“Mom! Dad!” Barefoot screamed. I was frozen. They were plunging, plunging-you know what? Let me back up a little bit.
Episode 1 – Slippery Icicle
March 1st, 2014 (USA)
The name’s Slippery Icicle, but I just go by Slip. I’m a 12 year old girl, and a horrible storyteller. Oh, I’m sorry, did that sound too negative? Let me add on some sunshine and rainbows for you! Um, and I get sarcastic when I’m nervous. So where to start, where to start. I guess here…
“B.F!” I yelled, pounding on his door, my towel hastily wrapped around me. “What?” he shouted back from the other side of his door. I threw the door open. “Did you put all those dead bugs in my shampoo again?” I demanded. “No. The Hair Fairy did,” he said, rolling his eyes. I went into my room and changed, then I jumped my brother. A girl can’t stay like that very long. Unfortunately, it was pretty hard to throttle him when he had no neck. He shoved me off and massaged his base of his head (which was really pointless, maybe he was trying to make up for his lack of neck). I finally got a good, long look at him as he eyed me warily. Barefoot (he prefers B.F, but who cares) is my older brother. He’s fifteen and a half and he reeks of aftershave. I grabbed his phone and flipped it open. Of course. 13 texts from his girlfriend, Happy Fish. He swiped the phone away. “Give that back!” he said, his face turning red. I was about to prank call Happy saying it was from him, when my parents called up the stairs. “Kids! Dinner’s ready!” They said. I sighed. They got in the middle of some pretty good arguments between us sometimes and then I lost my phone for a week and he got off scot-free. “Race you down the stairs!” B.F yelled. He didn’t even take them, just slid down the stair rail. Figures. By the time I got down, he was already wolfing down his steak. “Kids,” said my dad, Sticky Icicle. He’s a tough looking guy, with sunglasses and a pointed beard. “We have a surprise for you.” my mom, Cuddly Icicle, chimed in. “We’re going to the beach!” B.F was so surprised, he spewed out all of his steak on the table. Nasty. I couldn’t help laughing, or at least not until Dad shot me a dirty look. That shut me up. “Remember last time? Have you lost your minds?” he demanded. Ah…yes. Last time. The only beach is on Shark Tooth, and we went there 6 years ago. B.F had gone swimming and lost his leg to Booga, so he had replaced his leg with a peg leg. That’s probably why Happy started dating him- because she thought he looked like a “warrior.” So, obviously, he was terrified of the place. “It’s alright, son,” said Dad. “I heard they got the shark thing under control. I forget his name…” He looked at my mother for support. “Cuddly Lion,” she offered. “Thirty-seven island completer.” I sighed. That guy was all over the news. Lion this, Lion that, who cares. B.F likes to tease me and say that I like him, but I think he’s really just a normal guy. B.F still looked hesitant. “Are you sure?” he asked Mom. “Positive,” she replied. My brother relaxed. “Fine.” Mom squealed. “Oh, sweetie! We’re going to have so much fun! We rented a beach house on Hammerhead’s island, nice and private-” “-so no one will be able to hear us scream for help as we get eaten alive by a shark,” B.F interrupted. I smiled. That’s my brother. Existing just for argument’s sake. My mom gave him a look and continued “-and we have a flight from Golden Blimp Services, Inc.” That got my attention. I loved riding Golden Blimp blimps. Trust me, it’s not the flying part I love. Air travel makes me sick. Nah, there’s this really cute boy who runs the wheel, and he’s only thirteen-not much older than me! I keep on trying to make my move on him, but Barefoot keeps getting in the way. He’s read all three of my diaries four times, and if he loved to read books as much as he loved to read my secrets, he would be on honor roll. But he’s not. The point is, B.F knows I like him, and he keeps on trying to ruin things for me. But this time would be different. I could feel it in my gut.
Unfortunately, my gut was right-this time would be different. But not in the way I had hoped.
Episode 2 – Barefoot Icicle
March 2nd, 2014 (USA)
‘Sup? It’s B.F. I guess Slip already introduced me, so let’s skip right up to packing. So while she packed her thousand pairs of shoes, I stole her phone and played Forgotten Islands for a while. I’ve always been a little jealous of her. I’m the older brother, I’m almost 16, and I get a crummy flip phone. She’s three years younger and she has a pPhone 7s! It’s not fair! Oops, getting off topic. So Slip came in to grab her phone, cause she had left it charging. She saw me playing it, came over, and slapped me. She’s got a fiery spirit. That’s gonna scare away quite a few guys. [Shut, up, Slip, you know it’s true.] She grabbed it out of my hands, and I gave her a crooked smile. Hey, not my fault I’m a jokester. Dad tells us stories all the time about stealing Aunt Grumpy’s phone. She’s not very well-named, Aunt Grumpy’s the nicest lady on Poptropica. “We’re leaving in two hours, Slip!” Mom yelled up the stairs. I huffed. That’s another thing-they treat her like she’s the oldest, and more responsible. It makes me want to vomit. I stomped into my room and sighed. I could almost feel my leg burning, the shark’s teeth sinking into it. But I couldn’t feel my leg anymore. My leg was a big pile of shark poo in the middle of the Shark Tooth ocean. All I had was this big hunk of wood. Whenever I meet someone, no matter how open-minded or polite they are, they always stare at my leg for an uncomfortable minute, mouth open, eyes gawking. I just like to be known for who I am, not that poor kid with the peg leg who everyone feels sorry for. Heck, I’d rather just be totally ignored. This is not fun. I snatched my phone up from the bedside table. “1 hour!?” I said, not believing it. How had so much time already passed? Whatever. I texted Happy. She replied immediately.
Me: What’s up?
Her: Hi sweetie!! Why haven’t you been answering my texts?
Me: Because you sent me fifteen in the last five minutes?
Her: Just wanted to make sure you were doing amazing, baby!
I sighed. I liked Happy and all, and I didn’t want to hurt her feelings, but I needed to dump her. She was driving me nuts. I knocked on the door. “Come in,” said Slip. I walked in. “Hey, B.F, guess what? Nameless is coming with us to the beach! And she said that her parents aren’t coming and our parents will probably just be sunbathing, so we get the whole island to ourselves!” I groaned. “Come on. Nameless?” I actually didn’t mind, Nameless is actually really nice. [Yeah, I said actually, Nameless. I notice you don’t interrupt when Slip’s telling the story.] But still, she’s my sister’s friend, so I have to pretend to hate her. She knows it’s an act and likes to tease me and say I like her. [I don’t, Nameless! Drop it!] “Kids!” Dad yelled. “Nameless is here!” Slip squealed and ran downstairs. Unfortunately, she took her phone with her this time. I need to be more careful to see if she’s watching. When I came downstairs, Slip and Nameless were chatting on the couch as my parents threw them a couple of sodas and some chips. They offered me a soda, too, but I said I wasn’t thirsty. As Nameless sipped on her soda, she asked Slip, “How’s it doing between you and that cute guy who runs the blimps?” Slip blushed at that and glanced over at me, trying not to laugh. Her expression changed and it clearly said, “If you embarrass me in front of my friend, you will never see the light of day again.” That shut me up. She’s the expert of dirty looks. She dropped her volume down quite a few notches, and whispered, “I’m planning on making my move this time.” That piqued my curiosity. It’s fun to mess with her love life. “Let’s get in the car, guys,” mom said. “Gladly,” I replied, with a mischievous smile on my face. Both Nameless and Slip looked at me suspiciously, especially Slip. Three hours ago, I had been saying I never wanted to go again, and now I was acting as friendly as the Pillsbury Doughboy? She figured something was up. She has some good detective skills, I’ll give her that. I ran upstairs and grabbed my duffel bag and jumped into Dad’s car. We drove half a mile before he turned the rearview mirror to face me. “You do like that girl, don’t you?” he asked. Oh, no. Well, at least Slip and Nameless were taking Mom’s car. They would have been torture if they heard this. “No!” I said, my ears turning an uncomfortable crimson and darkening into a deep purple. He nodded skeptically. “Of course you don’t.” But we drove on in silence. About twenty minutes later, we pulled in to the big airport Golden Blimp uses. I saw that guy that Slip likes waving to us as we found a parking spot. As we got out of the car, I cracked my knuckles. Time to get started. “Hey, guys. Glad you could make it!” He stuck out his hand to shake mine. Hooccchh…PTOOO! I spit into my hand and shook his. Dad looked disgusted. “Barefoot Icicle! You apologize this moment!” I turned to him and gave him a mocking smile. “Sorry, bro,” I said. He looked a little grossed out, but he wiped his hand on his jeans and said, “No problem. Hey, isn’t that your sister?” I raised my eyebrow. He almost sounded a little hopeful. “Yes, Speedy,” my dad replied. Ah, Speedy. That was his name. Speedy Tomato. “That’s her. Again, I’m sorry for B.F. Here’s a tip.” He handed Speedy a five dollar bill. As Nameless came over, her eyes widened and she whispered frantically to Slip. She glowered at me, like “WHAT DID YOU DO?!” I shrugged and grinned. She looked about ready to punch me, but she restrained herself. She didn’t want to look bad in front of Speedy. So she came over and gave him her cutest smile. “Hey, Slip,” he said. She looked overjoyed, as if him remembering her name meant “Will you marry me?” I rolled my eyes. Mom jogged over. “Hey, Speedy,” she said brightly. She turned and winked at my sister. “So! Where’s the blimp?” asked Dad. A confused look crossed his face. “What blimp?” He studied our astonished faces for a few moments, then burst out laughing. “Nah, I’m just messing with you. Behind the building.” And, still chuckling to himself, he brought us to it. “Priceless,” I muttered. “Ha ha.” We climbed into the blimp. I sat next to my dad, who sat next to Mom, who sat next to Nameless, who sat next to Slip, who sat next to-who else- Speedy. We were going up really high when Speedy frowned. “Sorry, guys, we have to go a little higher. I know it’s warm, but we have to let one of the bags drop.” Meanwhile, I was tying Nameless’s shoelaces to the ropes. Speedy let the bag fall. And Nameless was tugged out of the blimp and started to fall, screaming for help.
