|Well, thank you for inviting me!
WARNING: THE FOLLOWING FANFIC IS RATED
PG IF NOT PG-13. MAYBE PG-10
Reader's discrestion advised.
- 1 Prologue: The Hunt
- 2 Part One: The World Divides
- 3 Part Two: The Enchanting Evil
- 4 Part Three: Believe in Life
- 4.1 Rocket Science is Less Complicated
- 4.2 The Labyrinth (Part One of Six)
- 4.3 The Labyrinth (Part Two of Six)
- 4.4 The Labyrinth (Part Three of Six)
- 4.5 The Labyrinth (Part Four of Six)
- 4.6 The Labyrinth (Part Five of Six)
- 4.7 The Labyrinth (Part Six of Six)
- 4.8 It’s About Time
- 4.9 The Ultimate Price
- 4.10 A Grave Moment
- 4.11 The Seven Heroes
- 5 Epilogue: Almost Normal Again
- 6 Trivia and Other Information
Prologue: The Hunt
In touch with the ground
I’m on the hunt, I’m after you
A scent and a sound, I’m lost and I’m found
And I’m hungry like the wolf
-- Duran Duran, “Hungry Like the Wolf”
I don't know if I've ever seen anything like it. I mean, I'm used to this sort of stuff. It's right up her alley. She and her "crew" enter a club, attack the crazy partying teenagers, and they disappear without a trace. But this time was different. The bodies.
There was no trace of her. This can't be right. She always leaves something. Usually shattered windows, broken lights, a knife... She's never actually left the scene barren. Just rubble. As though the club was blown up. I look at Ferb. He looks just as confused as I felt. I start to pick up some pieces of light fixtures, trying to look if she tried to cover up her tracks. Ferb helps. Until I smell something.
It smells like blood. And a very faint trace of vanilla. I turn around slowly. "Who are you?"
"You don't know who I am?" she says.
"Wait? Are you..." says Ferb, "Her?"
"I suppose I am. Why? You surprised?"
"A bit," I say. "You don't look like some psycho murderer."
"You'd be surprised."
Part One: The World Divides
My loveless life
I’m lost in you tonight
Waiting for you to turn around
Only to tear the whole world down
-- We Are the Fallen, “Tear the World Down”
I've never seen Phineas so out of it. Sure, I mean it's not like the last few days have been kind to him; Isabella's on vacation with her parents. But it's not like it's the end of the world.
"It's the end of the world." Okay, I guess I'm not seeing it through Phineas's eyes. "Are you even looking at this?" He wiggles his fork, dripping with runny eggs and burnt cheese in front of the T.V. It's the local news, nothing to unordinary. Except for the BREAKING NEWS headline. That catches my interest, so I listen in.
"Several unexplained deaths have been happening all across the Tri-State Area," the news reporter states, his usually perky, upright, probably unnatural blond hair drooped with fear. "The victims are all teenagers. Every single one of their autopsies have shown that they were in perfect condition; the apparently just dropped dead. Hopefully some lighter news in the weather. John?"
"Yeah, that is pretty scary, bro," I reply. "But, it's not the end of the world. Hey, maybe Bobbi's just keeping something from us." I laugh, trying to kill the tension.
"No," he replies monotonously. "Didn't you hear? No probable cause of death. This wasn't her, or anyone here... At least, not here here."
"What does that mean?"
He sighs. "I have to tell you something." Hesitantly, Phineas reaches into his pants' pocket and pulls out a couple crumpled pieces of paper and stuffs them in my hands. I slowly unfold the papers and saw that they are pictures. I see something that looks like Phineas and I with... Perry? Perry, if it even is him, he is wearing some sort of 1940's fedora and hugging Phineas. There appears to be an odd man behind them with a white mustache wearing a green jumpsuit.
"What is this?" I ask him.
"It's Perry," he responds. "From what I can tell, he's some sort of... secret agent."
"Tha--tha--tha--that can't be right. He--he--he's just a platypus, right? He doesn't do much... Where did you even find this?"
"Perry's bed. I was cleaning it. Look at the other picture."
I turn the picture over. It shows me and Phineas. And me and Phineas. Two of us look normal, the other two are wearing some sort of high-tech, James Bond gear. "When did we invent a cloning device?"
"We never did. Didn't you see the back? It says, 'Phineas and Ferb and their Other Dimension Counterparts'."
"We went to another dimension? How is that possible? Wouldn't we have remembered something like that?"
I stare at my brother like he is a different man. Who knows if these were just photoshopped or something? Perry as a secret agent? That's absurd. And I know that I would definitely have remembered going to another dimension! And from the looks of the picture Phineas showed me, it looks like we had a really good time.
"Look, Phin," I say hesitantly. "I really want to believe you. Really, I do. But going to another dimension and not remembering it? Perry as a freakin' secret agent? Come on, dude."
Phineas sighs, a look of indifference in his eyes. "I had a feeling you would say that... But I'm gonna prove that I'm right."
"By building a device that would help us go to another dimension and find someway to prove it to you."
And with that, he runs into the backyard with some tools.
I never would have thought that Phineas would find the pictures. They never really even clean Perry's bed. It's a bed. But I know that I didn't just imagine the conversation with Phineas and Ferb. I could hear their thoughts a mile away and it took everything I had to keep myself from interjecting and having them know I was eavesdropping. I should have had a feeling this day would come. You can't keep a secret like this from someone, especially those two, for long.
With care in mind, I crept outside to the backyard and felt around for a button or something so I could get to Perry's headquarters. He usually escapes through some kind of tunnel...
With no warning, I find myself falling through the ground and landing in some weird tube. I let myself fall through the tube until I land in a chair. Up above me is a huge computer screen and a bunch of keyboards. A second later, Perry lands on me, his little fedora on. It takes him a second to realize I am here too, but when he does, he freaks out.
Bobbi? What are you doing here? Oh gosh, if Major Monogram sees you--
"He ain't gonna see me," I tell him. "That's a video camera. Cam-er-a. I'm not visible in photos or videos. So he can't see me. I don't know if he can hear me, but he can't see me." As I say that, I weird doo-de-loop type noise came out, and on the screen there was a old, intimidating-looking man on top in some weird green outfit.
"Agent P," he says, "Doofenshmirtz has bought--"
"Hi, yeah, can you hear me, or...?"
"Agent P? Is there someone with you?" Perry nods at his question. "Great googily moogily! It's a human, isn't it? Well, where is she? We have to wipe her br--!"
"Yeah... Not happenin'. I got some information that I think will be of service to you."
"Not until I can see you, you're not telling me anything!!"
"Good luck with that... Wait, Perry, how far away from us is he?" I jerk a thumb at the old guy.
Like, two minutes by jet car.
"Sweet. Race ya there." I take off running, following the direction of Major Monogram's thoughts. He seems to be in no better condition than Perry. He keeps thinking, There was a human in Agent P's lair. A human! I don't know what she wants, but we can't let her see more than she already has. "Too late for that," I say with a smile.
I get to a large building. I'm not so sure this was where Major Monogram was, but then I see a sign that reads: OWCA HEADQUARTERS (PAY NO ATTENTION TO THIS SIGN), so I am probably in the right place. After a couple minutes, I hear Perry's jet car landing behind me. It takes him a second to get out, probably because he is still hesitant about me going to his boss. But eventually he runs up and lets me into the building.
"Hello Agent P," comes a high, nasally voice. The owner of the voice has red hair and thick glasses. He looks kind of familiar. I wonder if he went to school with me. He gasps. "Who-who are you?" he asks to me.
Perfect. I can get this boy to do a few things for me. I smile and flip my hair. "I'm Bobbi," I say. "What's your name?"
"Uh, uh, uh... Carl... I think."
"Ha ha ha! You're funny. So, can you help me and Perry? We need to talk to someone here. I believe his name is... Francis."
"Oh, yes, yes, of course. You can come in. His office is number... four-oh-seven."
"Thanks!" Perry and I hurry to the fourth floor and walk into the fourth door on the left. There sits Major Monogram, his face paler than mine. "Hi. You Francis? I need to talk to you. And before you can call security, I think you should know something." I flash him one of my more famous smiles, my tongue on my right fang. "And by the way, my last meal was yesterday, so..."
"Oh please," says Major Monogram. "Those could easily be fake. Guards!"
I look at Perry. "You wanna get this or should I?" Perry makes a gesture that says Just do your thing. The guards come up behind me and grab my arms. I'm sure it looks like two sausages holding onto twigs. But I don't remember that ever stopping me. I kick my legs into theirs, sending them tumbling backwards. Swiftly, I run to Monogram's desk. Before the guards can recover, I fly above them and bared my fangs. "Now get out please." I think that is the only time I've ever seen a human run faster than me.
Major Monogram stares at me, mouth agape. "Now, what was that you wanted to tell me?"
It looks about halfway done. Never building one of these, or at least, not that I can remember, I'm not sure what it is supposed to look like or how it's supposed to work. But I guess that's just something I've always done.
"Phineas!" calls Ferb. "I understand your wanting to go into another dimension, but I remember you saying something... What does this have to do with all the unexplained deaths?"
I sigh. He's supposed to be my other half. How can he possibly not get where I'm coming from? Not looking up from my wiring, I answer solemnly, "I'm not sure how it all fits together. But I just know it does. There's something not right about this. You seen Perry?"
"I just don't see this working out! I mean, another dimension is a total plus, but using it to explain the unexplained deaths? It's just not logical. They're unexplained for a reason."
"But people don't just drop dead!"
Suddenly, I hear some weird whirring noise. I turn around and see Jessie using the lawnmower. "Hi Phin!"
"The lawnmower? Really?" I'm used to Jess doing some odd things, but this just seems odd. Man, I really must be out of it.
"It's cool. Whatcha buildin' today? You're not planning to go to my planet, are you? 'Cause like I said, big no-no." She smiles as she pushes her long green hair away from the lawnmower.
"C-could you turn it off?" Ferb shouts over the mower.
"Yeah, course!" With a forceful yank, Jessie pulls the cord and the lawnmower falls into a sudden silence. "So, what is that thingy?"
With a few jerks of the wrench, the portal is finished. "This, now finished beauty, is a device that will allow us to travel into another dimension."
Jessie's eyes become pancakes. "Whoa... that's awesome! Man, I wonder what I'm like in another dimension! Hold on, I gotta go get something." She takes off running into the house. I chuckle. You never really know what to expect with that girl, but in some way, she is so Ferb.
"I'm just gonna go with her," says Ferb, "to make sure she doesn't grab anything potentially... lethal." He walks to the house with a smile.
After he leaves, I do a full 360 of the backyard. I never really wanted them to come. It hurts me so much to want to leave Ferb behind, but I can't let him come. Sure, I would have been all for it if he isn't so against this. I know there's something going on and I know it's happening in the other dimension. But it's not like Ferb will let me try to solve what he deems unsolvable.
The backyard is completely empty. Quickly, I hurry up the steps. I grab the remote I made. I won't be able to activate the portal on the other side once I shut off the machine, so this is the only way I can get back. "It's time to go back." I look into the portal I just finished. "Ferb may not remember it, but it must be done." I look back to take one more look at my backyard before I step through.
"Wait!" Out of the house come Ferb and Jessie, running to stop me no doubt. "We're not letting you go."
"I know you won't let me go, but--"
"No, we're not letting you go alone," she explains.
"You honestly thought we'd let you go without us?" Ferb asks. We smile at each other for a moment before turning toward the portal.
"You ready for two different worlds to collide?" Jessie asks.
"I always have been." I grab Ferb's hand and Jessie grabs Ferb's other hand. Beep. Beep. The timer I installed shows five seconds left. "Hurry! If we don't leave now, it'll close!" We all jump in right as the portal closes behind us. We are in.
I don't remember much, or anything, about this dimension, but I'm fairly sure it wasn't this dark and... abandoned. "Whoa!" I hear Jessie say. "I can't believe this is a different dimension!" Classic. It's nice to have someone so optimistic in a time like this.
"So... what do we do now?" Ferb asks. Honestly, I don't even know. I haven't really planned this far.
"I don't know..." I sigh. "Well, if this is our backyard, maybe we could talk to the alternate us-es? I'm sure they'd know something." We turn into our other house. It looks kind of dark, with blacks and harsh purples. Not my ideal color scheme.
When we get inside, we immediately spot Candace-2. She wears all black; black tube top stopping above her waist, black hair band, black sunglasses, and a black skirt. Honestly, she looks pretty intimidating. She sees us and freezes. Holding onto an earpiece she whispers something. I don't think she's excited to see us.
Ultimate Security Breach
I know what I'm looking at. I am not crazy. Unlike my other dimension-self. That is definitely other dimension Phineas, Ferb, and Jessie. How'd they get here?
"Guys, I need you to come to the house. Now," I say into my head set. I don't know how long it will take them. I guess I'll just have to hold them off.
"Candace? That is you, isn't it?" I look at Phineas-1.
"Yeah. Yeah, 'course it's me. Where did you come from?"
"What if this isn't the right dimension?" Jessie-1 asks.
"Of course it's the right dimension," Phineas-1 tells her, irritated.
Suddenly, I hear a loud rumble and the house shakes. Out in the backyard, a few hovercrafts land and out climb Baljeet, Buford, Isabella, and Jessie. "What's wrong, sir?" Isabella asks. She spots Phineas-1 and immediately runs over to him and hugs him. "Oh, Phineas! I was so scared for you!"
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I have to tell Isabella the truth. "Isabella, that's not Phineas. Or, your Phineas. He's from the other dimension."
"Why are they here?" asks Baljeet.
"I don't know," I say.
"I think maybe you'd like me to tell you," says Phineas-1. "There were several unexplained deaths in our dimension. I have a theory. The theory is that when someone dies in one dimension, their other dimension counterparts die in all other dimensions. So I have reason to believe that the people dying were killed in this dimension."
I grab Phineas-1 by his shirt. "What else do you know?"
"What? Tha-that's it! I swear, I don't know anything else."
"Sir, do you think--?" asks Isabella.
"Yes, cadet. If Phineas is right, the deaths here are the same as in their dimension."
"What deaths?" asks Ferb-1.
I sigh. "Guys, this is really heavy. Simply put... there's a murderer in Danville. She's been hitting clubs and killing teenagers for three weeks. We've never seen her. And..." I can't help it. I start crying. Like a baby. I break the first rule of being the Leader of the Resistance: I show weakness.
"What?" Phineas-1 and Jessie-1 ask. "What happened?"
I hesitate, waiting for me to calm down from the crying. Sniffing, I wipe whatever tears are left from my face. "She... she... she kidnapped them!" I start to bawl again. Phineas-1, Ferb-1, and Jessie-1 stare at me with solemn eyes.
