch something for him.
"I don't know. How about Bingo?"
"You got to be kidding me."
"Alright then...I don't know! Maybe name him..." She looked over at the sleeping tyke, trying to find something unique about him in his appearance that would be a suitable name. His black eyes, pointy ears, bushy tail, black and rust-colored fur... "Wait a minute! How 'bout Rusty?"
Shamrock looked over at the tyke and smiled. "That's a good name. Hey, Rusty!" The tyke didn't stir. "Well, I guess it'll take a little getting used to."
"Well, ready to go?" RosyRoo shifted her backpack.
"Well then, let's get moving!"
It had been six months since the two had found refuge in the woods. Depending on their own instincts for survival, the two used the vegetation around them to feed on, and Rusty, whose leg had healed quite nicely, was able to hunt his own food again. With each passing week, Shamrock and Rosy kept track of time in Shamrock's journal. The tree they found six months before had been their home. Using what tools they had, they fixed the area up to provide warmth and protection against Mother Nature, as well as the many living things that roam her land. As winter grew into summer on Puckworld, food was easier to find, and blizzards didn't haunt them each night. Although it was still cold, it was better than what had been.
Within the first few weeks of their arrival, they had traced their steps back to the lab to see what had come of it and to see if they could get some more supplies. However, upon reaching the area after a days walk, they found nothing but ashes in place of Puckworld Technologies. Both were grief-stricken, but they had agreed that it was the right way to honor the scientists who once worked so tediously there. Shamrock had walked up to the ashes and dropped a silver rose (which was a common flower on Puckworld) on it.
During those six months, both teens were tortured with the constant sounds of large explosions at night. They knew it came from the city, and they knew the Saurians had control over their people. But what could they do? They prayed each day that their kind would overcome the Saurians, and that they would be able to live without fear. They worked past the pain they faced everyday through jokes. They waited for the day that they could walk along the streets of DuCaine Metropolis and smile at other faces, knowing that they had defeated the Saurians. This race that had been enemies with Puckworldians for so long that their hatred for each other was ancient before the time of Drake DuCaine. To be able to destroy them in vengeance of the ones who were lost was all the willpower they needed to overthrow their adversary. And that was what Shamrock and RosyRoo had lived on. Sheer willpower.
During the last few weeks, explosions had ceased at night. Instead of firepower ending the day, Shamrock and RosyRoo were able to here the silent night, along with the normal hum of life that surrounded them in the woods. This cease of barrage during the nights had raised the hopes of the girls. Perhaps it meant that the Saurians were gone. Anxious to find out, but fearful of being wrong, the two waited for two more weeks to see if the explosions would resume.
And now it was time to go home.
The trip to DuCaine Metropolis was a fifteen-mile hike. But it was a promising trip. On their way there, they saw Puckworld ships flying overhead. All signs of raptors were gone, and they had seen no drones. Although, they hadn't seen any other ducks, for that matter, either.
But that didn't break their hopes. They continued to walk through the heavy snow, happier than they had ever been before the invasion. They had two miles to go, and Shamrock and RosyRoo were getting very eager.
"The first thing I want to do when we get there is buy a nice, fat, round, chocolate donut."
"Screw that! I'm getting a chocolate mousse! Topped with hot fudge..." RosyRoo licked her beak, "and a pile of strawberries soaking in whipped cream!"
Rusty playfully growled, barked, and hopped around on his feet.
"I think someone can't wait to sink his teeth into a nice, juicy, T-bone steak."
Rusty barked again and started to lick his chops.
"So, how much money do we have?"
Shamrock smiled. "Enough to keep us going for about a month."
"So, what are we going to do?"
"I guess get a job. We need to find someway to--" Shamrock glanced at RosyRoo, and backtracked quickly. "May I ask something?"
"You just did."
"Well, than I'll ask another. Why are you dressed like a guy?"
"I didn't want adults to think that I'm some scrawny, midget girl that ain't worth nothin'." RosyRoo jumped in front of Shamrock and pointed to herself. "Meet your little brother, Roscoe!"
"Oh, Drake DuCaine..."
"What? You don't like it?"
"NO! We look nothing alike! How do you expect ducks to believe that you're my little brother?" Shamrock paused for a minute. "How do you expect me to believe that you're my little brother?!"
RosyRoo began to speak in a very low voice, not like her own. "You took after ma, and I took after pa. Got it?"
Shamrock stared at RosyRoo dumbfounded. "Rosy--"
"Roscoe. Tha name's Roscoe," Roscoe smiled evilly, "sister." Roscoe turned around and began to trot ahead with Rusty right by her, er, his, side.
"What did I do to deserve this?" Shamrock asked no one in particular.