Episode 3 – Slippery Icicle
March 6th, 2014 (USA)
“Nameless!” I screamed. Call me stupid-I ran over and jumped off of the blimp. My hands closed around her ankle. “If we die, we die together!” I told Nameless. “NOT HELPING!!!!! SOMEBODY GRAB US!” she yelled. Good point. This was it! The ground started to come up closer, closer…
And my foot caught on a rope.
I barely moved as Speedy reeled us in. It was the strangest thing-I could have sworn I saw a flash of silver run by, throw up the rope, and run. But probably just near death hallucinations. As we got into the blimp, I walked over and promptly punched my brother in the stomach. Neither Mom nor Dad objected. He doubled over, wheezing and looking like he was going to cry, and then set his jaw. “Didn’t hurt,” he decided. I could see my vision reddening. “Do you want another one that will hurt?” I asked. I set my fist up high, ready for another blow, when Nameless grabbed my arm. I struggled to fight free of her grip. “Let go, Nameless! He needs a taste of his own medicine!” Nameless looked at me, almost sad. “That’s my girl. Feisty,” she said. I lowered my hand a little bit. “Nameless, it’s his fault we almost died!” I complained. She shushed me. “I know. But he was just playing a practical joke. Being an idiot. Like always.” B.F frowned at that description. “I’m right here,” he said. “I know that, you moron, that’s the point!” Nameless snapped. He shrank back into his seat and her voice became calm again. “Look, it was an accident. It’s my fault for letting my guard down.” I sighed and put my hand down completely. “You should be a psychology major,” I said. She smirked. “Maybe I will be,” she said. “Now get some rest.” I layed my head my head down on Mom’s lap, and soon I was asleep.
My dreams were garbled and confused. I came to a strange part where I saw a masked face typing in words to a keyboard. He looked up and grinned. “Ah, Slippery Icicle. I’ve been wanting to talk to you.” I said nothing. I couldn’t. My voice didn’t work. “What’s the matter? Cat got your tongue?” he asked mockingly. “Listen, Icicle, just because I saved your butt doesn’t mean I always will. In fact…” He started to chuckle to himself. Okay, this guy was officially creepy. “Well, I will see you soon. But not in a way you will hope.” And his face and the dream slowly faded away.
I woke up in a cold sweat. Don’t worry, I told myself. It was just a dream. I helped myself to a few pancakes (don’t even ask me how a griddle works seventy feet in the air) and four smoothies. B.F beat me-he ate ten pancakes, drank twelve smoothies, and ate nine eggs. I don’t really know where all of that food goes. My brother’s like a black hole. I talked to Speedy for a little while (he was definitely crushing on me, EEEEEEEEEEEEKKK!!!!! SO HAPPY!!!!) and then drew a mustache on B.F while he was asleep (I promised not to punch him, but I didn’t promise I wouldn’t take revenge on him) and stuck some of his old underwear on his head (you could tell they hadn’t been washed for at least a month). A couple hours later, we were on Shark Tooth. I looked around in amazement. “This place is awesome!” I shouted. Nameless nodded. “Yup, it’s definitely improved since we last came.” Then Speedy came from behind the blimp with a huge smile on his face. “Good news!” he announced. “I just got off the phone with my boss, and he says I can have a vacation! He booked me a house on Hammerhead’s island right next to yours and told me to come back when you came back.” I could barely hide the stupid smile. Why else would he be so excited? DUH! He liked me! “That-that’s great, Speedy,” I said, trying to sound nonchalant. He nodded, looking very distracted. B.F yawned and frowned at all of us. “What’s up? Why are you all staring at me?” he demanded. I tried not to look to the top of his head too much. “Oh, nothing. We were just”-I stifled a laugh-”under.” He gave me a strange look. “Under where?” he asked. I giggled. “Exactly,” I told him. He looked mystified. Even Dad was having trouble holding it in. Then we all burst out laughing. He looked around at all of us frantically. “Um, are you guys okay?” he asked. “Oh, please, I mustache you to stop asking us questions,” Nameless said. And on came the giggles. He rolled his eyes. “Um, okay. Let’s go.”
As we were walking down, he got quite a few strange looks from people. I suppose he did look odd-a fifteen and a half year old with a peg leg, a Sharpie mustache and a dirty pair of underwear as a hat. We boarded the boat and the captain pointed at B.F and said “¿Por que existe la ropa interior en la cabeza?” B.F looked at him strangely. “Um, what?” The captain nodded. “Ingles.” So he tried again. “Why is there underwear on your head?” B.F jerked up suddenly and patted around his head until he ripped off the underwear and shoved it into his bag, looking embarrassed. “Can we just go?” he snapped. The captain raised his hands in defeat. “Vale, vale. Nadie esta tratando de atacar a usted aqui,” he said. “Speak English, nutjob!” my brother demanded. He gave B.F a dirty look. “Okay, okay. Nobody’s trying to attack you here,” he translated. And we went on in silence, the captain glaring at B.F at six minute intervals.
And we arrived at the island. My mouth dropped open.