"I don't believe it," says Jessie-1. "And, you haven't been in contact with them?"
"No. She took their earpieces."
"How do you know?" asks Phineas-1.
I try to blink the tears away. "She told me."
"You spoke to her?!"
"No. She told me through their earpiece. And then I heard a weird static-y sound. I think that means she broke them."
Phineas-1, Ferb-1, and Jessie-1 stare at me. I can't take the confrontation. "Isabella, you take it from here," I say, trying not to cry.
Isabella looks at me for a second and then addresses the kids. "We don't know what she wants. We know she wants something from them, otherwise she would've killed 'em, right then and there."
"How do you know they're still alive?" asks Jessie-1.
"Well, the Phineas and Ferb from the other dimension are obviously alive. That obviously means they're still alive."
"For now," I say. "They could be dead at any minute."
"Well, we'll be your judges," says Ferb-1. "If we ever die, then, well, we'll die!"
Really, Really Bad Timing
"Okay, so as you can see, this is not good," Bobbi finishes. Major Monogram stares at us in shock.
"We can't let them go back to the other dimension," he says. "You two need to go and try to stop them. If for some reason they beat you, use whatever means necessary in order to get them back before they see too much. You need to bring them here right when you get them so we can wipe their memories and burn the pictures."
I don't want the pictures to burn! I love the memories! I think.
"By the way, Perry says he wants to keep the pictures," Bobbi says. I don't need a babysitter, I'm five years old! "Anyway, we should go." Bobbi picks me up and hurries downstairs. "Thanks for your help, Carl." She kisses him on the cheek as she runs out. Then she starts running at full speed.
For a brief millisecond, I could have sworn I see Phineas, Ferb, and Jessie go through a green portal, but when we get to the backyard, all there is is a weird looking machine, like a portal. But the kids aren't there.
Even with your incredible speed, how is it possible they beat us? I ask Bobbi as I get out and begin to fiddle with Phineas and Ferb's machine. That's not the only thing that confuses me. Usually I could pick up any of their machines without even seeing it before and use it better than them, but this device is really confusing me!
"Hey," she says. "I wasn't kidding when I said I was hungry. And all the rats have suddenly disappeared. And someone said I couldn't eat any of the animals at their agency!"
Hey, those animals are just like humans.
"Oh, yeah. Secret agent animals who could program machines, beat up some odd-looking, forty-something-year-old men, communicate, and come from all over the world are just like humans."
Oh, you know what I mean!
"Do I?" she rolls her eyes. "So, how's it comin'?"
I was about to keep fiddling when I hear some children laughing. Quickly, I remove my fedora and put it in my secret hiding spot. Pet mode: on. I was right, it is Baljeet, Buford, and Isabella, no doubt looking for Phineas and Ferb. Are they ever not here? It’s kind of weird, especially since Isabella's supposed to be on vacation.
Isabella opens the gate and puts on her flirty face. “Whatcha do--?” She stops, noticing the lack of Phineas. Trying to be cheery, she blinks rapidly and sighs. “Where’s Phineas? Oh, and Ferb?”
“They went through this machine,” Bobbi says, jabbing her thumb at the machine. “It broke and they’re stuck. Either of you guys know how to fix something like this?”
“Well, it depends,” says Baljeet. “What kind of machine is it?”
“It takes you to another dimension.”
“I can fix it. I have been taking an engineering class and I have become more mechanically inclined.”
“Good for you, Baljeet,” says Buford. “So, uh, is Jessie with them?”
“What do you think? Of course she is.”
“So why aren’t you there?” asks Isabella.
“Does it matter? We really need to get them back,” says Bobbi.
“Why?” asks Baljeet.
Think of something! I think to Bobbi, anxiously. I can’t think straight without my fedora, and I am going crazy.
“Um, is Perry okay?” asks Buford. Shoot. I should probably leave.
Oh, ya think?! Bobbi thinks to me. Usually, I’m not in a rush to get to work. I love to hang out with the kids, no matter how weird it seems. But I really need to get back to work. The sooner we get Phineas, Ferb, and Jessie back, the sooner I can forget all of this.
“Done!” Baljeet exclaims. I look over and see the machine glowing and blinking and whizzing. “It looks like it works. Should we test it out.”
Isabella looks at Bobbi scornfully. “Maybe since Bobbi here is immortal, she should test it out. That way it’d be safer for us.”
“Well, if I didn’t know any better,” says Bobbi with a very, very full note of fake, sarcastic cheerfulness, “I’d say you were trying to get rid of me!” She forces a fake, bubbly laugh. Nevertheless, she pokes her head through the portal for a moment. She sends me a picture of what she sees through her mind. It looks kind of gray and barren. I remember it looking more bright. Sure, it was kinda depressing, but it also had a lot of evil-cheery music and purple and green. But then I see something unmistakable.
Mission Impossible, 2.0
I really don't know what to do about this. Candace-2 says that we need to find a way to infaltrate their secret hideout. I don't know how to do that. I've never been in this dimension, and I know nothing about our mysterious she-rial killer. I don't even know where her hideout is.
"I'm not really following," I tell Candace-2, her sunglasses shining in my face. It's actually kinda intimidating. "Where's her hideout? And why do you need us to go. Why can't you?"
"We'll be backing you up," says Candace-2. "But we know she knows we're onto us. There's no way she knows about you. If she sees you, she'll totally be caught off guard."
"I really don't think this is the best plan," Ferb whispers to me. He's right. But, it's the only plan we have.
Ferb, it's really the only thing we can do, I think to Ferb. Besides, if she kills the other Phineas and you, you'll both die.
"Okay, we've been doing some research," says Baljeet-2 while he continues to look at the screen moniter. He presses a few buttons and some crosswire thing came onto a map, zooming in until it pinpointed one location. "Based on how long it takes her and her clan to escape before we arrive, we have pinpointed their exact hideout to most likely be here." He points a laser pointer to the spot on the map. "This is a warehouse on the corner of 16th and Maple. You can't miss it."
"So, you want us to go now?" asks Phineas.
Candace-2 takes off her sunglasses and looks at us with those cold, intimidating eyes. "The sooner the better. If we lose this battle, we lose Phineas, Ferb, and countless others. We can't let her take Phineas." She looks at us with some kind of steely grimness that was so terrifying. She raises her voice. "He was the only one who had the possibility of getting us through this. Without him, we have no hope!"
"You can't say that!" I yell. "What about Ferb? But anyway, aren't we able to save them?"
"Yes, but what if you can't? She's been unstoppable up to this point! Now that he's not here... we have nothing."
"That's not true." A voice, unusually quiet up to this point, comes out of the corner. I turn to look at the other me, strangely grim, frightened. Yet at the same time, eager to fight. "You have alternate Phineas and Ferb. They're sure to defeat Her and save our Phineas and Ferbs. They're just like them."
"Jessie, you know what she's capable of. She's slaughtered dozens of kids. For three weeks, we haven't even picked up a hair color. And, she has a group. A posse."
"We've never gone up against evil," Phineas says. "But we have the ability to."
"This is different than building backyard roller coasters and travelling through time. This time, you could be murdered. In cold blood."
"I understand the concept, but I don't think you understand--"
"Wait," I interrupt. Something just didn't make sense to me. "How'd you know about our inventions over the summers? We just met you five minutes ago."
"My Phineas and Ferb are the same way," Candace responds, almost a little too quickly. "Point is, you guys are going in now. I can't handle waiting any longer. I love my brothers. I can't stand to watch them die."
Just doing my normal loops. Trying to see if I could find anything about Her. I already checked her warehouse. Nothing. Just the faint smell of blood and vanilla. She's probably prowling around, looking for another kill. So I'm looking for her.
Wait, that's weird. A circular, glimmering hole in Phineas and Ferb's backyard. I get a little bit closer, picking up some weird scent. Suddenly, a head pops out of the hole. It belongs to a girl. She's pale as a sheet, with bright, bubble gum hair. Her hair's chopped at different angles and curled, and her eyes glow red, with random splotches of amber, almost like graffiti.
Who is this girl? She must be from another dimension! Yeah, that explains it! I think to myself.
Perry? Huh? Suddenly, a girl's voice appears in my head. It isn't one I recognize; it has a faint accent, probably from the East Coast. Whoa, what happened to you? You look like you've been in some kind of chemical explosion!
What witchcraft is this? I think. It doesn't matter. She doesn't respond. Instead, the head disappears into the hole and four bodies come out. I recognize them all. First dimension Buford, Isabella, and Baljeet. And... me.
I look incredibly stupid. I must be in pet mode. For a second, I thought I saw the other me look at me, almost pleadingly. Meanwhile, I see the three kids approach me. I quickly run away. I run a few blocks until I'm stopped by Other Me. He's in agent mode, standing on his hind legs and sporting his secret agent fedora.
Perry, what is going on? Why are you guys here? You weren't supposed to come back! I make gestures trying to illustrate those words. I think, since we're both platypi, we can figure out a way to communicate.
In response, he makes gestures that I think are supposed to illustrate: I need to get back my Phineas and Ferb. We're worried they're going to remember something.
You have to get out of here! There's a serial killer on the loose!
Yeah! She's killed at least one hundred people so far! And she's not gonna stop! She also kidnapped my Phineas and Ferb!
Suddenly, I see Other Me get covered by a burlap sack. I look up and see a glimpse of jet black hair. Then I fell grains rubbing against my skin. I'm engulfed in darkness. This is another kidnapping. And Other Me and I are next.
I feel cradled in that sack, like a baby. On several occasions, I try to claw myself out, or even use my wrist laser. In response, I'm smacked around, leaving me feeling helpless. I've never felt so scared in my life.
Faintly, I hear some familiar voices. They're muffled, but I pick up some of what they are saying.
"Was that Perry?"
"It doesn't matter. We need to find Phineas and Ferb."
"Don't forget Jessie."
"You guys go on, I gotta do something."
"You're leaving us?"
"What else is new?"
"You'll be fine. If you need me, just call me."
"Do cell phones even work interdimensionally?"
"Guess we'll find out, huh?"
I crawl to one side of the bag. It reeks of ham and I cover my bill will my paws as I search for an opening. Anything. I spot a small light at the bottom of the bag. I can barely stick my finger through the hole, but the bag is so ratty I can easily pull it apart.
When the hole became large enough, I leap out of the hole and run away as fast as I could.
"He's getting away." A voice from behind me says.
"It'll be fine. We really only need one of them. Kill the one we have now, he'll die immediately."
I start sprinting, panting. My mechanical leg comes in handy, but my normal one is completely worn out. I see the first dimension kids and look at them.
"Perry?" asks Isabella-1. "Are you okay?"
I feel conflicted. I can either grab one of their hands and have them follow me so they could help defeat Her, but thereby blowing my cover and we'd all be screwed. Or, I can stay incognito and try to get them to help, but it would be much more difficult, if not impossible and a waste of time.
After a few seconds, I make my decision.
I've never been so terrified.
I haven't been in contact with Phineas since we were kidnapped, and I feel naked without being able to talk to him. I'm honestly not sure what I need to do.
When She kidnapped us, she had us blindfolded, bound, and gagged. We were stuffed in separate bags, but I could faintly hear a conversation between Her and some boy.
"What are we going to do with them?" the boy asked. "Are we going to kill them?"
"Don't be stupid," a snarky voice responded. I could feel shivers going down my spine just by listening to a serial killer speaking. "If we were going to kill them, we would have killed them back there. No, we're going to have a little fun." Then she laughed. It wasn't a cruel, evil laugh. It was more like a deep laugh, like when you hear a funny joke. Yet, at the same time, it made me more terrified than anything.
While inside the bag, I struggled to loosen the ropes binding my wrists, even just a little bit. The friction from the ropes cut deep into my skin. I felt a trickle of blood run down my hands. Trying not to scream, I bit my tongue. I wasn't even able to loosen it one nanometer. It definitely isn't normal rope. I've dealt with normal rope more times than I care to remember.
After a few minutes, I felt a shaking in the bag. Suddenly, I found myself disoriented on a cold concrete floor. I felt Phineas knock into me and I heard a slight moan from his direction. Behind me, I heard a door slam closed and shackles locking.
I felt cold hands grab my blindfold and yank. My head jerked forward four times before the blindfold fell off. I expected blinding light, but the room was just slightly brighter than the bag. When my eyes adjusted to the light, I looked over and saw Phineas, having the same blindfold struggle as me.
I was barely able to make out the figure struggling with him, but it was definitely Her. I recognized the shape from the club just a few minutes ago. "So, here's how it's going to work," she said. She grabbed my chin--or at least, where my chin would be--and pulled me up to look at her face. She bore her cold, unforgiving eyes into mine. I tried to look away, but somehow, I couldn't stop staring at her eyes.
"As you can tell, I am extremely dangerous. So I'd say that if you want to survive, you better play by my rules. And if that's not frightening enough, I can do the exact same thing to anyone you love. Your sister, your friends. Maybe that 'special someone'." I froze. I could barely think of anything happening to me, let alone to someone I love. "So, I have three rules. One: the girl is always right. Two: if the girl is wrong, refer to Rule Number One. Three." She paused, probably to let the cruelty of her words sink into my skin. If she was going for a quick, rock-in-the-pool sink, she was far off. It was more like an acid-burning, skin-melting, drowning-in-a-tsunami-while-struggling-to-keep-your-head-above-water-but-failing-miserably sink.
"Three: you do anything to escape, anything to resist what I'm doing, anything to try to get into contact with the outside world so you can be 'rescued' and I can be 'arrested' or 'killed'... Well, I'm sure you've figured out it will be bad. But if you wanna find out, go ahead. Run. I love a good chase."
This morning I awake disoriented at around 10:00 in the morning. She had enough decency to remove my gag and unbind my arms, but the door is locked. Phineas wakes up a few minutes after me. "Uhh..." he groans as he stuggles to stand up. "What do you think She wants with us?"
I shrug. I obviously knows she wants something, she would have killed us by now if she didn't. The question is what. Information? Probably.
"Man, we need to find a way out of here! She will kill us! And more importantly, she'll kill everyone we love. Jessie, Candace, Baljeet, Buford, Isabella."
"I understand how insane this all is," I say. "But what can we do? She's crazy!"
Phineas opens his mouth to respond and then shuts it abruptly. Outside, we faintly hear Her talking to someone, probably on her cell phone.
"What do you mean you saw them? They're right here!... What? Okay, okay, fine. Um... leave them alone, okay? I have a plan. Just shut up and come back here.... What do you think?... Fine, pick me up something too.... No, we can't hit anymore clubs for a while.... Well, in case you haven't noticed, we have a hostage crisis on our hands!... Okay? Do you understand now? Good."