When Shamrock, Roscoe, and Rusty entered DuCaine Metropolis, the city was in ruins. But, there were no more Saurians. Ducks were found around the city, cleaning up rubble, opening what few shops remained, and roaming the streets freely. That made both girls grin. Things were still screwed up, but they were free. Although neither Roscoe nor Shamrock experienced the worst of the invasion, they knew what it felt like to be free.
They walked slowly down the streets, observing their surroundings. The DuCaine statue had been destroyed, but it was in the process of being rebuilt, along with what appeared to be seven other statues around DuCaine Square. Families were lined up in front of stores, trying to receive the free food being served on the main streets. Kids were playing in the snow, couples as well as families were skating together, and everybody seemed to be smiling and laughing.
The two girls continued to walk down the street until they came across a newspaper stand. Shamrock picked one up and tossed a coin to the duck sitting next to them. They than continued to walk as Shamrock began reading.
"According to this, the Saurian overlord was chased off Puckworld by a Strike team 4 weeks ago. Without a leader, the rest of the Resistance easily defeated the other Saurians. Than another two weeks were spent cleaning up the major damage."
"Wait, who's the Resistance and the Strike team?"
"Well, hold on..." Shamrock was quiet for a couple minutes while she read the rest of the article, as well as a couple others. "Okay, well, when the Saurians attacked, we were unprepared."
"Are you going to let me finish?"
Shamrock gave Roscoe an evil glare before continuing. "As I was saying, we were unprepared. The Saurians with all their high-tech weapons and their powers from being a race descended of magical ancestors gave them a very big head start. They killed millions of ducks, and put the rest in concentration camps to make them do their bidding. Meanwhile, escapees and ducks that didn't get captured, like us, began to group together. However, the most they could do was destroy drones, steal supplies, and basically become a thorn in Dragaunus' side."
"Wait, who's Drag-Draggy, er, whatever the heck you said?"
"It's Dragaunus. And he would've been the last of the Saurian overlords."
"Oh. Okay. You may continue."
"Why, thank you. Okay, so basically they were just a thorn in his side. However, unknown to Dragaunus, the Resistance was more than that. During their little "outings" they were able to gather information vital to the security of the raptors. With the info they could take out the leader, which was the weakness in the Saurian line. Without the leader, the Saurians would be unsure of what to do. So all the Resistance needed was a small Strike force to find Dragaunus' ship and take him out. But it wasn't that easy. Dragaunus had a cloaking device, which hid him and his palace out of sight. His ship would be there, but it would be disguised as a mountain or some other lame thing to the naked eye."
"So how'd they find Draggy?"
"Remember the Drake DuCaine legend?"
"Do you remember the mask?"
"Yeah, it was the only thing able to penetrate--"
"The Saurians' powers."
"The mask is real?"
"Yep. Apparently, the duck in charge of creating the strike force, Canard Thunderbeak, found it in a mountain called Twin Beaks."
"What happened next?"
"Well, after he created his strike force, which consisted of..." Shamrock shuffled through the newspapers until she came across the article she was looking for. "Canard, Wildwing and Nosedive Flashblade, Mallory McMallard, Duke L'Orange, Tanya Vanderflock, and Grin."
"Just says Grin."
"Oh-kay. Whatever. So, how'd they get rid of Draggy-poo?"
"Well, when they broke into his palace, they blew up the main engines, causing the entire palace to blow up."
"Did they all die?"
"No. Dragaunus escaped in a smaller ship, which would've been a raptor, and the seven ducks followed in a ship called the Aerowing, which was built by the Resistance. Dragaunus opened up a dimensional gateway to--"
"How'd he do that?"
"I don't know. Guess it's partly the power of the Saurians and the fact that they were much more advance in technology than what we are."
"So the ducks follow him into the dimensional gateway, and they disappear. They nor Dragaunus have been seen since."
Shamrock and Roscoe stopped what they were doing when they realized they were in a dark alley.
"How'd we get here?"
"I dunno...wrong turn?"
Suddenly a bunch of laughs erupted from a dark passageway behind Shamrock and Roscoe. Both girls peered into the dark area, trying to get a fix on who had chuckled.
A pair of brilliant blue eyes met their gaze.
To Be Continued...
Notes from the authors:
Chocolate-Frosted Sugar Bombs is © Bill Watterson, creator of Calvin and Hobbes!
Shamrock: The best comic strip in the world!
Rosy: Next to Peanuts, that is.
"We are the knights who say Ni!" © Monty Python and the Holy Grail the movie
The last names of the original six is © Rebecca, although I've seen lots of fanfics with the same last names, so...I'm not sure who is the creator of them. But since I got them from Rebecca, they're © her. Got it? Good.
Stay tuned for chapter 2! ... Which should be done by summer...maybe. *Crosses fingers*
Rosy: Feedback would be nice!
Shamrock: Yes, it would be. You can email us at The_Emerald_Phoenix@hotmail.com, our joint account.