Episode 4 – Barefoot Icicle
March 14th, 2014 (USA)
I sat down slowly. “This-is-AWESOME!” I looked around me in disbelief. Whoever took over Hammerhead’s island seriously knew how to decorate. Five bedrooms, a pool with a hot tub, a vending machine, a ping pong table-you name it, we had it. I was about to run off and jump into the pool, when my parents surprised me. “Oh, B.F?” they called. I groaned, sure they were about to give me some lame rules. “Turn around, son,” Dad called. I turned and I almost was blinded. There was a really big flash of white bouncing off a screen. Wait…a screen? I ran over, no longer miffed. “Yeah?” I asked. I didn’t notice this, but as I was in a trance, Mom waved to Speedy and Slip. They held hands and started walking behind the beach house. “Son, we know you’ve been mad about your phone,” Dad said. “And, um, we felt kind of bad since your sister has such a nice phone. And-and you know the pPhone 10s just came out…and we got it for you.” My eyes widened. My peg leg almost fell off. “Dad-I don’t know what to say!” I exclaimed. He smiled. “You could start off with, ‘I honor you, my lord,’” he said. Then he burst out laughing. I couldn’t help it- I did too. Maybe this vacation would be good after all. Once I finished my sixth bottle of Pop Pepsi, Dad walked over and showed me the ropes of my new phone. It had Pava, Adobe-don’t even ask how they got that into a phone-Piri, unlimited talk, text, and data, and one thousand credits to buy apps. And seeing as an app costed half a credit? Things were looking up. I spent about an hour personalizing my new phone, and then I found out it refilled it’s battery by itself. How cool was that? So I walked over, and that’s when I noticed Speedy and Slip giggling and talking like a couple of third grade girls. She saw me, and the smile was wiped off of her face. “Hold on, Speedy,” she said. He kissed her on the cheek and went swimming. As soon as he was out of hearing range, she walked up to me and said, “Speedy and I are dating now.” Oh, great. Now I had to deal with them all day. “Well, ha ha on you. I just got a pPhone 10s!” I mocked. She facepalmed herself. “Oh god, you’re stupider than I thought, B.F. I guilted our parents into getting you that phone.” I stopped laughing. “Oh-um-well, thanks for doing that for me,” I said uneasily. I felt like a jerk. She gave an exasperated sigh. “I didn’t do it for you,” she said. “I did it for me.” I stopped smiling, even faking it. “Wha-what do you mean?” I asked. I felt dizzy. She slapped me. I was so mad-and yet I couldn’t do anything. I felt like the biggest jerk in the world. Now I knew what she meant. That was when I realized where they had come from earlier. She must have talked to Mom and Dad while I was asleep on the blimp. So that she could spend time with Speedy. So that he could fall in love with her. “You getting it now?” she asked furiously. She stomped off, and I felt terrible. But the first thing I did? I called Happy. I can bet you knew what I was doing. I punched in *67 after her number so she wouldn’t know my new number. She picked up. “Hello?” she asked. I grimaced. Here came the hard part. “Happy, it’s B.F. Look, I know this is sudden and I’m only saying it once. I’m breaking up with you.” I could just hear her gasp of disbelief before I ended the call. Happy wasn’t really my type anymore. She was too cheery. Sometimes she felt more like a creepy fan stalker than my girlfriend. I sat and thought about the first day I met her, and where our relationship went from there.
We were in second grade. I was zooming along my little toy dinosaurs in pick up trucks, when one of the girls bumped into me. I almost said “Ew! A girl!” until I saw her face. She was gorgeous, and she was studying me too. If perfection existed, this was it. And then the bell rang and I was dragged inside. I never forgot about her. And then in my freshmen year, I saw her in the hallway, looking even better than she had then. I kind of hung around her, laughing when she made a joke, picking up her pencils if she dropped them. Finally, on the second to last day of school, I asked her out.
Would it surprise you if I told you she said yes? I didn’t think so.
And now I was a sophomore, and I was over her. To be honest-there was one special girl I had my eye on, but I couldn’t tell her now. [No, Nameless, it wasn’t you. I’m starting to think you like me.] But things change. To be honest, I hoped it didn’t happen to Speedy and Slip.
Yeah, you read that right.
Speedy was a cool dude, and a guy I’d like to have as a brother in law. [Yeah, I said it, Slip. Don’t tell Speedy though, cause trust me, you don’t want him to change that.] I got up from my thinking spot and went to join the party. Speedy and Slip were making out in the water (avoid the gag repress), Nameless was swimming laps, and my parents were lying on a pair of beach chairs. It was hot-it had to be at least ninety. I was about to jump in when the ground began to rumble. Nameless stopped. Speedy and Slip came up for air. My parents heard nothing. They had music on and a book in front of each of them. We all ran back into the house and yelled for them. But it was too late. The ground split open and swallowed up my screaming parents. “Mom! Dad!” I screamed. Slip didn’t move, even when Speedy shook her. I held Nameless back. And a flash of silver disappeared into the crevice with them. It started to close up. I ran over, but I was too late. The crevice was closed. My parents were gone.
Episode 5 – Slippery Icicle
March 19th, 2014 (USA)
“Mom! Dad!” I called for what felt like the millionth time. Speedy put his arm around my shoulder. “It’s okay,” he said. Then he broke down and started holding himself. I was startled to see him like this-Speedy was the calm one of us. “What’s wrong, Speedy?” B.F asked. Oh, sure, now he’s being nice too him. Speedy started to tell the story.
“Run!” said the father. He had a slash across his chest, his unconscious wife over his shoulder, and his baby son cradled in his arms. The baby cooed in his sleep and reached out his chubby little hands to grab at the pretty little sparks flying in the air. The father carried him over to a stash of bricks and leaves hidden by vegetation. “You’ll be safe here, son. Speedy, that’s what your mother wanted to call you…maybe I shouldn’t talk about her in the past tense. It’s okay, just get away from our home. Monster Carnival is a wretched place. P-please, Speedy, just go. We’ll see you again.” The baby cried as his father uttered his last word and was consumed by the fire.
The house, almost knowing what it was supposed to do, floated away after the island sank, with the baby inside. It traveled to Cryptids Island, where Harold Mews took him in and taught him everything he knew, from manners to algebra. Seriously. He knew how to calculate the value of x by the time he was five. And every day, the memory did not go foggy and disappear, as most do, but it stayed glued in his brain. If anything, it was becoming more vivid. That’s why he was so eager to join them. Because maybe it would shove the memory away, and he could start a new life with me. [I am NOT blushing, B.F, shut it!] Plus, after Cuddly Lion had recovered all of the cryptids, Mews no longer cared for Speedy. He kicked him across the floor when he was walking into the kitchen (and so did the butler). What could he do? Speedy ran away. He came to Shark Tooth Island, where he worked for the next couple of years, shifting islands and transporting people. And…that was it. That was his story.
I sat there in shock until Nameless asked, “What’s it like?” Speedy looked bad. “Horrible,” he croaked. “It gets worse every day.” I stomped my foot in outrage. Now it was their turn to be shocked. “Your parents are alive, Speedy,” I said. He looked startled. I didn’t know where that came from. And then I remembered the dream. The masked face. He must have started that fire. He sent the message to me that Speedy’s parents were alive and well. I closed my eyes and tried to see. A very different view came to me. A woman banged her wrench against the car she was working on. A man stepped out of the shadows. “Sweetie, there are customers coming. She smiled and put down the wrench. In a hushed voice, she asked, “When do you think Speedy will realize we’re alive?” The father, whose nametag identified him as ‘Friendly Tomato’ put his finger to her lips. “They will find out, Slip. But we must rest.” She nodded and yawned, then flipped the open sign to closed a midst the cries of “Come on!” and “It’s supposed to run 24 hours a day!” and yet more of “Where will I take a shower?!” Ew. The mother, who turned out to be named Slippery like me, unfolded two beds in the back room and they fell asleep. I opened my eyes again. “They’re on Monster Carnival, Speedy.” He gasped. “Impossible! My old home? That place burned down and sunk into the ocean!” I shook my head. “Well, it’s back, and your parents are auto repairman.” He frowned. “That is what they did before they died…what are their names?” he asked. “Friendly and Slippery, but your mom goes by Slip.” His mouth formed a perfect O. He sat down slowly. “You’re right! They are alive!” But then his face turned dark again. “But we need to save your parents first,” he murmured. I shook my head. “No, we don’t.” I said. He looked at me. “What?” I started to explain. “When I had that vision, there was a scar in the pavement, jagged. And you know what was next to it?” B.F stepped up. I seemed to have triggered a memory. “Lemon drops,” he said. “Wait, what?” Nameless asked. She had been quiet so long, I had forgotten she was there. “Back when we were little kids, our parents made a deal. We had to always carry around lemon drops with us, even them.” Speedy frowned. “The point is…?” he asked. I shot him an exasperated look. “Still don’t get it? Those lemon drops weren’t for eating. They were for emergencies. If there was ever a problem, we would leave a stack of lemon drops there. We actually made a whole language with lemon drops, so we could even give messages like what happened, or where we are. And they were used for trails if we got lost. Those lemon drops said, ‘He’s got us underground.’ I didn’t understand it. But now I do. A masked face has been appearing in my dreams. And I never noticed his surroundings, but they look almost…undergroundish.” B.F said under his breath, “Spoken like a true scientist.” I glared at him. “But we can’t up and go to Monster Carnival,” Speedy pointed out. “No, but we can find out who did it. I’ve been seeing a strange flash of silver-it threw the rope when I fell out of the blimp, and it went into the crack with our parents.” Nameless frowned. “Um, Slip? Isn’t there only one villain who could possibly have silver?” she asked. I stared at her. “Duh.” B.F was confused. “I have no idea what’s going on here,” he said. “Spoken like a true scientist,” I muttered. He punched me in the arm.”The point is, I know which villain did it. Binary Bard.”