I hear the clicking of a lock followed by the door opening. Quickly, I close my eyes and lie down, pretending to be asleep.
"Why do you want us here?" Phineas asks. I'm surprised by his bravery.
"Well if I tell you, it won't be nearly as fun," she says with a laugh. Suddenly, her hand is on my neck and I'm being yanked to a standing position. "Don't pretend to be sleeping, Ferb. It insults my intelligence. Which is, of course, violating Rule Number One."
"So, are you letting us go?" I ask quietly, and then immediately regret it.
"Let you go? How ridiculous! No, instead the fun is going to start."
"Are you going to torture us? For information?" Phineas asks, genuine fear hiding behind his steady, unmoving eyes.
"Sort of. But I don't need any information from you. I know everything. Or at least, everything I need to know."
She gesture outside the door and a boy walks in, a little bit taller than her with short blonde hair. He grabs our hands and drags us to two chairs and seats us in them. I feel a little confused. He's not rough with us at all, despite the fact he proceeds to tie us to the chairs.
"I understand that you like... puzzles. Excitement. Adventure. You see, I enjoy those things too." She circles us as she speaks, brushing a long finger around our ropes, teasing us. "Time for us to both have a little fun. Of course, I will clearly have an advantage; whether you'd be tied up or not. But I also know that the greater the challenge, the more you like it. We have so much in common. Tying you up is merely standard procedure. We need a little time to get ready. All my friends like to participate. And don't worry; I'll give you some teammates too." She giggles softly, but deeply, evilly.
I would throw up if I had anything in my stomach.
Despite all we went through, there is something bothering me. I was upset when I found out Bobbi had lied to me. But I don't think that's why I was so upset.
My anger was more about how stupid I could have been. I've killed dozens of vampires, and I saw the signs immediately. I could kill them in less than a minute. It was the fact that I couldn't recognize her as a vampire.
Sure, she didn't really look like them or act like them. Her eyes weren't red at the time, she hung out in the sun, she was sweet. And most importantly, she killed a vampire, but not me.
I just can't get her out of my head. There's something about her. Something I hate and something else...
"Zachary," she says. "Zachary!" Cold feminine hands grab my shoulders and turn me around. As a reflex, I reach inside my pocket and pull out my silver dagger. "Whoa, whoa, whoa!" Bobbi says, holding up her hands out of defense. "I just wanna talk."
"Maybe I wasn't clear before, but I never want to see you again," I snap at her.
"Please, just hear me out. I'd like to start with saying that I'm really sorry about what happened on our date. I probably should have told you before, but I really think you're blowing this out of proportion."
She seems so upset. So concerned. So beautiful. Stop that, Zachary. She's a vampire. "I'm blowing this out of proportion?! You are totally underestimating what happened! Just get away from me, will you?"
"Look, I really don't feel like arguing with you. Can I get on to my next point please? My friends are in trouble. I have a feeling we might be dealing with vampires."
"What does this have to do with me? There's no way I'd do anything with you, no matter what the risks."
She blinks, clearly shocked. For some reason, I'm regretting saying that to her. Her voice cracks a little as she continues. "I don't expect you to fight down the vampires with me. I want to borrow some weapons."
"Why would I do that?"
"Well, you're a vampire hunter, right? I probably need to fight some vampires to save my friends, and maybe even the entire city. It would be your duty to help me protect all the innocent mortals, right?"
I stand contemplating. What is this girl doing to me? For what feels like my whole life, I've been told vampires are menaces. Evil. Killing them would be our duty to the world. But, even though she tricked and lied to me, I feel like she did what she had to. And that I should forgive her. But that would be wrong. "Fine." I reach into my backpack and pull out a silver club.
"A club? How is this supposed to help?”
"It's made out of silver," I explain. "It's kinda complicated to explain, but silver is kind of a vampire's kryptonite. It doesn't kill them or anything, but it can really hurt them."
"Cool. Thanks." Bobbi takes the club out of my hand. She turns to walk away when I grab her shoulder to stop her.
"Can we get something straight? When I said 'I don't know if I love you', I don't think I was clear enough. I'm not doing this because I like you. I don't. I'm doing this to save lives. If I ever see you again, I'll stake you where you stand. Do you hear me?"
She swallows and I see tears begin to bubble under her eyes. "Yes. But you know, I didn't have to come to you. I could have easily made a couple dozen stakes out of some sticks. I came to you for a reason... Good-bye, Zachary."
And with that, she runs off as I stand both criticizing and praising myself.
Part Two: The Enchanting Evil
And when we come back, we’ll be dressed in black
And you’ll scream my name aloud
And we won’t eat, and we won’t sleep
We’ll drag bodies from the ground
-- Florence + the Machine, “Spectrum”
"Do you really think it's safe to send us alone?" I ask Candace-2 as she equips me, Ferb, and Jessie with all different sorts of spy gear. Knives, rope, lasers, ear pieces, microphones, and sunglasses. She takes off her dark shades and stares at me with those steely eyes that seem so familiar and so distant at the same time.
"Someone has to stay here to make sure you're going the right way. Besides, if you're anything like my brothers, you should have no problem whatsoever." She kneels down and looks me in the face, searching for any weaknesses.
"You do realize they got captured, right?" Jessie asks, clearly unaware of how insensitive it sounds..
Candace-2 sighs deeply, clearly hurt by Jessie's words, but willing to shake it off. "We know better now. We'll be tracking you better, we'll surround the area. There's no way She can get you guys."
"I appreciate the confidence," Ferb says as he slips shades over his eyes. "We should go now."
"Yes, yes you should. Uh, contact us if anything goes wrong, we'll be there in an instant... Good luck."
Jessie, Ferb, and I leave HQ without looking back. We're already on 13th Street, so we're only about three blocks away from Her estimated headquarters. The walk seems long and eerie. I look over at a tree full of bright green leaves, full of life. Out of all of the leaves, I notice one brown leaf delicately blowing in the wind. After a while, the leaf falls off its branch and tumbles to the ground.
By the time we've reached the warehouse, my body has gone completely numb. "I don't think I can do this," I whisper to myself, but just loud enough for Ferb to hear it.
"We can do this. We've fought a dinosaur. We've escaped from alien jail. We've saved the world at least twice. We can take on this." He pats my shoulder with confidence, but I just stand there, unable to move, to think, to breathe.
"Guys, come on!" Jessie yells from the doorway leading to the warehouse.
"What? How'd you get all the way over there?" Ferb asks. "Ugh, best not to question it." We follow Jessie into the warehouse. It seemed empty and overwhelming. As soon as we entered I am hit with the strong scent of blood, vanilla, and nacho cheese flavored corn chips.
"Where do you think she is?" I whisper to them. Suddenly, I feel this very heavy presence behind me and the smell of blood gets stronger. I hear something smash and I see Jessie fall to the floor beside me, unconscious. I hear the smash again and see Ferb fall to the floor. I turn around and come face to face with a tall girl with jet black hair and red streaks. She smiles and everything goes black.
I wake up with my arms bound to a pole and blindfolded. "Ferb? You there?" I whisper. A simple cough is his only response. I can't remember much of what had happened before then, but I do remember that I was knocked out. I strain to remember the attacker's face. All I know is it belonged to a girl.
"They're awake," says a gruff, unfamiliar voice.
"Just on time." This voice sounds eerily familiar, but I refuse to believe it. "Hello Phineas."
I speak the first words that come to mind: "What do you want with us?" I try not to let my fear be heard in my voice. The girl laughs.
"Nothing, really. I don't want anything with you. I just want to play a little... a little game." I wiggle, trying to loosen the ropes binding my arms. The girl laughs again. "Good luck trying to get out. That was tied by only the best."
"At least tell me who you are!" Phineas demands.
"You mean you don't recognize my voice? Fine." She grabs my blindfold and rips it off my face with great force. After letting my eyes adjust to the lighting, I make out her face. No, I think. It can't be her... Never before have I felt so betrayed. Never before have I felt such distrust. Never in a million years have I believed she would be the death of me. And yet, here I am.
"No. No, it can't be you!" I can't help but exclaim.
She smiles at me. She has long black hair that stops above her elbows with bright red highlights. She wears dark makeup and red lipstick on her bottom lip, black on the top. Her skin is pale, even more so against her black clothes. Her black dress is sleeveless with red ruffles that stopped above her knees. She wears black armbands that jet out above her elbows and high heeled boots. Her features are so unrecognizable compared to that of her first-dimension self if it weren't for two distinctable traits.
The first trait is her eyes. Only a few select people in the world have bright red eyes, so I wasn't too sure at first if it was her. The only thing that really could have proved me correct is her voice. Her voice is high but low at the same time and has a twinge of a New Jersey accent, not as noticeable as her first-dimension self, but enough. I blink as I stare in disbelief.
The sociopathic killer. The kidnapper. The murderer of dozens. This psychotic person is the second-dimension version of Bobbi Johnson, a girl that cared more about the safety of Mortals than her own. Bobbi-2 is Her.
Bobbi-2 is the Serial Killer.
"What? Do I sense some disappointment in your voice?" she says mockingly. "Or is that shock? I can never really tell the difference... Yes, I am the serial killer. That may not be my ideal description, but if it's what you insist on referring to me as, I guess I can accept it."
I sigh silently. "But, I just don't understand... This isn't you!"
"Oh, yes. You're clearly thinking of my other-dimension self, correct? I believe you are. Is that really what I look like? Bubble gum hair? Am I five? Well, apparently that Bobbi is a goody-two-shoes, huh? Kind of disappointing, really. I mean, given all her rights and freedoms, not just as a vampire, but as Vampire Queen. It's really quite disturbing..."
"Uh, Bobs?" asks the gruff voice.
"What is it, Troy?" Bobbi-2 asks irritatingly.
"Should we put him with the others?"
"What do you think, Troy? Yes, of course, put him with the others!" The guy--Troy--walks behind me and starts unbinding my arms. Bobbi-2 turns to me. "Don't worry, I'm not going to separate you from your friends. In fact, Troy, isn't Will out hunting for another one of his friends?"
"Yes, I believe he is."
"Great! You won't be alone, Phinny. And be sure to be prepared for anything. As you've already learned, anything can happen." With that, she smiles, and Troy drags me to a door. He unlatches the lock and tosses me in there like a ragdoll.
I barely thought I could take on this menace when I believed her to simply be Mortal! But since she's a vampire, I've officially given up hope.
Fear Among Us
Phineas is thrown into the cell like a bag of trash. He scrapes his face and bangs his nose against the pavement. Ferb and I run to make sure he's okay.
"Phineas, oh my gosh," I say, unable to think of anything else. After inspecting him for any other injuries, I sit down, still petrified from what happened. The back of my head throbs from the bludgeon I got earlier. Phineas looks up and sees my face.
"Jessie, are you okay?" he barely chokes out. I touch my face and feel a warm sensation running down my cheek. My hand shines with a greenish liquid that I only recognize as my own blood.
"Yeah, I'm fine." I turn to Ferb. Only then do I notice that he has a big red bruise under one of his eyes. Suddenly I realize how much pain I'm in, but I refuse to cry. "What about you?" I ask Phineas. "What happened?"
"Oh... It's terrible... Did you see?"
"No, we've been in here the whole time. Phineas, you're freaking me out, what's going on?"
Before answering, Phineas looks behind him, as if checking no one's going to overhear him. No one's behind him, but he still seems paranoid. He sighs and opens his mouth. "It's Bobbi."
"What about her? Is she here? Did she get captured too? Man, whoever has us here is good..."
"No, she's not captured... She's who's keeping us here... At least, Second Dimension Bobbi is."
"No," Ferb says. His voice is rough and cracked, yet also shaking, like he's trying to keep from crying. "That's impossible. Bobbi's our friend, she's... No she wouldn't do that."
"Well it's not our Bobbi. It's this Bobbi. And she's evil. I swear, I was only out there for two minutes, and I feel like I'm going to throw up."
"What could she want with us?" I ask.
"She said she wants to... play a game. And she said she's getting some of our... Some of our friends to play with us." Phineas begins to tear up. Ferb walks over and hugs him. I see Ferb begin to cry and I realize it's okay for me to, so I start crying. I had no idea how many tears I've been holding in.
Behind me, I hear some muffled screams. I turn and I see a dark corner, but I can barely make out a silver glimmer moving back and forth. The muffles grow louder and then stop. I get up, wiping away tears, and go over to the corner. "Oh my treak!" I scream. Phineas-2 and Ferb-2 are bound to chairs over there and are gagged. I have no idea how long they've been there, so I immediately pull their gags down.
Phineas-2 inhales deeply and starts breathing heavily. "Jessie?" he says. "You have to help us... Oh no, she has you too. We're scared."
"What's going on?" Phineas says as he comes over to us. He sees me working with the ropes and fiddles with them too. Normally I'm pretty good with ropes, but these are even harder to get off. I notice that there is dried blood on their forearms, which are sticking the ropes to their arms. "Oh my gosh, are you guys okay?!"
"Barely. She ambushed us. She hasn't given us anything to eat, but there's a water bottle over there." After I loosen Phineas-2's ropes, he points over to a half-empty water bottle a few feet from his chair. I reach down and hand it to him. He takes a few sips and gives the rest to Ferb.
"You guys must be starving..." I reach my hands into my pockets when I feel an aluminum foil bag. I pull out the bag and look at the astronaut food I grabbed before I came here. "Oh my gosh, here. Hope you like dehydrated ice cream sandwiches." They pull the bag open and the contents spill over their laps. The food is gone before I can even pick up the bag debris.
"Do you guys have any idea what she has planned?" Ferb asks when he finally arrives.
"I was about to ask you the same thing," Ferb-2 says, rubbing his blood-stained wrists. I feel my throat close up, but I don't make a sound. "We don't even know anything about her. I think we should be confident, but I also think we shouldn't underestimate her."
I can tell you right now," Phineas says in a grave, unnatural voice that sends shivers down my spine, "that if you underestimate her in any way, we'll all be dead."
Phineas-2 and Ferb-2 look at each other, exchanging fearful glances. I gulp, knowing that once they know what she is, they'll feel just as dismal as Phineas. No one says anything for a few minutes and I feel the anticipation building in my stomach. The anticipation spreads from my stomach to my chest and then up to my throat. Before I can take it any longer, I blurt out "She's a vampire!" I slap my hand to my mouth as if trying to capture the words before anyone hears them.
"A vampire?" says Phineas-2. "That's impossible. There's no such thing."
"Normally I'd be with Phineas on this one," Ferb-2 sighs, "but that actually makes a lot of sense..."
"Sense? Are you crazy?"
"Think about it; she never showed up on any of our video feeds, she moved incredibly fast, she was so strong, and she smelt of blood. Doesn't that just scream vampire?!"
"Forget this, this is crazy."
"Phineas," Phineas says, "you need to know what you're up against. You have no idea what she's capable of!"
"I know what she's capable of. She's capable of making all of you crazy! But it's not going to work on me." I close my eyes and turn, knowing that Phineas-2 is making a huge mistake.
I see a small window that I hadn't noticed before. Outside is just as dark and sad as it is in here. I sigh and put my hand on my arm, thinking about any way we could get out of this. I feel my hair, something I tend to do when I'm stressed. Running my hands through it, I feel something lodged in it. Carefully, I work to get it out. After a few minutes, I hold a piece of paper with a sticky note on it. I look up and see some weird guy with a pointy nose and an eyepatch in the window. He disappears as I open my mouth to ask him who he is.
I didn't want to be dictator, it read. At first, I considered throwing it all away. But there was a reason I didn't want to give up my rule. Eventually, the power made me evil. Now I'm not any more. I only could understand the first couple lines of the prophecy, but I hope it will all mean something to you. Best of luck, Doof.
"What's that?" Ferb asks. I didn't notice he had walked over to me. Should have seen it coming, though.
"I don't know," I reply. I take the sticky note off the tattered paper and hand it to Ferb. He skims it and looks at me in confusion. I shrug, telling him I don't know anything about it. I look at the piece of paper for the first time. On it is a passage in symbols that would confuse anyone else, but I immediately recognize as the written language of my home planet. Next to the text are pictures of six people: Phineas, Ferb, Phineas-2, Ferb-2, Candace-2, and me. I read the first line of the text and exclaim, "It's a prophecy!"
"First vampires, now prophecies," Phineas-2 says irritatingly. "This is getting way out of hand."
Ferb rolls his eyes and looks to me. "What's it say?"
I take a deep breath and read the passage out loud. " 'The fall of a dictator brings peace. Peace is short-lived as a Vampyra takes control. With her four minions, they go around causing havoc and killing dozens. Three heroes from another world team up with three heroes from this world to defeat her. The only one who can defeat her is herself.' "
"Is that supposed to be a prophecy?" Phineas-2 asks. "It doesn't even rhyme!"
"It does in my language," I spit at him.
"'The only one who can defeat her is herself'? What does that mean?" I glare at him. Something in the other dimension obviously causes people like Bobbi and Phineas to be the complete opposite of what they normally are. I can't stand it, and I think it's important I do something about it. But that's not important right now.
"I don't know what it means," Ferb-2 says, "but given all the things that have been happening recently, we should use that to figure out how to defeat her."
Phineas-2 rubbed his temples in frustration but stayed quiet. I stayed quiet as well. Not because of Phineas-2's attitude, but because of the prophecy. There's one more line, but I don't think it best to tell them yet.
Out of the seven original heroes, one will not survive. One of us is going to die.
"Look, I told you she can't be trusted," I tell Buford and the Baljeet as we cautiously walk across Maple Drive.
"I'm really not sure why she can't be..." Buford says. I can't help but roll my eyes at his idiocy. He just can't see how terrible this is.
"Buford, she left us alone in this strange world. We could be kidnapped, or even killed, and she wouldn't be here to try to save us."
"Maybe Bobbi had something to do." I stop. Normally when someone stops suddenly after someone says something both intelligent and slightly vague, it means that they haven't thought of it before. However, I have thought about it.
"Buford, I don't care what she had to do. She abandoned us." I continue walking and Buford and Baljeet race slightly to catch up. "I tried to tell you guys several times. She is no good. I always knew one day she'd let us down, and that's today. We might not even survive..." I look up and notice a street sign. We're at corner of 16th Street and Maple Drive. "Whatever, let's just find Phineas and Ferb."
I realize Perry ran away already. I open my mouth to say “Where’s Perry?” when he returns. But he’s covered in metallic parts. He’s missing an eye, a leg, part of his tail, and much, much more. I can’t help but gasp; what happened to him? I reach down to see if he needs help.
“Isabella, stay away from him,” Baljeet warns me in a cautious voice. “You don’t know what he is.”
“I know exactly what he is,” I reply sternly. “He’s Perry, and he needs our help.” I look at Perry-2 and he shakes violently. “What’s wrong, Perry? What happened?”
I don’t expect him to reply, but after I ask, he begins to slowly stand on his hind legs. I’m shocked at first, but then I realize it’s probably just his mechanical gear making him do this. I still don’t understand why he’s completely covered in metal and mechanics. What have Phineas-2 and Ferb-2 been up to? Perry-2 outreaches one of his front paws and suddenly retreats.
“See, Isabella?” Baljeet says. “This thing’s confused. Or mutated or something. It might be dangerous.” I turn to him and and Buford. Buford remains silent.
“What do you think, Buford?” I ask. I hope to get a vote in what to do. I may have only been in this other dimension for five minutes, but it’s long enough to prove that it’s nothing like ours.
“Well, I think that--” Buford begins but is suddenly interrupted when a tall dark shadow approaches. I turn around and see a guy, maybe eighteen, with long blond hair and dressed in a combination of both grudge-type clothes and leather.
“I’m sorry to interrupt,” the stranger begins with a heavy western accent, “but I’m lookin’ for a few people. Do you know these kids?” He holds up a picture of me, Buford, and Baljeet. At least it looks like us. Buford has a mohawk, I’m wearing some kind of army-camo gear, and Baljeet is dressed in a lab coat with poofy hair.
“Uh, yeah,” Buford says. “That’s us. Or at least, it looks like us. It might be the ones from this dimen--” Baljeet claps a hand over his mouth before he can finish. The stranger turns and another guy approaches. He has brown hair that stops above his ears and is dressed similarly to the first stranger.
“Well, Will,” the new stranger says to the first one, “what’s the holdup? She’s getting impatient.”
“I don’t think these are who we’re looking for,” Will says as he hands the other stranger the picture of us. He looks at it for a moment then glances at us for a moment.
“She says they’ll do,” he says. “According to her, it doesn’t matter...” He drops the picture and approaches me. I hear a thud and I quickly turn to find Baljeet on the ground, unconscious.
“Baljeet!” I scream. I drop to the ground and shake him, trying to wake him up. Next to him, Buford falls to the ground. I look to Perry-2. He’s still standing on his hind legs. Will approaches him and Perry punches him in the face. I stare for a few moments, making sure I really saw what I thought I did, but I was right the first time. Perry-2 then proceeds to kick him, leap on him, and pull his long hair. Will picks Perry-2 off the back of his head and flings him away. Perry-2 lands against a tree and falls down, blood dripping out of his mouth.
Before I could process what was happening, Will is over next to Perry-2 with a strange look on his face. Almost hungry.
“Will! Away from him. You heard what she asked us to do. Don’t blow this for me!”
“Aw, come on, Tim,” Will says. “Can’t I have a little?”
“No! She said no. You know your task, and you’re already in trouble. Why do you think she sent me to make sure you didn’t screw up?” Tim turns to me and I try to run, but I feel big strong arms grab my neck. I start to feel constricted and I start choking.
“Ease up, Will! Geez, it’s like you’ve totally forgotten how to function!”
“What? You know I’m new here. I’ve been told what to do, and now suddenly I’m supposed to ignore all of that?!”
“Ugh, you are insufferable! Just get the girl. I’ll gather up the boys. You do realize that if she’s upset with our lack of effort, it’d be me at risk, not just you!”
My mind races. These guys just take me, Baljeet, and Buford and we can’t do anything to fight them! I think of every single thing I could do. Suddenly, I remember something important. It may prove to be fruitless, but nothing could hurt my chances at this point.
“Bobbi!” I choke out, as loud as I can, but it seems as quiet as a whisper. “Help!”
The last thing I see is Perry-2 struggling to get up and running as hard as he can to try to help us.
The Final Capture
Though I couldn’t capture their friends, I have to be there when we capture their sister. The kids I imprisoned are key to this entire operation. But according to information that Terry has gathered for me, they’re too brave and would risk their lives for the greater good. I nearly gagged just listening to that. So I realized that the only way I could get to them is threatening their friends and their sister.
Apparently, their sister is leader of the former Resistance, back when Doofenshmirtz was dictator. I remember seeing the kids defeating him, so that obviously told me they needed to be taken care of. She’s pretty tough, so I figured being there would make this matter a whole lot better. We’re in no hurry so we walk there. Well, the guys walk; I float a few feet above the ground in front of them. We reach the block that sits atop the Resistance HQ and eye a surveillance camera. Of course, Will goes over and attempts to disable it.
“We’ve been through this a million times,” I snap, rolling my eyes, “we don’t show up on camera. We’ll be fine. Besides, what are a couple dozen Mortals against five vampires?”
“Do you really think it was smart not leaving anyone there to guard the kids?” Troy asks. Irritated, I press my fingers to my temples and try to rub away the migraine brought on by the extreme idiocy I’m constantly exposed to.
“And we’ve been through this a million times, if they escape, we just go back and recapture them! It’ll take two seconds, and I’m already tuned in on their thoughts.”
“Really?” Tim says and I smile. Luckily, he has a brain, so he’s been made my second-in-command. Or, that’s what he thinks anyway. As valuable as he is to me, the idea of having a second-in-command just makes it feel like he’s equal to me. And we can’t have that.
“Course. I’ve been working on it, and now I can hear thoughts up to ten miles away. Can only put my thoughts in their heads up to five miles away, but it doesn’t matter.” I tap my feet on the pavement looking for a weak spot. Finally, I come upon the manhole cover and it sounds hollow. I hoist it up using one hand and have the guys go down, starting with Will, then Troy, then Terry, then Tim. I follow Tim and am sent plummeting towards the floor feet first. My boots slam on the cement below and I hear a loud echo throughout the room.
What was that? I hear several thoughts go around randomly, but I try to hone in on just the leader’s. Terry scans the room trying to pick up any information he can. “She’s not in this room,” he says. We go from room to room, stopping to let Terry scan each room. Finally, we reach one room. Before Terry can say anything, I listen to his thoughts: High-security Level Four computer; rifles; grenades; Resistance Leader. As I hear him think “Resistance Leader”, I see her. She has red hair tied behind her and is wearing all black, including cliche black aviators.
Before the leader can turn and see us, I grab Terry and pull him to the all with the other guys. Sneak attack, I think to them. Don’t say a word. I’ll think the instructions to you and don’t do ANYTHING without my saying so. Got it? I wait for everyone to both nod and think “yes”.
I send Will and Tim in, one on the right, one on the left. They are advised to wait until she notices them. Luckily, she sees them almost immediately. “Who are you?” the leader says. “How did you get in here?” I then send in Troy and Terry, blocking the lone window.
The leader goes to her desk and pulls out a taser. She presses a button and electricity crackles from the end. Will lunges at her and gets a gutful of electricity. He spazzes and recoils in pain for a second but shakes it off. The leader gasps and throws the taser to the ground after realizing its uselessness. I walk in and smile at her, flashing fangs.
“No,” she mutters. “Impossible.” Keeping her eyes on me, she reaches behind her desk and feels around for a weapon. She grabs a wooden cross and shoves it in my face. I take it from her grip and break it in half.
“Sorry,” I say, “that’s a myth.” Frightened, she runs toward the window but finds it blocked off by Terry and Troy. The bare their own fangs at her and she screams. Terry runs over and puts his hand over her mouth to muffle her cries. She grabs Tim’s hand with both of hers and attempts yank herself free. I look behind her shoulder and notice Troy. I nod and he grabs one of her arms and pulls it down. Will grabs her other arm and the leader is left with three vampires restricting her. She’s lucky I’m not having them kill her yet; if I were, it would be a very bloody, very violent, very slow death.
She begins to squirm a bit and ends up knocking her aviators off her face. The fall to the floor and shatter. I look over and see Tim stand over by the doorway, closing the door before anyone sees or hears something they don’t need to. Without the outside bedlam, I can hear the leader breathing deeply, something that I’ve always loved before the kill. Something that reminds me that they’re alive, that they have blood pulsing through their veins. I tell myself and my minions that she is not a snack. Some of them, specifically Troy and Will, are clearly struggling with it, but I simply give them a look that says “just wait”.
I have Will and Troy let go of her and Tim tosses them the rope. They fumble with the rope as I unwrap the band from my wrist. I take the band and give it to Terry as he removes his hand from her mouth. She licks her lips and opens her mouth to say something. “Shh,” I say, putting a finger to her lips. “Save it for your friends.” I watch Terry gag her with the band and I can’t help but a chuckle a little bit.
I certainly didn’t expect it to be this easy.
“What do we do now?” Will asks. Even though I’ve been through the plan with him a hundred times, I don’t roll my eyes. I’ve rolled them way too many times on this trip alone.
“Now?” I say. I look over to the resistance leader. Now that I can see her face, I’m actually a bit taken aback. She seems more like a little priss than someone who was in charge of the take down of Doofenshmirtz. “Now, we reunite some old friends.” This girl's sick, the leader thinks.
I may be sick, I think back to her, but my methods sure are working a lot better than yours.
Cloud of Darkness
The door to our cell opens in a sickening creek. Bobbi-2 stands in the doorway, blocking most of the light. The light surrounds her in a glow that makes me forget for a moment how evil she truly is. She smiles. “Oh, I see you’ve made some acquaintances,” she says. “I trust you got along.” I push off my knees and get to a standing position.
Jessie speaks first. “So, it’s true. It really is you.” I feel a sharp pinch in my gut, followed by remorse for Jessie. She and Bobbi are particularly close. They got along; they both know what it’s like to be outsiders, rejected from life, have everything ripped away from them. The list goes on. Seeing her like this must be worse than anything she could ever fathom.
“I’m surprised you didn’t believe him,” she replies. “Oh. You didn’t want to believe him. I see. We’re… close, aren’t we?” She rolls her eyes in an almost playful manner. “Mortals. You’re all the same aren’t you? No matter. What was I saying? Oh, yeah. You’ve made some acquaintances.” I hear a muffled scream come from her direction. She turns her head back. “Oh, perfect timing. You’re awake.”
You’re? She has someone back there. “I’d bother with introductions,” she continues, turning back to us. “But, I’d say there’s a fairly good chance you guys already know her.” Her. She turns away from us again, reaches to the ground and pulls something up with little difficulty. She clutches a tan arm, especially so against her unnaturally pale skin. The arm is connected to a body. A familiar body. One belonging to a fifteen-year-old girl with red hair and dressed in all black. One belonging to--
”Candace!” Her name seems to explode from all of us, not in exact unison, but close enough. She’s not wearing her sunglasses, and her blue eyes are fierce with rage. Or maybe with fear; I can’t tell. She’s gagged and the rag is worn and damp, like she’s tried to escape it. A small grey bruise lies beneath her ear. Her arms behind her are bound, but I can’t tell how tight.