Episode 6 – Barefoot Icicle
March 22nd, 2014 (USA)
So, yeah. Speedy was an orphan and we learned in about three seconds that his parents were alive. Oh, and our parents had been taken by an awful villain.
What else was new?
I didn’t recognize the name at first, so I pulled up Piri. It gave me a short bio. “Binary Bard was an ordinary man named Mordred who lived on Astro-Knights when he fused himself and became half-man, half-machine. He plotted to become ruler of the universe by marrying the princess of Arturus and becoming king, but his plan was foiled by Cud-”
I put Piri away. I knew what it was going to do-give me a long, boring story about Cuddly Lion flying off and saving an island-AGAIN. Talk about unoriginal. I turned to Slip. “How exactly did you get a vision?” I asked. She shrugged. “Same way Speedy’s parents survived that fire, I guess. Luck.” I was still suspicious. Nameless stood up. “What are we waiting for? Let’s go to Astro-Knights and beat him up!” she said. So reasonable. Speedy nodded. “I try not to get in fights,” he said. “But he’s gonna PAY for what he did.” And I had a feeling he wasn’t talking about the fire-probably talking about him hurting Slip. Slip sighed. “It’s not that easy, guys. We couldn’t even get where he was imprisoned-assuming that he was still there, which he isn’t.” I looked at her. “What?” She sat down on a bit of beach chair that had been ripped off after the crack. I winced just thinking about it. She beckoned to all of us to sit down as well. I ended up with my butt wedged in a flowerpot and Speedy and Nameless attempting (badly) to hold back the laughing. “He isn’t there anymore,” she explained. “Zeus brought him to Super Villain Island, to Erewhon prison, and when the prison got blown up-” “by Cuddly Lion, I bet,” I interrupted. She glared at me. “Yes, B.F. What did you expect? That guy’s everywhere.” I grumbled and my butt went in a little farther. “-Binary Bard escaped, and no one’s seen him since. No one’s seen Captain Crawfish, Black Widow, or Dr. Hare for a while too-they escaped with him. But we don’t care about them. The point is, we have to find Bard before we drill him.” I stood up, without realizing the flowerpot was stuck. It fell off and shattered. I blushed. “Let’s start at Super Villain. It’s possible he’s hiding around the area still,” I said. Everyone looked at me strangely, but that might’ve been because of the bits of flowerpot at my feet. It also could have been because I was not usually the one who offered ideas. But they hastily nodded and we clambered into the boat. There was the annoying guy again. “¿Dónde están tus padres?” he demanded. I had a translate app with me, so I checked it. “Where are your parents?”
I shoved him out of the boat.
At least I pushed him on shore. When he looked up, we were jumping out of the boat. He yelled a string of words that I probably didn’t want to translate. We climbed into the blimp and Speedy navigated us to the island. The real surprise? We found Binary Bard immediately. He was sitting on a rock behind the jail with a tin. His metal face was deformed and splotched with something that looked suspiciously like seagull poop. His one red eye was cracked, and his wide smirk was replaced with a look of great concern. When he saw us, he raised his hands in defeat. “Please don’t hurt me!” he cried. I’m not kidding-he actually started crying. It made him short circuit a little bit, so we sat down next to him. “It’s okay,” Slip soothed him. “We’re not here to hurt you.” He raised his tin to us. “Spare change?” he pleaded. Speedy’s eyes lit up. I didn’t really like that glint. “Bard?” he asked. Bard looked at him. “You used to be a villain, right?” he asked. Bard nodded. “I was one of the best. But now…no more. Erewhon was better than this.” He feebly waved his hand at the imploded tower behind him. “And it takes a villain to know a villain?” he asked. Bard nodded again. “Then can you come with us?” This caught me so off guard, I tumbled off the rock. Bard immediately used a hand extension and grabbed me. I pulled out my phone. It was ruined. “Noooooooo!” I screamed. Bard scootched over. He waved his hand over the phone, and it was fine. My mouth dropped open and I turned to Nameless and Slip. “We’re taking him,” I announced. He broke into a grin. “Thank you! Thank you!” he said. Slip nodded her head ever so slightly, and Nameless smirked. “It makes sense. You’ll need him to fix your phone, probably about seven more times,” she predicted. I punched her in the arm. Yep, things were going back to normal. Speedy smiled. “Come on, Bard. Let’s go find that villain.” The first thing Bard did when we got into the blimp was pull a privacy curtain around one section. When he came out, he was as good as new. “Just in case we need to battle someone,” he explained. “I need to be ready.” Slip and I looked at each other and came to a silent agreement: It hadn’t been him. I admit I was a little suspicious with him acting so vulnerable, but he would have hurt us by now if he had wanted to. Then he studied me and the grin disappeared. “Um, why do you have a mustache?” he asked. I didn’t say a word, just pointed at Slip. He nodded knowledgeably. “Sibling rivalry, eh? I know what that’s like. I used to have four brothers-Gawain, Agravain, Gaheris, and Gareth. But…after I became what I am, I never saw them again.” The look of pain on his face made me feel sorry for him. “Guys, why don’t you get some rest? I’ll watch Bard,” suggested Speedy. We tried to protest, but it was so obvious we were tired that we were just out. Just like that. And a couple hours later, I woke up to see a flash of lightning headed for our blimp.
Episode 7 – Slippery Icicle
March 28th, 2014 (USA)
I screamed. The lightning pierced our blimp and we started to fall. B.F started falling out of the blimp, but I caught him. “We’re even,” I muttered. I pulled Speedy close and wrapped my arms around him. I didn’t even know if he cared, but if we were going to die, I wanted that to be the last thing I ever did. He kissed me on the cheek and ran over to the wheel. “I’ll get us out of here, Slip, I promise,” he said. He struggled with the wheel for a little bit and the blimp flew into a tree. We all jumped out of the blimp as we got close to the tree, and then we ran under a bush (with a little bit of the blimp to protect us from lightning). Once we were safe, I hugged Speedy again, and this time I wouldn’t let go. B.F watched us with a face for a while before he said “Okay guys, we’re rising up a little too fast.” Did I notice a hint of concern in his voice? And then I realized there was only four of us. I walked over to Bard. “Where’s Nameless?” I asked, a little too fast. His great red eye momentarily turned blue with a little sonar thing until he said “Um, we’ve got a problem.” My heart sank. “What do you mean by problem?” He fidgeted a little bit. “She’s on Monster Carnival,” he said. “But she went with that masked figure dude.” Oh, no. “First my parents, then Nameless, who next?” I demanded. Bard looked even more uncomfortable. “Uh, I can answer that,” he said. “What???!!!” I screamed. He cowered behind a bush. “Th-they’ve got Speedy’s parents, too.” Speedy looked crestfallen. ” I bet that they’re burning their bodies right now,” he said glumly. Bard looked at him strangely. “Why would they do that?” he asked. “I mean, they obviously know there’s at least four of us. They’re using them as bait.” I glared at him. Then my face turned curious. “You said ‘they,’ Bard. What’s that mean?” I asked, my anger gone. He looked surprised. “I thought you knew-every evil villain has a sidekick! There was me and Merlin, the owl, there was Captain Crawfish and his crew, there was the Black Widow and that shadowy guy, and there was Dr. Hare with his bunny drones.” I thought for a second, my anger back. I needed to find someone who didn’t have a sidekick to top him off. “Well, what about Ze-” I started to say, then stopped dead. “Zeus! He must’ve taken our parents!” I said excitedly. Bard shook his head. “That isn’t Zeus’s style, nor the mask. He wants world domination, and his plans are never very well-thought out. He caught me by jumping out of my bedroom closet in Arturus. Like I said, not well-thought out.” I looked at him. “You got out of space?” He started fidgeting again. “Uh, yeah…” he said, with an air of somebody who’s trying to avoid something important-something VERY important. But I couldn’t really pay attention, as I was just noticing our surroundings. Snow blanketed the forest-you couldn’t even see our footprints. A woodpecker looked for food in a nearby tree, and a squirrel chattered noisily. And the next thing I noticed? It was freezing. I felt like I was about to get frostbite. My teeth started to chatter, and my eyes started to water. “What is this place?” I asked, ignoring the frozen wind going up my nose. B.F took off his peg leg and emptied it of the snow (I don’t even want to know how snow got in there) and he looked grim. “Survival Island,” he says. I racked my brain, but I couldn’t figure that one out. “What?” I asked. “The Yukon,” Speedy said. My heart dropped into my liver. The Yukon was part of the human world. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, humans. You think that because you control us, you rule the worlds. Well, sorry. You can adopt us as much as you wish, but the ones you play are known as “dummy Poptropicans.” It means that they’re fake. Sure, they have lives and everything, but they’re really only part of the human world. Well…I guess I should correct myself. A lot of characters become so powerful, they actually become real Poptropicans and go into our world. There’s a possibility that one could reverse that, but no one would. It’d be like choosing to die. Anyway, the Yukon was in their “Canada.” In other words? Freezing. “We need to build a fire,” I said, shivering. Speedy chose a good spot protected from wind and dumped a bunch of stuff out of his bag. That thing’s tiny, I really have no idea how everything fits in there. Especially if you’re a “member” like Cuddly Lion, the big, great hero. Pfft. Yeah, right. Soon, we had a blazing fire. I leaned against Speedy’s chest as Bard cooked us fish-in his face. He had an oven setting on there too? Completely unfair. [That’s B.F saying my face does look like an oven. Oh, and that’s Speedy punching him. And that’s him swearing violently. No, I’m not going to repeat them into the mic, B.F, shut up!] He pulled out the fish and set it on a bunch of plates that he somehow also made in his face. As we ate, we took turns telling stories, just made them up as we went. Speedy told an adventure story, I told a romance story, B.F told a horror story, and Bard told a survival story, which I thought was kind of pointless as we were living a survival story. We were so entranced by his story, however, that we didn’t notice when his hand extensions went deep into the wood and sounds of clanging began. When he finished, a new plane flew out of the forest. My eyes bugged out. He made that in that time? He’s a genius. We climbed in, after I extinguished the fire. We were flying above an island when we ran out of gas and Bard had to quickly land the plane. When we landed, he banged on the engine. “Come on…” he murmured. “Guys?” I asked nervously, having just spotted something. They all turned pale. A purple Poptropican. Which meant I knew where we were. And the outbreak must have started again.
Episode 8 – Barefoot Icicle
March 30th, 2014 (USA)
I gasped as I watched the zombie come closer. “I thought that those blueberries were contained!” I yelled to no one in particular. Then a splat of purple came out of nowhere and hit the zombie in the chest. As we watched, it shrank back to it’s original state. He facepalmed himself. “I’m so sorry, man, it happens sometimes,” he apologized. Without explaining, he ran off. A girl did a flip off of the cinema and landed in front of us. “Not completely,” she said to me. “That’s why I’ve been appointed zombie hunter of this town. I shoot them with this baby-” She blew some steam off the top of her gun-”and then they’re regular again.” She stuck out a hand. “Spotted Dragon, zombie hunter. Call me SD.” I just stared. She noticed. As she popped a piece of gum into her mouth, she said “Not gonna happen, rookie. No way.” I broke my stare a little bit and blushed. We all introduced ourselves, and of course Slip had to tell the story about me getting my butt stuck in a flowerpot. [Slip, don’t think I haven’t forgotten. I’ll get you for that.] After we were done, she nudged her head towards the plane. “That yours?” she asked. I nodded and pointed to Bard, who we had forgotten to introduce. “Bard built it.” Her eyes turned as wide as if she had just eaten five-alarm chili. She jumped Bard, pinned his hands behind his back, and started kicking him…uh…you know where. “Lousy…dirty…stinkin’…” she muttered as she kicked him still. He cried out in pain. “Stop! Please, stop!” She finally did. “You destroyed my home,” she snarled. I looked at her. “Your home?” I asked. She nodded. “I lived on Astro-Knights Island,” she explained. “On Arturus. I…I was a maid for the princess. I did whatever she wanted. When she was taken, my home was destroyed, and I fled to this island. Cuddly Lion had already contained the problem-” Her eyes flashed in a way that said, ‘DANGER!’- “but it was coming back. So, they made me zombie hunter. I guess, in a way, I should thank you.” Bard stood up and grunted. “You’re welcome,” he muttered. She stuck her gun into his eye. The normal one. “Nevermind,” she said. “I think I’ll kill you instead.” She replaced her zombie gun with something that looked suspiciously deadly and started to pull back the trigger. I, the biggest idiot in the world, jumped in front of Bard just as she pulled it all the way. The bang almost destroyed my eardrums. And everything went dark.
I dreamed I was tied to a deer, and a nut job zombie hunter kept on trying to shoot me, but I already had a huge hole in my chest. “If I’m dead,” I muttered. “Why does it hurt so much?” I saw another figure slink out of the shadows. “You ain’t done, craphead. Not yet,” he said. He grabbed me by the ankle and pulled me to a huge seat. “My friend’s got other ways of doing this.” Sparks flew out of his hand. “But I prefer…the fun way.” He raised his hands high in the air and began to chant. “Et draconi qui est in te, Et draconi qui est in te, ET DRACONI QUI EST IN TE!” The hole in my chest disappeared. He grinned. “You might have a few…very nasty side effects,” he said. And he disappeared into the shadows once again.
I slowly opened my eyelids. I saw Speedy and Bard digging a pit. My grave. SD and Slip were sobbing together as SD repeatedly apologized. “Please…I didn’t mean to…I’ll do anything. ANYTHING!” she wailed. Slip started to say something and she noticed that my eyes were opening. She audibly gasped. “B.F!” she said. I sat up and attempted a grin, but I knew it was feeble. “Did I miss anything?” I asked. Speedy and Bard crushed me in a bear hug, Slip kissed me on the cheek, and SD gave me a quick hug then turned away, face red. Then Slip’s expression turned scared again. “How did you survive that shot?” she asked shakily. “I mean, you were dead for an hour. You got shot in the heart. No heartbeat at all.” I explained my dream to everyone. “I forget the spell,” I said. SD shook her head. “This is a little out of my range,” she said. “But…I’m coming with you.” My heart flew up into my mouth as she blushed and brushed her hair behind her ear, almost self-consciously. “But, um, there’s not enough seats.” I stood up. “Have mine,” I offered. “That’s alright, I’ll make her another one,” Bard said cheerfully. SD looked crushed, and I glared at Bard. Idiot. Then SD piped up. “I forgot to mention…Bard and I are friends now. I-I told him who my parents were,” she said. “Who were they?” asked Speedy. “The king and queen of Arturus. I would’ve been a princess. But nooo, I had to be a maid for their precious, older daughter.” I put my arm around her shoulders. “It’s alright,” I said. “We don’t care. We like you for who you are.” She smiled at me. Slip smirked. “And you’re trying to keep me away from Speedy. Look, are we going or not?” she asked. SD pushed me away, a little playfully. “We’re going,” she said. She got up and slipped into the extra seat Bard had built. I, grinning like an idiot, followed her in. Speedy, Slip, and then Bard trailed behind me. Once we got in, Speedy asked, “Should I drive?” Bard shook his head. “It’s got an autopilot,” he explained. “Where do you want to go?” I started to say Monster Carnival, but SD asked if we could go to Astro-Knights. “I want to see what’s become of my home,” she explained. I had to respect that. So SD typed it into the computer and soon, we were flying steadily to Astro-Knights Island.