Bobbi-2 reaches down and pulls a knife out of her boot. She runs the knife through the ropes binding Candace-2’s hands and the ropes fall to the ground. She shoves Candace-2 through the door. She grabs the handle to the door and, before closing it, she gives a wordless, malicious smile, baring fangs. The door slams shut with a metallic clang. Candace-2 rips the gag from her mouth.
“Phineas, Ferb,” she exclaims breathlessly. “I’m so glad you’re alright.” She runs to her brothers and gives them a loving embrace. The embrace is short-lived; she releases them and stands back as soon as she embraced them. “Do you know what she… what she is?”
“You mean that she’s a vampire?” I say. Candace-2 shakes her head.
“I just… I didn’t think it was possible.”
“It’s not,” Phineas-2 insists. “Come on, it’s a scare tactic. Candace, I never thought you would fall for something like that.”
“I know, I know. But… I just think it makes the most sense. Did you see her eyes? They were bright red! I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Phineas-2 opens his mouth to retort, but is cut off by Jessie, sniffing. I can tell she’s trying not to cry. “Jessie,” Ferb says. He sits next to his sister and rubs her back. “Are you okay?”
“It’s her,” she replies shakily. “How could she…?”
“This is someone else,” Ferb says. “Someone in her body.” Jessie shakes her head.
“What?” Candace-2 asks. “What is it?”
I sigh. “Candace… we know her.”
“She’s our friend… She left a few weeks ago. We haven’t seen her since.”
“Phineas, you’re not making a lot of sense. You know her? She’s your friend? What are you doing? Why are you friends with a vampire?”
“It’s complicated.” I wring my hands. I can see how this sounds, and I can understand Candace-2’s anger. I’m feeling it myself. Is there really a huge difference between those from one dimension and those from another? Who’s to say this Bobbi, the one who captured us and killed dozens, is more like our Bobbi than we thought? Were we deceived?
“It gives us an advantage, though,” Jessie says. I give her a surprised look.
“How do you figure?” I ask.
“We know what she can do. We can prepare. We can--”
“That actually can work,” Candace-2 says. “Okay. You guys seem to know her best. What can she do?”
“She can run really fast. You can’t even see her. And, she’s very strong. Superhuman strong. And, she can hypnotize people, and she can fly, and she can read minds, and she can communicate telepathically.”
Candace-2 looks disappointed. “She can do all that? How do we prepare for that?”
“It would also be helpful if we knew what she wanted from us,” Phineas-2 says. “I’m not saying I agree with you on the vampire thing"--Which is a mistake, I think--“but, what does she want?”
“We better find that out,” Candace-2 says. I bite my lip. Whatever it is, I think, it’ll end with blood. “She hasn’t given you any clue?” Candace-2 continues. ”Anything?”
“No,” Phineas-2 says. “Nothing.” I bite the inside of my lip. We’re all doomed. That’s the sad truth of it. None of us want to be here, and none of us have any means of escape, any means of preparing for whatever the heck she wants us here for.
“What she wants with us isn’t important,” Jessie says, getting to her feet. Her eyes are red with anger, a fierce look in her them. It almost scares me. “What’s important is survival. Okay. Let’s face facts. I don’t care what Other Dimension Phineas has to say: we are facing vampires. Okay? How many?”
“Five,” Candace-2 answers, despite it being a rhetorical question. Jessie nods.
“Okay. Five vampires. And they’ve captured us. Phineas--my Phineas--said that she wanted to play a game. Got that. That means torture. For information, right? In any other circumstances I would agree with that. But now?” Jessie shakes her head. “If she wanted information, she could have just read our minds. She didn’t do that. If she just wanted us dead, we would be right now. You told us she slaughtered dozens of teenagers in cold blood. That’s what would have happened to us if it weren’t for something. She wants, or needs, us for something. What does that mean?”
Everyone exchanges glances. Jessie has a point. What does it mean? Does it mean she’s just a sadist? It could. But, there might be more. It’s too hard to tell. Everything’s changed in just a few short hours. This morning, I was watching TV with Ferb, trying to convince him that we went to another dimension and that Perry’s a secret agent. That was a million years ago. Now, I’m trapped in another dimension by some strangely evil Bobbi.
I still don’t understand why that shocks me so much.
I’ve always known who Bobbi is. And I didn’t trust her at first. In fact, when she left, I actually felt some sort of strange relief. She was my friend. But, maybe, a small part of my subconscious still didn’t trust her. Now, standing her in a cold damp cell, I understand it.
And I wish I had listened to it a little bit more.
I can’t be sure how long we waited in silence. No one knows what she has planned. Everyone’s still convinced she’s a vampire. I just don’t understand why they would think that. I told them it’s just a scare tactic. Something she can use against us.
The solemn silence ends when she wrenches open the door again. “It’s time,” she says. She leaves the door and heads out. I look at Phineas-1. He gets up off the ground and helps Ferb-1 up. They start to walk towards the door. Hesitantly, he steps through the doorway. He looks back at me and sees that neither I, Candace, nor Ferb have moved.
He shakes his head. “We have to go sooner or later,” he tells me. I bite my lip and follow him. The light from outside is blinding compared to the almost pitch darkness from our cell. I squint and cover my eyes, almost running into Phineas-1.
“You have two choices,” the “vampire” says. “Either you play my game, or you walk away. And I won’t hurt you. Ever.”
I blink in shock. Either we play the game or walk away? I can’t have heard that right. “What’s the catch?” my sister asks, taking the words right out of my mouth.
“Oh, no catch. With the game, the winner gets a prize. But if you don’t even play, I get the prize. That’s fair, isn’t it? I’m even giving you your own choice. So, what do you say?”
Candace laughs. “We walk away!” Candace walks past me and heads toward the door fifty feet away. She turns back to us. “Come on, guys.” In a mad rush, I follow her, not wanting to stay in this prison any longer.
Wow. I hear our enemy’s voice, but it almost seems echo-y and far away. Like she didn’t say it, but like I thought it. I really thought you cared more about your little friends. I freeze. I turn back. “What did you say?” I whisper.
“I didn’t say anything,” she replies. “I was just shocked. I really thought you cared about your friends. What are their names? There’s a little Indian boy"--Baljeet--"there’s a really chubby kid"--Buford--"and a real priss.” Isabella. “Oh, and let’s not forget the green freak of nature. And that’s coming from me.” Perry. She snaps her fingers and a monitor rises up from a trapdoor in the floor. The screen is static for a few seconds but then an image appears on the screen.
The image shows Baljeet, Buford, Isabella, and Perry. Not the ones that I’m familiar with; they’re the ones from the other dimension. But it’s them nonetheless. Only Perry’s in a cage with his bill wrapped in a rag. And Buford, Baljeet, and Isabella are bound to chairs with their mouths duct-taped shut. I almost throw up.
“And that"--she snaps her fingers again and the monitor sinks back through the trapdoor--"would be your prize. So tell me. Do you still want to just walk away and surrender them to me?”
“Of course we don--” Candace starts.
“We’ll play!” Phineas-1 shouts, cutting off my sister. She stares at him in shock.
“Wonderful.” The “vampire” claps her hands together. “I’ll leave you to discuss strategy.”
“Strategy?” I find myself saying out loud. “But we don’t even know what we’re doing!” She cocks her head and gives me a mock pouting look.
“Aw, poor you. Well, I’ve heard you’re good at making things up at the spot. For your sake, I hope I didn’t hear wrong.” She spins on her heels and jumps up. I look up and see that she has completely disappeared. Candace turns and glares at Phineas-1.
“What the heck was that?” she yells.
“They have our friends!” he tells her. “Okay? If she kills them, that’ll also kill your dimension version of them.”
“You don’t negotiate with kidnappers. Or serial killers. It’s Resistance 101. We should have taken the out when we had the chance.”
“So, you were just going to let her kill them?”
“We would have been safe, and then we could have figured out a plan to rescue them later. But now, if we lose, she’ll kill all of us! I hope you’re happy.”
“Everyone stop fighting!” Jessie-1 yells. “Candace, it doesn’t matter what Phineas did. It’s over. But if we win the game, we’ll be safe and our friends will be safe. So can we please focus on taking care of that?”
Candace stares at Jessie, clearly defeated. “Fine,” she mumbles. “But she won’t even tell us what the game is. How do we prepare for that?”
“Same way we prepared for the takedown of Doofenshmirtz,” I answer. “We wing it. It was life and death then, it’s life and death now.” My sister looks at me.
“I really hope you know what you’re doing, Phineas,” she tells me. “Both Phineases, actually.” A slow, echoing clap resonates from the room. We turn and see that she has returned.
“Such wonderful performances, everyone,” she says with mock satisfaction. “Maybe one more time from the top? You weren’t afraid enough. I really want to hear your heart racing. Your blood pumping.”
Candace glares at her. “Okay,” she starts, “we agreed to ‘play’. What do we have to do?”
The “vampire” gasps and puts a finger to her lips. “Spoilers. I told you, I want to see you think on the spot. Well, maybe I can tell you what you’re doing.” She pulls a remote out of her boot and presses the red button. The floor gives way beneath us and I’m plummeting into darkness.
Phineas-1 really screwed us over back there.
But that’s not important. I’m falling. It’s dark and cold. I don’t know where I am.
We crash onto cold cement. Given how long it took us to fall, I’m surprised we’re still alive, let alone still intact. I hear moans behind me. I turn and see Jessie-1 cradling her arm. Wait, I can see?
Candles. There are candles everywhere. Surrounding us exactly. As if she knew exactly where we were going to land.
I get up slowly. The room starts spinning. I blink and clutch my head and the room stabilizes. I’m not sure I remember where I am. Or what I’m doing here. Or… who I am.
“Candace?” Oh, that’s right. My name is Candace. I’m the leader of the Resistance. I’ve been kidnapped. And now my brother--Phineas--is talking to me.
“What is it?” I ask.
“I don’t feel so…” He clutches his stomach. I rush over to him, carefully maneuvering around the candles. I finally get to him when he disappears. Literally. I reach out my hand to grab his shoulder, to stabilize him, when he’s completely gone.
“Phineas?” I exclaim. “Phineas!”
A shrill ringing fills my ears. I shut my ears and collapse to the ground, gritting my teeth. I need to yell. Some impulse in my mind, in my body, tells me that yelling will somehow make the ringing stop. But I clamp down on my tongue. Stay silent. Stay silent. Screaming will not help. Screaming will only add to the noise.
I want to hear you scream. No. I shake my head vigorously. My eyes are squeezed so tightly, I’m almost worried they’ll tear. Go ahead, Candy. Scream. Make my day. Never. You know you want to. I don’t care about what my body says I want. Screaming will do nothing. Have it your way.
The ringing stops suddenly. The candles are extinguished. I grope the floor as I try to stand up. I move slowly, trying not to knock over any of the candles. I walk a few yards when I realize there are no candles.
“What…?” A sudden bright light blinds me. It dims a little bit and my eyes adjust. I look around and see that I am in a dank cell-like room. I do a three-sixty. I’m alone. No, that can’t be. I saw Jessie-1. I saw Phineas. Another three-sixty and they’re all here. “Are you guys really here?” I whisper. The question reverberates off the walls and suddenly it’s hundreds of times louder than it was when I first voiced it. They nod in response.
Impressive. She’s back. I look around. No, she’s not here. She’s playing that trick again. Where she is somehow able to communicate telepathically with us. I scowl. Oh, but it’s not over yet. Heck, that was barely the beginning. Hold onto your seats, ladies and gentlemen. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.
She materializes in front of us so spontaneously, I clutch my heart in shock. “Still jumpy, huh?” she asks. “Oh, I like the jumpy ones. At first, anyway. After a while it tends to be a bit annoying. No, I really like the fighters. Makes the job interesting.” She smiles, baring her impossible fangs. “Who likes games here? Really using your head? Strategizing, creativity… adrenaline?” She glances around. “I knew you all did. I’m not stupid. I do my research.” She snaps her fingers.
Behind her appear four vampires. I snarl at them. They helped her kidnap me. “Ooh,” one of them says. “This one’s feisty.”
“Easy, Troy,” she says in a scolding manner. “We still have our game to play, don’t we?” She turns back to us and lifts her hand. In it, I see a glint of silver. She opens her hand and tosses the items lazily back and forth. Keys. They’re keys. “Scavenger hunt. That’s the name of the game. More or less, anyway.” She throws the keys in the air and doesn’t bother catching them or picking them up after they crash to the ground. “See these?” She toes one of the keys. “There are three keys. Your job is to find the three keys before the timer goes off.” Behind her, big red dial shows up reading 30:00. “Find the keys and then you can unlock a door. Unlock the door, and you get to keep the prize. If you can’t find the keys and unlock the door in time… well, I think we all know what happens then.”
She snaps her fingers and I hear something crash. I whirl around and see that she has opened a door. Curiosity getting the better of me, I walk towards the door and eventually go outside. Behind the door stands a massive hedge maze. I gape. “Oh, did I not mention?” She’s suddenly behind me. Us. I keep forgetting I’m not alone. “You’re looking for the keys in the maze.” With a careless flick of her wrist, she tosses the keys into the maze.
And then they’re gone.
Part Three: Believe in Life
Sanctus espiritus, redeem us from our solemn hour
Sanctus espiritus, insanity is all around us
Sanctus espiritus, is this what we deserve?
Can we break free from chains of neverending agony?
-- Within Temptation, “Our Solemn Hour”
Rocket Science is Less Complicated
When I finally arrive in the backyard, I throw the silver club I’ve been holding onto the ground, wincing. I inspect my hand. Curious. My hand looks like it has been burned, giving off a grotesque mixture of scarlet and amber pigments. It reminds me of when I got trapped outside in the sun.
I pick up the club. I get burned again. Look at that. Silver burns vampires. Well if that ain’t dandy. Makes sense though. My hand was sizzling the second my hand first grasped the darn thing. But I thought it was just from being out in the sun.
I look over and see the portal to the other dimension. Relieved, I approach it. The portal isn’t on. Shrugging, I inspect the control panel. There’s a large lever; one that looks like it would be used to turn the machine on. I slam it down. Nothing happens. I try again. Nothing. Not even a spark.
Dismayed, I feel like slamming my head against the control panel. I don’t know what any of these things do. Maybe it was a mistake to go after Zachary instead of staying and going into the other dimension with the kids.