And then…it flew out of the sky.
Episode 9 – Slippery Icicle
April 4th, 2014 (USA)
I didn’t really understand what was going on. I squinted up through the bright glass and my mouth fell open. But not in a bad way. A huge private jet was flying down. I could see inside, and it had a mini fridge, a fountain machine, a snack bar, a Jacuzzi…B.F started drooling when he saw a huge pile of books titled “How to Get a Date-Dealing With The Other Species.” Probably the most self-obsessed book name ever. SD started looking a little bit jealous. I had to laugh. Come on, it didn’t really take a genius to figure out they liked each other, but why didn’t they just come out and say it? A guy in the jet waved to all of us and gestured for us to follow him. We did. He landed outside of the castle. The guy got out of the jet, and SD’s mouth fell open. “KIRK?!” she said. She ran over to hug him. B.F looked ready to do a certain hand gesture when we heard him say, “Nice to see you too, sis.” It was our turn to be dumbfound. “Sis?” I demanded. She looked at me. “We’re not really related, but when I ran away I was really young, so Kirk’s parents-my NEW parents-took me in. And Kirk accepted me as a sister.”
We looked at Kirk, who was currently being egged on by Speedy to chug three cans of soda without burping.
“Boys,” SD said as she rolled her eyes. But I saw her look at B.F with a small look of exception, even though he too was also egging Kirk on, and Bard. Sooo sophisticated.
SD dropped her voice to a whisper, so I could barely hear her. “Slip…we need to talk.” I sighed. “About my brother? You’re wondering if he likes you? Well, the fact that he put his arm around you might help. Or that he-” She cut me off. “It’s not about that.” Oops. “Well, what’s it about, then?” I asked. “We were sitting near each other the other night. While I was talking to you. You were-excuse me-not noticing, and Bard and Speedy were talking to each other. I have to train my ears to hear a lot for zombies sneaking up on me. He kept repeating the same words in Latin-Et draconi qui est in te.” I racked my brain for my brief Latin lessons. “I don’t know much about Latin,” I said cautiously, “but I do know that part of that means ‘monster.’” She looked fearful. “That’s what I’m worried about. The translation is ‘You are a monster.’” I gulped. “But…it fixed the hole in his chest. That’s gotta be good, right?” I asked desperately. She teetered on her feet a little bit. “Maybe. I don’t know, Slip.” she admitted.
Our conversation was interrupted as Kirk finished half of his third can and let out a huge, long burp. The guys started laughing hysterically.
Funny. Real funny.
“Zeus fixed up Super Villain Island. Then he destroyed it. It’s the same concept, you never know what’s gonna happen,” she finished. I shrugged. “We’ll see.” And we called the guys all over for dinner.
As we devoured the pork chops that Bard had snagged us from the kitchen, I thought about how awful our situation was. I’d lost my parents, my best friend, and now my brother was starting to drift away, in his own little bubble with SD. I started realizing that this was how he felt-when he saw me kissing Speedy, or even just holding his hand, he tried to break it up a little bit. Maybe he’s more alone than I thought. Despite all the fights we had been through, we were actually really close compared to some siblings. We had always been there for the other if one of us got beat up at school, or a pet or friend died, something like that. I had waited forever to turn thirteen, but I realized I was growing up too fast and there was no way to turn back the clock. I finally understood that saying of Dad’s-”Friends come and go, but family is forever.” But was it really? Look at SD, whose parents hated her and she ran away. Look at Speedy, never to see his parents since the great flame. Look at us, who were drifting further and further apart every day. Soon, we wouldn’t even recognize each other if we bumped in the street. Despite our past problems, I actually felt sorry for him.
“-take shifts, it’s the only way. Have you noticed we always get attacked when we’re sleeping?” Speedy asked everyone else. They all nodded gravely. They noticed me sitting there and B.F said, “I’ll take first shift,” he said. “You guys get some sleep.” I thanked B.F and put my head on my hands. All the guys clapped him on the back, and so did SD, as they walked to the new sleeping bags we got. I was soon asleep.
I dreamed of the time I had spent with B.F over the years. There was one time, when I was 5, when we went to a carnival and when I was finished with seven pieces of cotton candy, I went off running. I noticed a tickle on my face, so I went up to scratch it, and accidentally squashed the killer bee that had been licking powdered sugar off of my face.
You haven’t experienced pain until that’s happened. The venom was so strong that I passed out. Fortunately, B.F noticed me and he carried (well, dragged) me over to my parents. They drove to the emergency room. I wouldn’t have lived if he hadn’t had his first aid kit with him, and let the doctors use it. My parents called it a miracle. So I managed to live. I started dreaming of other times…and something strange happened.
B.F woke us all up with a look of fear on his face. His whole shape was twitching. I tried to get him into the jet, but even when all of us tried, he was too strong. Then the change began. His body began to glow. His eyes turned red. His skin turned whiter than anything. Wings-big, black, leathery wings-sprouted from his shoulder blades. Fangs protruded from his lips.
And the vampire stood tall over us all.
Episode 10 – Barefoot Icicle
April 12th, 2014 (USA)
I could feel everything about me changing. I tried to fight it back, but a sudden hunger took me over.
Blood. I craved blood.
No! I couldn’t! These were my friends! And-I glanced at SD, paralyzed with fear-hopefully some more than friends. But I couldn’t fight it. I raised my head to the stars and I let out an unearthly shriek. They all screamed, but that was before they saw Bard. As I’ve heard, he snuck behind me and tackled me after knocking me out with a large dumbbell. I was out cold. And I’ve seen some pretty weird dreams before. These were, by far, the weirdest. I was flying in a barren wasteland with people-REAL people-screaming as I licked my lips and dove for their nice, meaty necks. And I was happy. Yeah, it was a little screwed up. Correction: I was a little screwed up. [When I was a VAMPIRE, Slip! Shut up!] One thing I knew for sure-if I didn’t get somewhere dark by daylight, I was a goner. I rolled over in my sleep. And I nearly fell off a table. I opened my eyes as a pair of hands grabbed me and hoisted me back up. How I longed to bite him, to strike him, but I was too weak. Apparently I had been stuck with a tranquilizer dart after the dumbbell. I vaguely remember a face with many scars and reeking of garlic studying me before leaving and putting another person with me. At that point, I was fully awake. I opened my eyes and found a girl scribbling things down on a clipboard and glancing at me, but more in a “What an interesting specimen” way than a “Wow, that guy’s hot” way. She finished and put down her clipboard as I struggled to get up. She patted me on the chest. “Easy,” she said. “I’m Silly Sword. We’re gonna make you better again.” She gave me a reassuring smile and I let out another shriek. She had turned on a desk lamp that, when knocked over by me, started shining on my chest and slowly gouging a hole through it. Oops.
She ran over and put the desk lamp back where it belonged, this time off. I heard a knock at the door. “Is that you, Mr. Von Garlic?” she asked. “It’s me, Silly, just open the dang door,” the person replied. She opened the door and he stepped in. He was muttering to himself, “I’m getting old, why did I have to take up vampire curing, every time one of them escapes a ward we’ve got four more going around…” And that’s when he looked at me. His expression softened slightly. “Hello, B.F. My name is Cactus Von Garlic. I’m going to cure you.” I struggled to get up again, but he saw it. He snapped his wrinkly hands and ropes sprang up and tied me to the bench I was lying on. It was then that I noticed my surroundings. I was sitting in an all-metal room with boxes of garlic and crosses stacked everywhere. There were two stake and hammer sets-you didn’t have to be Einstein to figure out what those were for-leaning up against the wall. Crosses flanked the door, so I couldn’t get out if I tried. In short? A vampire murdering room. It was almost like Cactus read my thoughts. “It’s nothing like that,” he said. “I’m a vampire savior. Ever since Cuddly Lion-” I let out a guttural growl from deep inside my throat- “-showed me the way to save vampires, that’s all I do. This is the VPA, the Vampire Protection Agency. We cure unfortunate vampires and send them back home.” He sat down. “Is there anyone who could tell your story?” he asked. I opened my mouth, and with a voice like a rusty gate opening, I said, “I can.”
He looked overjoyed. “Amazing! It takes most people turned vampires years to relearn English! Do tell us what happened, though.” I reluctantly told him. The more I talked, the more afraid I became. If it took some vampires years to relearn English, how did I, a fifteen year old, know how to already? Was I going to be a vampire forever?
When I finished, the smile disappeared from his face. “Oh, dear…” he murmured. “What is is? What’s wrong?” I asked in the rusty gate/Transylvanian accent I had adopted. “I don’t know how to cure this,” he admitted. Part of me felt elated, but the other part was terrified-and fortunately, the terrified part controlled my mouth. “Why?” I asked desperately. He looked at me with pity. “Son, the only way that I can think to cure that would be to track down the man who caused it and get him to lift the enchantment. We do have good news, though,” he mentioned, as though determined to prove he was a success. Part of me had it’s spirits lifted slightly. “What is it?” I asked curiously. “Well, that curse was…unusual. Most vampires I deal with have been bitten. Maybe that’s why you could talk immediately. But those other vampires-they stay vampires. Morning or night. They can’t go outside. In your case, you should be fine. Because this particular case-it seems you morph into a vampire every night now and change back every day.” Now I felt better. As I waited, the sun rose. I could feel my body lift into the air again. The fangs sunk back in. The wings make a shlooping noise as they slid back into my shoulder blades. The color went back into my skin. My eyes burned slightly, and when I turned to the mirror, I could see myself-no wings, no fangs, no red eyes, no white skin, just me. B.F. Icicle. Von Garlic gave me his business card (and Silly gave me my phone, which she had been playing Angry Brides on for the last three hours) and I was on my way. I stepped out into the lobby. Everybody saw me and came over to hug me….
I thought she wanted to talk to me, so I went over. She punched me in the stomach. I was shocked. I thought she liked me! And then the color drained from my face as I heard her say, “You didn’t mention you were a vampire.” She punched me again, so hard I flew across the room. Tears streamed down her face. “FREAK!” she screamed to me. And she ran out of the room, leaving me feeling like I had just puked my guts out, which I then did. “SD,” I said weakly.
Episode 11 – Slippery Icicle
April 15th, 2014 (USA)
I sat on the ground next to the puddles of sick, feeling queasy myself. Despite what had just happened, we needed SD. She was probably the only person on the team keeping us alive. B.F returned from his barfing session in the bathroom looking pale. I could understand. He had never been dumped before, especially not that way. And I could tell-he REALLY liked SD. I mean, you know what I’m talking about, this wasn’t just some stupid crush that fifth graders giggled about on the phone. He wasn’t playing with her. I could relate. That’s what it was like with me and Speedy. If he dumped me, even calmly, I would about die of grief. That was probably what B.F was feeling right now. That’s when I looked over at him.
His body had started to glow. He was hovering a few inches above the ground and still rising. I could see sharp teeth poking out from his mouth again.
I jumped to my feet and hid as the transformation happened again. He let out a shriek. Fortunately, that girl with the clipboard, Silly, ran over and waved some garlic in his face. He gagged for a moment before turning back to himself. Now that he wasn’t chalk white (well, the part about me being too scared to get near him might’ve helped) I could see him. He no longer looked sick. He looked angry. Really, really angry. His whole body was shaking with fury, his face was red, and sweat was dripping down his front. He gripped Silly’s hand so hard she let out a little yelp. “Don’t,” he snarled. Von Garlic walked in. “I’m sorry for that, my boy. But we had to. It appears now that every time you’re feeling a very strong emotion-particularly rage-your transformation will happen again.” He shrugged. “Nothing we can do about it except keep a couple cloves of garlic in a bag for your friends.” He tossed a stinky bag to me. I gave it to Bard, who seemed unfazed by the fumes. He stuffed it into a hidden compartment behind his large mechanical eye and looked expectantly at all of us. “Well?” he asked. “Let’s go!” Speedy seized my hand and we followed Bard. I glanced back at B.F, who was still fuming, but hesitantly stalked after us. I gave him a thump on the back. He gave me one in return. I walked back up to Speedy with my back aching like nothing else. I gave myself a mental note: NEVER get B.F mad. You will regret it. Of course, he soon regretted that when he calmed down and I put Jell-O in his shaving cream. Heh. Funny. We clambered over each other into the jet. A lump appeared in my throat as I saw the empty seat normally occupied by SD. Oh, god…what were we gonna do without her? I swallowed the lump down. No, SD would be back. She would have to be. She would miss my brother, and me. Right? I looked around. Right?
I caught B.F’s eye. He only looked for a sec, but afterwards I saw him shake his head. Kay, I thought Bard was the one that was part mind reader. Oh, great. Now I’m making cheesy uncle jokes. Like Aunt Grumpy.
And talk about weird. As Bard and Speedy veered us off left and B.F was sulking, my phone rang. Everyone looked at me as I talked to Aunt Grumpy. In retrospect, I probably should’ve left my phone behind. Someone could hear us if we were hiding. And that’s when the truth hit me. THAT was how this masked dude was tracking us! My phone and B.F’s phone! “Gotta go, Aunt Grumpy,” I said hastily. I hung up my phone and stuffed it in my pocket. I turned to my brother. “Hey, can I borrow your phone for a sec?” I asked him. He looked suspicious but forked over the phone. I pretended to study it for a second, then pulled my phone out of my pocket and chucked them both out the window.
B.F’s mouth dropped open. “WHY’D YOU DO THAT??!!!” he demanded. I slapped him. He recoiled. I had accidentally slapped him a little too hard. I could see my handprint across the bridge of his nose. “I’m sorry,” I told him. “I didn’t mean to hit you that hard. It was an accident.” He nodded and fidgeted with his peg leg a little. I put my arm around his shoulder. “Look, bro…” I said. “I had to do that. These phones are how that masked dude is tracking us.” His mouth dropped open. “That fits!” he hissed. He seemed to have forgotten his breakup with SD. We hit a spot of turbulence. As we did, Bard made a funny noise and twitched his head a little, but he seemed fine. I looked at him a little bit.
Despite how much he had helped us, I was still suspicious. You know that old phrase? A leopard doesn’t change it’s spots? I wasn’t really trusting this guy who had once kidnapped a princess and tried to take over the galaxy. Excuse me, but still. A little spark flew out of his neck and his red eye turned a little darker. He suddenly flew off to the left. Speedy looked at him funny. “Um, Bard? Aren’t we supposed to be going to Monster Carnival?” he asked. He looked at Speedy. It almost looked like a dark shadow crossed his face. But soon it was gone, and I decided I must have imagined it. “It’ll help with the mission,” he said, and with no further explanation, pulled up the landing gear and touched down in a field. The air pressure made my ears popped and I passed out. Before I passed out, I heard the thump-thump of B.F and Speedy’s bodies hitting the ground (somehow I could tell). And I froze right as things went dark. Why didn’t Bard pass out?
I woke up in a strange room. Large bush creatures that looked dead were stuck to the wall. I looked around. Bard stood in front of me, and B.F and Speedy sat tied up next to me. “Bard!” I said weakly. “How did you escape the ropes? Save us!” He let out a large smirk. “There will be no reason for that, Ms. Icicle,” he said. I stopped dead. His voice didn’t sound like his. It sounded…deeper. Almost like it was coming from far away. “Tonight you die.”