I had to, though. I needed weapons. I duck under the shade of the tree and sit down, staring at the discarded club. How am I supposed to get into the other dimension now? I made a huge mistake. I didn’t really need weapons, we all know it. What I said to Zachary was true: I could have made my own stakes out of some frickin’ sticks.
I just wanted to see him. Is that so wrong? I wanted to make things right between us. I just think he overreacted.
Even if he did, he stands by what he said. He thinks he’s right. And maybe he is. Maybe I was wrong to lie to him. Oh, who am I kidding? I was. I never should have lied to him. And now look where I am.
I need to fix this machine. But how?
Wait. I get up and run, not bothering to protect myself from the sun. I arrive at my destination before I get sweltered. I duck into shade as a familiar face approaches me. “Oh! You’re back,” he says. “I, uh--”
“Shh.” I stretch out my hand put my finger to his lips. I beckon for him to come closer. “Carl, what do you know about interdimensional mechanics?”
The Labyrinth (Part One of Six)
A loud buzzer goes off. I cup my ears, but the sound only becomes even more deafening. And then it stops. I turn around and look at Bobbi-2. She gives me a little half-smile. “Are you going to go or are you going to waste all your time?” she asks.
Wait. It’s starting? My legs turn to jelly. Bobbi-2 steps back inside and closes the door. I look at Candace-2, hoping for some guidance. She looks at me and bites her lip. Then she says, “We’re splitting up.”
“What?” Jessie asks.
“I get it,” I say. “There are three keys and it’ll be much faster finding the keys--”
“--if we’re divided into three groups,” Phineas-2 finishes. Candace nods. “I’ll go with Other Phineas,” he continues.
“Okay,” Candace-2 says. “The Ferbs will go together and I’ll go with Jessie. Come on. Let’s go.”
Phineas-2 grabs my hand and we start running. “Okay,” he starts saying, “I saw one key go to the left. Let’s try to stay on the left side of the maze.”
“If we do find the key,” I reply, “where would the door be?”
“Well, this is a maze. Where does everyone try to get to in a maze?”
Realization washes over me. “The center.”
“Right.” We continue running until we get to a fork in the path. “Where to now?” he asks.
I look both ways. To the left, I don’t see anything; there’s a block. I shrug. “I guess right.”
He follows me down the right path. We don’t get more than ten yards when I freeze dead in my tracks. My breathing has become shallow and I can hear my erratic heartbeat. “Phineas.” Phineas-2’s voice is barely audible. I feel myself dropping to my knees. “Phineas. Phineas!”
“Don’t you see her?” I breathe.
I don’t answer. Instead, I curl into a ball and clutch the back of my head. In front of me is Isabella. And she’s dying. There’s a sword through her stomach, and the blood is flowing out faster than I can see. There’s still light in her eyes. She’s still alive.
And she has to suffer through all this torture.
I run to her. She starts to fall over but I grab her. “Isabella.” I try to grab the hilt of the sword, but my hand passes right through it. “Isabella, you’re going to be okay,” I lie.
“No. I’m not,” she says.
“Isabella. Isabella, you listen to me!” I’m shouting now. “Don’t go into the light. No, I can get help.” I turn to my other dimension self. “Help me!” I cry.
He just shakes his head.
“Help me! She’s dying. She’s dying! Isabella!” Her eyelids flutter for a second and she goes limp in my arms.
I lower her body to the ground, shaking. As soon as she’s no longer in my arms, her body disappears. Where her body once lay now stands a tombstone.
Stabbed in the stomach by Phineas Flynn
No. No, I didn’t kill her.
Who’s to say you didn’t?
“I didn’t!” I cry. “I didn’t kill her!”
“Phineas.” I turn and look back at Phineas-2. “What happened?”
I can barely hear myself breathe, “I killed Isabella.”
“No you didn’t. Phineas, it’s not real. I saw you. Nothing happened. You just dropped down and started screaming but there was nothing there. Isabella’s still alive and we can still save her.”
He offers me his hand. I take it and pull myself up. “But what if we can’t save her?” I whisper.
“We will. I’d sooner die than not save Isabella.”
Deep in my heart, I know he’s half right. I’m just not sure which is the truth and which is the lie.
The Labyrinth (Part Two of Six)
My other dimension self and I immediately start running to the right, opposite the Phineases. We don’t even get very far when I see something glint in the bushes. I rush over to it. I shove my hand into one of the bushes and pull out a silver key. I hold it up, smiling.
“Well, that was easy,” Ferb-2 says.
I examine the key. “Too easy.”
He shakes his head. While it does seem too easy, at the same time, I’m certainly not in the mood to start being doubtful. I just want to get out of here.
I turn back to him. “You’re right,” I say. “We should head for the door.”
He gives me a little half-smile as I turn back and resume running. The maze that lay in front of us is full of the most twisting and winding turns. I’m not scared though; I’m reminded instead of that one extreme maze Phineas and I built last summer. If we could complete that, this is going to be a cakewalk.
Then again, we didn’t have only thirty minutes that time. Or, I guess more like twenty-five minutes at this point.
No, I can’t let myself get doubtful. Not now. We have the first key. I can feel us getting closer. So closer, I don’t get worried that slowing down will hurt our chances. So I do. And, not long after, Ferb-2 follows suit. We walk in utter silence, the way I like it.
The truth is, I do believe actions speak louder than words. And that is a reason as to why I don’t talk much. But that’s not the main reason. The main reason is I’m afraid of saying something stupid. I don’t speak unless I know with certainty that what I say will actually bear some weight, will actually mean something. Sure, sometimes it’s just a joke and sometimes it’s a meaningless fact. But sometimes it’s a powerful speech of motivation and empowerment.
But even after I say something I deem important, I can feel everyone’s stares on me. I can feel their eyes judging me. I can’t handle that pressure. I’m not a people pleaser per se. I’m just horribly afraid of humiliation.
Poor stupid you. I whirl around. No one’s behind me but Ferb-2. The voices continue. Ridiculous. Big silent scary man. Afraid of his own shadow, is he?
I’m not, I think. Nothing scares me.
Nothing but public humiliation. Or even private humiliation. Always gotta be perfect, eh? But you’re not. Not even close.
Nobody’s perfect. It’s impossible.
You’re so naive. I feel a sharp pull on the back of my neck. Then I stumble and fall down, the earth below barely cushioning my fall. I try to breathe, but my mouth is filled with some sort of liquid. I choke and sputter, spitting the liquid out, leaving a resonating metallic taste in my mouth.
I take sharp inhalations through my nose, but I still feel like I’m suffocating. Now I’m burning. Flames lick my body, but as far as I can see, my body is completely unscathed. I lift my hands. That’s when I realized what I’m choking on.
Blood. I’m choking on blood.
Violently, I hack out more of the ichor until I feel as though I’m drowning. A shudder rushes through me as it suddenly stops. I get up and face my other dimension self. He looks eerily concerned. He cocks his head and gives me a worried look.
Breathing deeply, I check myself for any physical injuries. I find none. But not just that; I also don’t find any blood stains. Almost as if what just happened… didn’t.
I shake my head. Shivering, I lead my other dimension self down the path we were already walking.
The Labyrinth (Part Three of Six)
Jessie-1 and I have already collected one key and are now looking for the door. We assume it’s at the center, so we begin searching for it.
“I’m telling you,” I say after about fifteen minutes of wandering aimlessly, “we already passed that hedge.” I point to the hedge wall in front of us.
“How can you be sure?” Jessie asks. “It’s a hedge in a treaking hedge maze. They all look alike!”
I glare at her. “Don’t swear.” I breathe. Inhale. Exhale. We turn right. “You seem a bit uptight,” I tell her. “Are you okay?”
Jessie-1 shakes her head. “Yeah, no. No, I’m fine. Perfect. La-di-da.”
I stop and Jessie crashes into me. I turn around and look at her. “That was a test.” She looks at me quizzically. I back up a bit and examine her from head to toe. “How can you be fine? Let alone perfect? We might die from this. Now, either you haven’t processed that yet--which I know you have, because if you’re anything like my Jessie, you’re a lot smarter than you look--or there’s something--” I don’t finish.
“There’s nothing,” Jessie-1 says after a pause. She picks up her green bush of hair and brings it over her shoulder. “I swear. But we should go. We’re wasting time!”
I nod. “You’re right.”
You’ll never do it.
“Yes I will.”
Jessie-1 looks at me. “You will what?”
I shake my head. “Nothing. Here--why don’t you go on ahead, try to look for the door?”
“What if we get separated?”
I think for a bit before saying, “Just only go right. Okay? Just right--don’t go left for anything until I catch up with you. Okay?”
Jessie-1 nods and runs off.
“You’re not getting inside my mind,” I say outloud. Never.
That’s not something you can stop, Candy.
What do you even want from us?
Laughter. Everything. And nothing. Nothing you could ever imagine. Now, what are you most afraid of?
I don’t even answer when I see Phineas and Ferb standing in front of me. Then they melt in front of me. I close my eyes, willing for them to go away. Not real, not real, not real.
Carefully, I open one eye slowly. They’re okay; they’re standing. But then I notice their eyes are completely gone, there’s blood dripping from their mouths, their skin is white as snow. “We’re coming for you,” Phineas says, using his voice and several other voices.
“You can never escape,” Ferb adds.
“One day we will die. And it will be at your hand.”
“It won’t,” I say. “IT WON’T!”
That’s not your choice. I ignore the voice in my head and I start running, but the metaphysical Phineas and Ferb stop me.
“We can’t let you pass. You have to kill us.”
“I won’t,” I say. “You can’t make me.”
“Either you kill us, or we kill Jessie.”
My breath catches. I know this Phineas and this Ferb are fake--that’s obvious. But Jessie is as real as real can be. I can’t let them hurt her, so I have to kill them. But even if they’re not real, why can’t I kill them?
I shut my eyes and let out two kicks. I don’t look to see where I’m kicking, but the sound of bodies hitting the ground proves that they’re down. I open my eyes and see the false Phineas and Ferb on the ground, their necks bent at unnatural angles and I know their necks are broken.
I swallow bile.
I start running, turning right at every fork until I run into Jessie. “What is it?” I ask.
“I found the door.”
The Labyrinth (Part Four of Six)
After running for who knows how many minutes, we arrive at the center. We see a grand metal box, probably ten by ten by ten feet. The door is facing us. It looks like a normal door, but it has three keyholes.
And we still haven’t found our key.
“Go find it,” he tells me. “I’ll stay here so we can remember our place.”
“You sure?” I ask.
He doesn’t reply, but I can tell from his face that he’s absolutely positive. I hope.
I jog out and start looking everywhere we haven’t. I search high and low, left and right, inside and out.
I’m about to give up when I find the key hanging from a chain on a low-hanging branch jetting out from one of the hedge walls. I jump up and grab it fiercely. The chain breaks and I clutch the beautiful item in my hand.
Have you really won?
Not yet. I need to get back.
I retrace my steps exactly until I get back to the center. I approach the door but then I slam my head against something. I topple to the ground and when I get up, I see nothing that could have knocked me down. Tentatively, I reach out my hand and, instead of finding nothing, I find some sort of invisible wall, blocking me from the center.
I start to panic. “Phineas!” I call out, hoping to get his attention. He doesn’t seem to notice; he just sits at the foot of the door, his leg bouncing up and down from anxiety.
What are you going to do now? Nothing. You’re doomed. Doomed! What a wonderful word… I love the synonyms, too: ill-fated, cursed, condemned. That’s you, isn’t it?
“Shut. Up,” I say through clenched teeth. “I don’t know how you’re doing this, but…”
A deep exhalation of happiness and understanding. Oh, you hate me more than anyone else. I’m the one thing you can’t logically understand. Oh, this is rich. If I could feed just off your doubt and loathing, I’d never go hungry again!
“This is sick! Let me get in! You can’t cheat like this!”
Oh, was that ever disclosed in the rules? Laughter. Come on, after everything I’ve done? Putting the key in such an obvious place? What, you don’t thank me?
“Why us?” I ask. “Why’d you choose to torture us?” I continue.
No answer. Until-- Oh, you clever boy. I hear a faint shimmer. I turn back to the center and try going in again. I go right through--no invisible wall.
“I got it!” I yell as I run toward the door.
The Labyrinth (Part Five of Six)
The Phineases are already at the center when we arrive. They’re sticking their key into one of the locks and turning it.
“Yes!” they both exclaim. They turn to us and see Other Me holding up our key.
“You got it!” Phineas-1 says.
“Let’s go! Put it in!” Phineas says. We run over to the door and stick our key in. It turns with ease. I exhale with relief. Now we just need--
“We got our key!” Jessie-1 and Candace start running in. I clasp my hands together in happiness.
Ooh, just in the nick of time, too. You’ve only got three minutes left.
“Three minutes?” I exclaim. Everyone turns and looks at me. “You--you didn’t hear that?”
Candace looks around. “You guys have been hearing her voice, too?” she asks.
The response is a cacophony of yeses and nods.
“She made me think I killed Isabella,” Phineas-1 says.
“She made me think I killed you and Ferb,” Candace says.
“She made me think I was drowning in blood,” Other Me says.
I inhale and exhale. The horrors everyone has gone through… it’s incredible. For one thing, how can she even do all that? How can she make Phineas-1 and Candace think they killed people and make Other Me think he was drowning in blood?
Why is this happening to us?
“Whatever,” Jessie-1 says. I turn and see that she is standing at the door, sticking her key into the final lock. With a click, the door swings open and what I see scares me to death.
The best part? This is one hundred percent real.
The Labyrinth (Part Six of Six)
When I open the door, I see Isabella, Buford, Baljeet, and Perry, all bound and gagged. I try to keep myself from throwing up.
“Oh my--” Everyone rushes over to me.
“We gotta get them out!”
“Does anyone have a knife?”
“Are you guys okay?”
I close my eyes and block out the noise, breathing deeply. I walk over to Buford, slowly. With careful fingers, I undo his gag and it slips down his neck. “Jessie,” he breathes. I turn to the ropes binding his wrists together. “Are you okay?”
“Yes. I’m fine.” I can barely hear my own voice. Within seconds, the ropes are down and Buford is free. “Buford, go work on Baljeet.”
I turn back to the group and see that they are helping Buford with Baljeet. I turn to Perry and unwrap the rag from around his bill. When I’ve freed Perry, I see that Phineas is alone with Isabella. He’s stressed and sweating profusely. He keeps shaking, and he can’t get a good grip on Isabella’s ropes.
As he yanks Isabella’s gag down, I dull ringing fills my ears. Isabella starts crying. “Phineas, it’s Bobbi.”
“I know,” he says.
“I always knew she was no good.” This makes Phineas stop. And I can’t believe it, but when Isabella says this, I get so mad, I think I may want to hurt her. Just a little bit.
“It’s fine. It’s okay.” Isabella’s ropes drop to the ground and she is free.
I whirl around and see Bobbi-2 standing with us. “That was so heart-warming,” she says. She produces a handkerchief and dabs at her eyes mockingly.
“Okay,” Candace-2 says. “We played. And we won. Now let us go.”
Bobbi-2 laughs. I know that laugh. It’s Bobbi’s laugh. And it’s used incorrectly. I don’t want to cry. “I knew you would take the bait,” she says. “Too bad it was to no avail.” She points behind us and I whirl around.
I gasp. Isabella, Buford, Baljeet, and Perry are bound and gagged once again. “What happened?” I yell.
“It was never real. What, did you really think it would be that easy?”
“No,” Phineas says. “No, you can’t do this.”
“I can do whatever I want.” She laughs again and I cringe. “Now I win. I love it when that happens. Now… Who’s hungry?”
I run up to Bobbi-2 and put my hands on her shoulders. “This isn’t you!” I say. “Fight it; fight the demon inside you!”
Her face softens and she blinks a little bit. “Oh, Jessie. You’re--you’re right! What have I been doing? Oh, I’m so sorry!”
I smile a bit. “Really?”
Laughter. “No! Did you really just fall for that? Tim! Terry!” Two vampires descend behind her. She turns to them. “Take our little meals to the dining room.” Within a blink, the vampires disappear and their hands are on me. I scream and kick, but it’s all in vain. I stare at Bobbi-2--the girl who uses the face of one of my best friends to deceive and torture me. I want to spit at her. I want to hurt her.
I want her back.
It’s About Time
“And now connect the red wire to the green one.” I do as he says. As soon as the two wires connect, sparks emanate from the mainframe. “And… now it should work. Throw that switch.” He points to the dramatic looking lever. I pull it down and the portal crackles to life.
I let out an exclamation of excitement. “We did it!”
“And it only took…” Carl checks his watch. “Huh, it only took an hour. Not bad for someone with no experience in physics and mechanics.”
Without thinking, I throw my arms around his neck. He stiffens for a moment and then wraps his arms around my waist. “Thanks, Carl.” I pull away. “And yeah, I’m stupid, I know. But that’s besides the point. Thanks so much for your help. I should really go now.”
“Okay.” I step through the portal, my umbrella at bay. Strangely, I don’t think I need it. I close it and I’m not affected. The sun has no affect on me. That can’t be good. This is definitely vampire territory. “Wait, Bobbi.”
I whirl around and see Carl on the other side of the portal. “Yeah?”
“Do you--I mean… Do you have a boyfriend?”
That releases a reaction I never would have expected. It’s like that one science thing: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. And now I am filled with equal and opposite emotions. No, I don’t have a boyfriend and that’s fantastic because Ryan was horrible. No, I don’t have a boyfriend and that’s horrible because Zachary was fantastic.
I shake my head. “No.” He opens his mouth to say something but I cut him off. “And I don’t want one, either. I’ve had really bad experiences with boys.”
“Oh. I’m sorry.”
I wave my hand to disregard the thought. “Forget it. Just go home. But leave the portal open.” I smile. “Thanks again.”
“No problem.” He walks off and I turn back. Now, where are those kids?
The Ultimate Price
No, we didn’t lose.
Doesn’t matter. She would have killed us and her hostages either way.
“Still upset you lost, Phinny?” Bobbi-2 says mockingly. “I would be if I were you. I mean you were so close. I mean really close. I’m sure your friends don’t blame you. Do you?” She turns and looks at her captives: Isabella, Baljeet, Buford, and Perry. I can’t believe I failed all of them. How could I have been so weak? So stupid? “No, of course you don’t blame them. They did their best. They’re so brave. Blah, blah, blah.” She walks over to Isabella and begins grazing her ropes with her finger.
For some reason, it feels as though I’ve failed her most of all.
I long to save her. I actually wish Bobbi-2 had blindfolded me; then I wouldn’t be able to look Isabella right in the eyes and know that I failed her.
"Who," Bobbi-2 continues, “would like the pleasure of being my first bite? After all, each of you are special; each of you are important to me... No one? No one would like the honor?” She crouches down and looks at Isabella. “How about you, Blue Eyes? I’m sure you taste absolutely... sweet.”
No, I want to shout. NO! But despite not being gagged, I can’t find it in myself to say anything. I don’t know whether it’s fear or disappointment or just dehydration, but theres a thick, heavy presence in my mouth that won’t let me speak.
“What’s that, Blue Eyes? You think I’m insane?” Bobbi-2 clasps her chest and gasps in false shock. She turns to her cronies. “She thinks I’m insane! Can you believe that? Sweetie, I know I’m insane. At least a little bit, anyway. But, aren’t we all? Aren’t we all just a little bit insane? In a word: yes.” She nods to one of the vampires--I think the one she calls Tim--and he lifts up a remote and points it a stereo. He presses a button and a jet of air blows behind Bobbi-2.
She reaches up and grabs a microphone suspended above her as the air behind her begins to slow. Synth effects play music that reminds me of the kind heard in a horror movie. The effects stop and, behind Bobbi-2, the sound of drums blares from a stereo I hadn’t noticed before. She pulls the microphone up to her mouth and, despite not having to breathe, inhales fully and deeply.
All that you, that you want
Is crumbling before your eyes
All that you, that you want
Never really was in your grasp
[Remember who you really are]
All that you, that you want
Is ending as soon as you are [You know it’s over]
Stand and face the unknown
[Got to remember who you really are]
Everything that you were
Tells me that you are weak
Hello, hello, remember me?
I'm everything you can't control
You cannot end this pain
You’ll never be free from my grasp, tonight you’ll die
All that you, that you want
Is ridiculous to realize [You know it’s over]
All that you, that you want
Will be mine, just like your lifeblood
[Got to remember who you really are]
And every hour slipping by
Screams that you have failed them
Hello, hello, remember me?
I'm everything you can't control
You cannot end this pain
You’ll never be free from my grasp
Hello, hello, remember me?
I'm everything you can't control
You cannot end this pain
You’ll never be free from my grasp
There's no time, close your eyes
You will never be back home
Tear down the walls, you can’t escape
I will win, you will find yourself losing
Blood, blood, life, life
Hello, hello, it's only me
Infecting everything you love
You cannot end this pain
You’ll never be free from my grasp
Hello, hello, remember me?
I'm everything you can't control
You cannot end this pain
I can’t wait to drink all your life away
Hello, hello, remember me?
I'm everything you can't control
You cannot end this pain
You’ll never be free from my grasp, tonight you’ll die
Remember who you really are
All that you, that you want
Her song ends abruptly. She drops the microphone and it resonates off the ground with high-pitched feedback. “What?” Bobbi-2 asks. “No applause? Come on, I worked hard on that.”
“You’re sick,” I hear Candace-2 mutter.
“Maybe. But you’re saying the song isn’t true? There is only one thing in this world that you can’t change or make better. And that’s me. I’m everything you can’t control. And you hate that. You live for control. That’s why you spend your days in the Resistance or building silly contraptions in your backyard. Suddenly the real world comes in and you can’t stand that. Huh. I need control, too. Guess you already figured that out, though. Yeah. You and me, we’re a lot alike.”
“I will never be like you,” Candace-2 says. I’m amazed at her bravery. Despite the fact we and our friends are going to be vampire food in a matter of minutes.
“Too late, Candy.” Bobbi-2 turns back to Isabella. “Oh, and you’re right, by the way. I may not deserve this life. But you know what?” She smiles wickedly. “I’m not the only one.” Bobbi-2 grabs Isabella’s gag. With a forceful yank, the gag rips in two behind her head and falls to the floor. “So, Blue Eyes”--she reaches down at her feet and pulls a knife out of her shoe's heel--“if there's anything”--she slices the rope binding Isabella's wrists--”you want to say, speak now. Or you'll never get the chance.”
"Stop it!" Other Me and I scream at the same time. "Stop this," I continue. "She didn't do anything. It's me you want."
"Yes, it is. But I don't just want to kill you. I want to break you. Destroy you. Take away everything that you hold dear in your pathetic little life that you're practically begging for death."
Tears blind my eyes. I consider trying to attack her since she left us untied. But I know she and her cronies would kill us. I blink away the tears. In my peripheral vision, I see a black figure move in the darkness. A small glimmer raises above the figure when I realize it's behind the vampire named Will. The glimmer makes contact with his head and he falls slowly, not making a sound.
The same attack happens to two of the other vampires when I notice Isabella. "Phineas," she says crying. "I, I lo--"
"Say goodbye, Blue Eyes," Bobbi-2 says. Her fangs come out as the last vampire is attacked. I finally get a good look at the figure. A pale skin-colored glow surrounds two white orbs with tiny gold circles in them. For a moment, a few strands of bright pink appear. The figure disappears for a moment when Bobbi-2's fangs break Isabella' skin.
I'm about to scream when I see the figure behind Bobbi-2. It's image becomes more clear in the faint light. I see a head, arms, a complete body. The white orbs are eyes with golden irises and the bright pink is hair. "Hey, you." The figure's voice is feminine, muffled, and familiar. Bobbi-2 pulls away from Isabella's neck and looks at the figure. "Get your freakin' hands off her."
A fist collides with her face as Isabella is thrown from her grip.
A Grave Moment
Pain. All I feel is pain.
What happened? She bit me. That’s right. She bit me. I fell. I can’t feel the pain from falling because another pain is blocking it. I’m frozen. Completely numb. No. I’m burning. I’m on fire. No, wrong again. It’s both. Is it possible to be frozen and on fire at the same time? Apparently.
My throat is rubbed raw and my ears fill with screaming. Who’s screaming? It’s feminine, very high-pitched. Terrified. I can’t lift my head to see who it is. It hurts too much. Spots block my vision. I squeeze my eyes to clear them. They only come back in bigger patches.
I’m sleeping. But my eyes are open. I can’t see. The screams intensify. The burning spreads to my stomach.
I rip off my ninja mask and run towards the vampire. Isabella falls to the floor as I grab the vampire’s hair. “Guys, get the others!” I yell. Phineas works on untying Isabella, who starts screaming. I feel hands grab my shoulders, sharp nails digging into my skin. The vampire runs and shoves me into the wall closest to us. My head thumps against it with a pain I haven’t felt in a while. With my hands still gripping her hair, I thrust her head toward the floor.
She slams into the floor as I run towards the chair Isabella was bound to. I rip off one of the legs, turning it into a dangerous, sharp, wooden stake. The vampire gets up when I notice something behind her left ear, almost obscured by her jet black hair. I drop the stake.
Behind her ear is a small tattoo, no bigger than my thumbnail. The tattoo is a black heart, bleeding red blood, surrounded by a silver tiara with thirteen red jewels. The mark of the Vampire Queen. I would know.
I have the same tattoo behind my left ear.
The screaming stops. My throat still feels raw. The screaming isn’t the only thing that stops. All the exterior noise just ended. No warning. Maybe everyone’s dead. Maybe everyone left.
Why would they leave me alone? Alone and… what is happening to me?
I realize the screaming the entire time was me. I tried to scream away the pain. It’s still here. And I’m still screaming. But I can’t hear it. My throat slowly loses its raw feeling. But I don’t remember stopping. I think I’m still screaming. It doesn’t feel like it anymore. If anyone’s still there, I hope they hear me.
I muster as much strength as I can to lift my arm. To signal someone. If someone noticed, I wouldn’t know. I drop my arm. I’m too numb to feel anything. Is it even on the floor? Maybe I’m flying...
“‘Bout time you figured it out,” Other Me says with a laugh. At that, she stood up and lunged toward me, knocking me off balance. She ends up on top of me, a knife (silver, no doubt) pointed at my throat. I fight to get her off of me, but, amazingly, she appears stronger than me. “I’m gonna kill your friends. And then, I’m gonna keep you as a pet. What size collar do you wear?”
Disgusted and horrified, I look over to the kids. They have all managed to be untied. All of them are notably injured. Then I notice Isabella, screaming for a bit and then suddenly stopping. She flails and I notice her straining to let out a scream. Reluctantly, I hear her thoughts: What’s going on?? It hurts so bad!!! That’s when it clicks. Before Other Me dropped her, she must have been bitten.
She’s going through the Transformation.
I can no longer move. Can’t even blink. If anyone were to see me, they would see a paralyzed girl, eyes wide open, mouth agape. They would probably think me dead.
Is this death? The slow build-up? I’ve always heard death was painless and this is far from painless. The raw burning is still there. I can’t remove it from myself, even if I had the ability to try. What’s happening out there? Has anyone noticed me?
I can feel a warmth inside of me. I think the pain’s subsiding. Maybe I’m finally headed towards the light, as they say. I’m headed towards bliss. Cloud Nine. Heaven. Whatever you want to call it.
And I actually want to go. Anything to end the pain.
Without thinking, I grab the silver knife by the blade as hard as I can, wrenching it out of Other Me’s hand. She stares, clearly shocked, and I take my shot. With golden blood dripping out of my hand I stab Other Me in the arm. She recoils, hissing at me with her fangs bared. I get up and slash her face with the knife. She grabs her face to stop too much blood from dripping out, but it’s too late. She’s lost too much blood. I watch her eyes get darker, almost black, as she falls to the floor, a bit of liquid gold running off her cheek and onto the floor.
Quickly, I run to the kids, all crouched over Isabella. Slowly, she stops flailing and becomes frozen. “Get out of the way,” I say, much more forcefully than I mean to, but this is important. The group backs away almost immediately.
“What... what’s happening?” Phineas asks, shaking. I look to him, seeing fear in his eyes. A pit dropped in my stomach; I don’t know if I can tell him.
I smell blood. I need blood. So hungry...
I jolt back into reality. I check my hand and force a sigh of relief when I see it’s still bleeding. Carefully, I press it against the bleeding holes in Isabella’s neck. The blood runs off my hand and enters the wounds.
After a second, I notice Isabella begin to stir. I remove my hand from her neck and pick up a rag nearby to create a tourniquet for my hand.
“Wait, what just happened?” Candace-2 asks as I get up.
“Isabella was bitten,” I reply. “She was about a minute from becoming a vampire... Like me.”
“She... she’s not going to die?” Phineas asks.
“No. Don’t worry; I stopped the Transformation and she"--I gestured to Other Me, probably unconscious--"hardly drank any blood. Isabella’s safe.” At that note, Isabella gets up and hugs Phineas, her wounds almost completely healed.
“Isabella,” he says into her shoulder
“Phineas...” she says, tears running down her face. I feel myself begin to cry and I don’t even bother wiping away the tears. Ferb, Jessie, Buford, and Baljeet all get up and run to join the hug.
The hug lasts for a while before everyone gets up and disperses. “Where have you been?" Phineas asks me.
“Hey,” I reply, “I had to get weapons and when I came back, the machine was off. Do you know how long it takes someone like me to figure out how to work that thing? I’m not an eleven-year-old rocket scientist! All I am is a kick-butt Vampire Queen with ninja skills.” That promotes a louder laugh than I expected. I smile.
Suddenly, I stop smiling. "Phineas," I say. But it’s too late. One of the vampires has his hand around Isabella’s throat. Behind me, Other Me snickers. Good job, Troy, she thinks.
I run to the discarded stake and pick it up. "Catch!" I throw it to Phineas. He catches it and lunges at Troy. The vampire releases Isabella’s neck and is about to run off when Phineas latches onto his back. Troy attempts to shake him off but to no avail. Phineas loses his grip a couple times, but finally manages to shove the wooden stake deep into his chest. The stab kills him instantly; he falls to the ground and Phineas jumps off, shaking. I can’t believe I just killed someone... Phineas thinks.
I can’t believe it either.
I hear the two other vampires get up. One of them, with long blond hair, goes after Buford. Buford is grabbed and hoisted up by him. The vampire hisses and Ferb-2 runs over to Other Me. He reaches down and grabs the silver knife. He runs back and slashes the vampire across the back. Thick golden blood explodes from his back in a fireworks display.
Buford escapes the vampire and hands Jessie the wooden stake. She shoves it into the vampire’s heart.
Finally, the last vampire goes after Phineas-2. Phineas-2 runs from him but the vampire catches up. I see Candace-2 grab the knife and mutter, “I’m going to enjoy this.” The vampire corners Phineas-2. He bares his fangs and Candace-2 stabs him through the heart. The vampire sputters golden blood. Ferb gets up and grabs his other brother. I hand the stake to Candace-2. “You do the honors.”
She smiles and takes the stake from my hand. In one fluid motion, she shoves the stake through his stomach. And twists. This vampire’s death is slower, more painful, but inevitable. After a few painful moments, he dies.
The Seven Heroes
Something still doesn’t make any sense, I think. I reach into my back pocket and pull out a crumpled up piece of paper, looking at it over and over, mouthing some words.
“Again with the prophecy?” Phineas-2 asks irritatingly. I look up and glare at him. “That’s all a bunch of mumbo jumbo.”
“It’s been right about everything so far. The vampires, the whole ‘the only one that can defeat her is herself’ thing--thanks again for that, Bobbi.”
“Eh, all in a day’s work,” Bobbi teases in response.
“So, why are you still looking at it?” Candace-2 asks. “Everything already came true.”
“No,” I say solemnly. “It hasn’t...”
One of us is going to die. I haven’t forgotten that. I will never forget that.
“What haven’t you told us?” Phineas asks angrily. I know I’m going to cry. But I can’t. I won’t. A tear runs down my face anyway.
“‘Out of the seven original heroes, one will not survive.’”
"What?" Candace-2 says. “How could you not tell us this?”
“How was I supposed to tell you one of us was going to die?” I yell. I scan the group: Buford, Baljeet, Isabella, Phineas, Phineas-2, Ferb, Ferb-2, Candace-2, Bobbi, Perry. They all have the same terrified look on their face. One of them’s going to die? Who? Who?
“Well,” Ferb asks. “Who are the seven heroes?” I look back at the paper.
“Well, there are pictures of me, Other Candace, and both Phineases and Ferbs.”
“But that’s only six,” my twin replies.
“I know. The other one must have gotten burned or cut off.”
The group releases a collective sigh. It could be any of us. Any of us could be the seventh hero.
All of us have a chance of dying.
Phineas-2 sighs loudly. But it doesn’t really seem like an exasperated sigh, which I expected. It seems more like a sad, upset sigh. “You have no idea who the seventh hero is?”
“No. The page is ripped of where his picture should be.”
“Let me see it.” I tense up as I hear a rich, velvety voice speak. A voice I’ve never heard before. I turn around and see that he’s one of the vampires. I hear a clatter and see that Bobbi has grabbed the club from off the ground and is now holding it above her head, ready to swing. “Whoa, whoa, whoa! One of my vampire powers is information. I can look at something and know everything about it in seconds. Maybe I can figure out who the other hero is.”
“Why should we trust you?” Candace-2 spits. “You work with her.”
“I never wanted to.”
“Oh, and we’re supposed to believe that?’’ I look at this other vampire for a while, wondering why he hasn’t left his spot. He just stands there, watching all of us. He doesn’t seem to be in a defensive position, ready to strike at the right moment. Then I remember everyone behind me and I realize he’s outnumbered, but I don’t forget the possibility this could somehow turn out bad for us. Bobbi speeds over to me. I feel her yank the prophecy out of my hand. She appears back in front of the vampire. She stares into his scarlet eyes for a moment, probably reading his mind. Finally, she shoves the paper into his hand.
“Thank you,” he says. “What do I call you?”
“Bobbi. And you?”
“Terry.” Behind me, I hear Buford snicker. I don’t exactly blame him; Terry is a girl’s name, after all. Terry glances at the paper, his eyes moving everywhere to analyze every tear, every wrinkle, every inkblot. He looks up at Bobbi and I know he’s figured it out.
“Who is it?” Ferb asks. “Who’s the seventh hero?”
Terry looks right at Bobbi, a little nervous. Even though he was unconscious during the fight, it seems as though he knows who she is. Hesitating, Terry opens his mouth and says to her, “You.”
No wonder he was nervous. If she’s the one who dies, then his precious leader dies, too. I think it all out. Phineas, Phineas-2, Ferb, Ferb-2, Candace-2, Bobbi, and me. One of them is going to die. It can’t be Phineas because then Phineas-2 will die. That would be two people dying. Same with Ferb. Guess that just leaves me, Bobbi, and Candace-2.
“I can’t believe this is happening...” Candace-2 says. I figure she’s figured it out, too. I understand; it’s either her, her sister, or her nemesis.
“Either Jessie, Candace, or Bobbi is going to die,” Phineas says. “This is horrible...”
Buford looks at Jessie. “Jessie, if it’s going to be you, I want you to know that I--”
“Wait,” Phineas-2 says. “I don’t think any of us are going to die.” A thought races in his eyes and I see a smile slowly forming on his face. I’m worried about what he’s thinking. After an entire day of telling us we were all going crazy, why would what he thinks now mean anything?
“Not this again,” Phineas says to him. “Phineas, the prophecy is real. Come one, after everything we’ve been through today, you’re still going to try to convince us it’s not?”
“No, the prophecy is real.” Phineas-2 smiles, and I’m terrified. What could he be thinking?
“That’s ridiculous,” Candace-2 answers. Phineas-2 looks at Phineas. He suddenly realizes what his Other Dimension Self is saying and a rush of excitement washes over his face.
“No, it’s not,” Phineas says excitingly. He turns to Bobbi. “Bobbi, are you alive?”
“Well, no, not technically,” she say. “But--”
“Exactly! Survive means to live. If Bobbi’s not living, then she technically isn’t surviving! None of us is going to die! It never said one of us would die, it just said that one of us won’t live. Oh my gosh, I feel so relieved!” Phineas turns around and sees Isabella, still weak from the Transformation. A smile forms across her face and a tear runs down her cheek. “Isabella, we’re all going to be all right.” He runs to her and hugs her tightly.
“Hey, Buford,” I say, remembering something. “What was that you were going to tell me?”
“Uh...” he replies, nervously. He looks around for help.
“Okay,” Bobbi says awkwardly. Phineas and Isabella pull away to look at her. “As charming as this is--and really it’s, it’s quite charming--uh, why don’t we get out of here before something else goes wrong.”
“Agreed,” Ferb says.
I turn and see Bobbi-2 struggling to get up, clearly weak from her blow to the head. I watch her stand and she tries to swing at Bobbi, but loses her balance and falls down. Bobbi bends down and grabs the club, dangling around in mockery. “Don’t you even try,” she says. Candace-2 comes in behind her and she hands her the club. “Keep her in a silver cell. Feed her a live animal every few days. Keep her as far away from humans as possible.”
“I feel she deserves the capital punishment,” Candace-2 says.
“True,” she says, “but do I?”
No, I think. You’re nothing like her.
“As long as she’s alive, I am. But it’s your choice. Doesn’t really matter to me anyway.” She leans down to Bobbi-2 and I see her vibrant red eyes slowly dim to grey. “Play nice, Bobs. You and I may be linked by the same life, but I won’t hesitate to kill you if need be.” Perry gets behind her and he chatters.
She walks forward and gestures to us. “Do you wanna go home or not?” she asks. I hurry behind her, followed by the Phineases, the Ferbs, Candace-2, Isabella, Buford, Baljeet, and Perry. We’re going home.
Epilogue: Almost Normal Again
As much as it hurts, ain’t it wonderful to feel?
So go on and break your wings
Follow your heart ‘til it bleeds
And we’ve come to the end of the dream
-- Evanescence, “End of the Dream”
That was really close, I think as we enter the first dimension. Candace-2, Phineas-2, and Ferb-2 are standing by the portal.
“Hey guys,” Candace-2 says. “Thanks. We may never have been able to find my brothers in time if you never came.”
“It really wasn’t much,” Phineas replies modestly.
“Wasn’t much? You guys saved my life,” says Isabella. “All of ours.”
“Exactly. Thank you. I don’t know how you figured it out, though. I mean, you told us you came to the other dimension to figure out all the mysterious deaths in your dimension. What gave you that idea?”
Oh no. In all the bedlam and violence, I was pretty sure Phineas has forgotten about finding the pictures. Now Candace-2 reminds them. “We found these pictures,” Phineas answers. “It was us in another dimension.”
“Pictures?” Candace-2 says. “Why were there pictures?” She looked at Phineas-2 and Ferb-2. “We weren’t supposed to give them pictures.”
“Wait, what?” Perfect. Well, if he’s going to find out, I’d rather he found out from me. Reluctantly, I stood up and put on my fedora. “Perry?”
“It’s...” Ferb said. “I think it’s coming back to me... Perry’s a... We were supposed to forget... Phineas, you were right.”
“I remember, too... Perry, we’re so sorry. We didn’t mean to... Are you going to have to go away forever, now?”
“Wait, what is going on?” Jessie asks.
“Jessie, last summer...” And Phineas tells her the story. He tells her about Doofenshmirtz and the Resistance and me. “We’re not supposed to know.”
“Well, can’t you just go through the amnesia-nator again?”
“Huh. I guess we can. Can we, Perry?” I nod. That was Major Monogram’s plan from the beginning, anyway. Get them back to our dimension and run them through the amnesia-nator. And make sure they never see the pictures again. I hate to admit it, but I actually think it’s best if I do burn the pictures. Even though I can never get them again and they’re great memories, I don’t want to run the risk of this happening again.
“I think it’s actually better I forget,” Phineas says. “I don’t think I can live with myself knowing I killed someone.”
“Me either,” Jessie agrees.
“You do know they were vampires, right?” Bobbi reminds them.
“Yes. Yes we do. But they’re still people. And we’re kids. Perry, should we go now?” I gesture to the door.
“He’ll catch up with you,” Bobbi tells them. She and I turn back to the portal.
“Hey, um,” Candace-2 says to Bobbi, “Bobbi, right?” Bobbi nods. “Look, even though that was your other dimension self back there, I actually don’t think too bad of you. After all, you helped save us.”
“No problem. And, just so you know, I’m not going to forget. Even if it’s too dangerous for them to know, I’m a big bad vampire. Nothing’s too dangerous for me.” Candace-2 smiles at her. She escorts her brothers away after waving good-bye. I go over and turn off the portal. Then Bobbi begins to beat it with the club she brought. “What? We have to make sure they can’t get back.” She beats it a couple more times and then stops.
We walk over to the kids. Phineas welcomes me in a hug and we begin to go to OWCA.
“Wow, can you believe he’s still in this?” Phineas asks Ferb. The two sit on the couch watching a reality they got sucked into just a few weeks ago.
“What did I tell you?” Ferb says. “I told you from the beginning, my money’s on the pharmacist. And it still is!” I look at the screen and smile to myself. Doofenshmirtz got it in his head that the best way to rule the Tri-State Area was to win a reality show. So far, he’s made it through, but barely. I’m not really concerned right now.
The show goes to commercial. Bobbi and I, as well as the rest of OWCA, haven’t yet come up with a cover story as to all the unexplained deaths of the teenagers. We intend to, and as soon as we do, we will inform the cops. Poor kids. They didn’t deserve to go out like that. At least Phineas and Ferb are okay.
I envy them. They’re alive and they completely forgot about today. Unlike me. I know today is going to give me nightmares. I was so helpless, so afraid. I put all the kids’ lives at risk just because I was careless with a couple pictures.
But in a way, it’s a good thing. If Phineas never discovered the pictures, we never would have gone back to the other dimension. They would have been killed and Bobbi-2 wouldn’t have been captured. No, it’s not a good thing. It’s perfect.
This still isn’t over, though. One of the vampires is still alive. Just because he helped us doesn’t mean he won’t come back, eviller than ever. And, of course, Bobbi-2 is still alive. She’ll have an eternity in prison, but I have a feeling she’ll get out one day or another. She’s tough. She’s a vampire.
But I’m tired of being afraid of the future. I’m going to live in the now. Today is a gift; that’s why they call it the present. I’m never going to be able to live a normal life, but I’m not normal. Just being a domesticated platypus is strange enough.
I curl up in between Phineas and Ferb. Just then, Jessie walks in going off about how strange the fish on Earth are. I fall blissfully asleep, listening to the sounds of home.
Trivia and Other Information
- This story was originally inspired by a Ke$ha song (“Blow”, to be specific)
- The song (“That You Want”) is a parody of "What You Want" by Evanescence
- Among the Dead is the first in The Dark Angel Trilogy
- The next story will come out January, 2014
- The idea of finding keys was inspired by Saw (though the author has not actually seen the movies)
- The hallucinations of the gang’s deepest fears was inspired by Divergent by Veronica Roth
- The author of this fanfic is not liable for any and all cases of extreme fear after reading this fanfic, including, but not limited to, nightmares, bedwetting, random screaming, fear of one’s own other dimensional self, PTSD, anxiety, schizophrenia, necrophobia, hemophobia, and achluophobia
- Promo: feel free to follow the author on Tumblr at fandom-warrior-princess.tumblr.com