He snapped his fingers. A burning smell filled my nostrils. Almost…acidic. I looked down, afraid to see what was going on. Acid gushed out of pipes at the bottom. And to top it off, B.F started to change.
And I sat there, tied up next to my boyfriend, in front of a possessed cyborg and a vampire ready to kill me.
Episode 12 – Barefoot Icicle
April 21st, 2014 (USA)
The crave for blood took me over. Bard saw me and cackled. What was UP with this guy? I tried to fight my instincts to dive down and suck every drop of blood out of Speedy and Slip’s bodies. And then I saw Slip’s eyes.
They were huge, as if she were pleading me for a quick death. Well, that got me. I broke free of my craving and dived at Bard-who, unfortunately, saw me coming and went into a fighting stance. But suddenly his whole body went rigid. I took the opportunity. I used my newfound strength to lift my sister and her boyfriend to a ledge up high, then shoved Bard into the acid.
He shrieked and writhed around in pain, but suddenly he stopped and began to speak in that same, far away voice.
“Nice try, heroes. However, I am closer than you might think. You have only delayed your death. I am waiting, children.”
Bard let out a final cackle, the acid bubbled, I flew the others out of a smashed window (that I bet was from Cuddly Lion), and Bard was no more.
As we started to land, I could feel the effects start to wear off, so I quickly landed us before my wings subsided and we all went splat on the ground. I desperately ripped the ropes with my razor-sharp teeth before they went back into my gums, and they were free.
Slip tumbled to the ground, clutching Speedy. But for once, she didn’t keep hugging him. She walked over to me and wrapped her arms around my chest. “Thanks for saving me, bro,” she mumbled into my shirt. I patted her on the back. “That’s what I’m here for, Slip.”
Speedy clapped me on the back. “Thanks, man,” he said, smiling like a maniac. I punched him on the shoulder. He did the same to me. We punched each other till we were black and blue around the shoulders and then stopped as we saw a dark figure swooping down on us.
I panicked. Well, what would you do? Wait for something that was gonna kill us? [Slip says I shouldn’t think like that, but the Icicle family hadn’t exactly been lucky so far.] But I got a surprise as it landed and the parachute fell around it.
It was Nameless.
Slip’s mouth fell open. “N-Nameless?” she asked. “How the heck did you escape?” If only I had known then to trust my judgement.
Ropes conjured all around us and binded us tight. I tried to transform, but the ropes were restraining me. “I wouldn’t,” said Nameless, in a rather deep voice. Then she became to change. Her purple hair became shorter and blacker. Her eyes turned completely black. A long, sharp nose protruded from the center of her face. A cape emerged around her shoulders. A hat popped up on her head. A mask covered her face. It wasn’t a her anymore. This guy seemed so familiar, yet so bizarre and alien that it was giving me vertigo.
Speedy, however, showed no such sickness. He stood up (although it took a while, as his legs were pinned to his chest). He looked the man directly in the eye. “You,” he said with a look of great loathing. The man seemed to be grinning, although I couldn’t tell through his mask. “Speedy, my dear nephew! Is that any way to treat your old uncle?” Speedy didn’t reply. He was seething, and literally shaking with fury. I looked between the two of them, but Slip was the first to speak.
“UNCLE?!” she screamed. The man looked at her. “My, my…better keep the monster-” he chuckled as he said that word- “under control. I am his father’s brother. As a child, I was mutated…I became the Bird Boy.”
He looked bitter, but continued. “My parents left me with this boy’s perfect father. So what to do? Become a loner. I joined the carnival.”
“But they, too, soon left me. I was alone. My former house went up in flames and I was blamed for it. The whole island set on fire and sank into the ocean. This, of course, was when I was an adult, and this boy had already been born. I was chased out.” A fire burned in his eyes, as though he were still cradling this hurt with him. “But I formed my own carnival. I took on an alias. Ringmaster Raven. And now I have to take you to my boss. He’ll want to explain the rest.”
I kinda wished it had been Nameless instead. At least she didn’t try to kill us all the time. Although she has given me a couple good eggs on the skull, she was just a normal teenager. I couldn’t even say that about myself anymore. Come on, I was half vampire!
Raven prodded me in the back. “Get in the jet. I’ll drive. Don’t complain,” came a voice in my head. Unwillingly, I did. So did the others. It was quite roomy, considering that neither SD or Bard were present.
Raven said nothing at all. He occasionally seemed to be having arguments with a voice in his head, but I didn’t really wanna know who it was. As we landed, we were finally on Monster Carnival. Raven lifted a square of the sidewalk. “Get in or you’ll die,” said the same voice. I slipped through and fell through a chute onto a large, rather uncomfortable cement floor. Slip came the same way and I felt her fly into my back, and Speedy landed nearby.
“The Icicles,” said a voice in a turned chair that made my hairs stand up. He turned around, and I realized who it was. It was that masked figure, the one from our dreams. “Whataya want from us?!” I demanded. He chuckled softly. “Why, only to transform you and your parents and friends into monsters so that nothing can stop me from enslaving everyone. I plan on first taking over Poptropica, then advancing onto Earth.” He said the name with a great dislike, as though he were coughing up a hairball.
“I should explain things,” he said. “I arrived at this island young and innocent. My plan was simple-defeat these monsters and leave with another medallion, cameras flashing.” A crazy idea as to who this might be formed inside my head-but no, it couldn’t be him.
“However, Raven talked to me. He admired my skills. We made a deal-he would fake being hypnotized by me, then he would be free to help me accomplish world domination.”
“On the way through, he climbed into the truck where a young carnie was. He hypnotized…Edgar, I believe his name was? He stole the truck. They returned here. After that, I took control of young Edgar and the other carnies. Their minds were addled. They had no further use to me. I disposed of them.”
A maniacal look lit in his eyes. “Raven and I formed this secret cavern, saw you, and thought, ‘Why, this is the perfect opportunity!’ Things were looking up. I have already changed this young man myself.” He waved his hand carelessly towards me. A burst of anger filled me.
Slip looked at him. “I’m still confused,” she said. “Who are you?”
The man put a hand on his chest. “You really haven’t figured it out? I cast a spell on myself to make me 35, as I was a mere child before, but it’s still not that hard to figure out.”
Slip opened her mouth, but I beat her to the chase. “Slip,” I said loudly. “Who’s completed EVERY island? Who’s world-famous?” She looked confused for a second, then it dawned on her. Apparently Speedy too, as they were both gaping at the man.
“That’s right, children,” he said. He gently removed his mask and we saw a roped face.
Cuddly Lion stood there, a triumphant grin on his face.
Episode 13 – Cuddly Lion
May 1st, 2014 (USA)
I stood before the foolish children, their parents and friend and friend’s parents tied up next to me, my eyes flashing with hatred. I could remember all of it. Every bitter moment.
It was dark and smelly inside of that dark, cramped box. But suddenly it burst open. I looked around, startled at my surroundings. A grinning face stared at me from the other side of the glass. And I was confused.
But soon I realized-this boy really did care for me. I was like an alter ego to him, something he could rely on when he felt sad.
We explored islands for days, weeks, months, even years, and I was always happy with my master. But one night, when the boy was supposed to be sleeping, we were completing an island with not much left to go. And then…I lost a fight to a pirate. I lost all of my doubloons. The boy swore loudly-we had been working on this for hours. He glanced at his clock, and I saw his face pale. He scrambled for his bed, hastily tried to slam his laptop shut, and clambered into bed. A woman came in. She noticed around her-the boy was white-faced and still clothed, not yet in his sleepwear. She looked over to the laptop and her mouth became thinner, as she saw it was not closed all the way. She yelled at the boy. He tried to deny it, but it was very hard.
And the next day, I did not see him. Nor the next day, or the day after that, or the day after that. Not for a week. Not for a month. More. I waited almost the whole time, but I became enraged. The boy would not see me again. I was…an orphan. I left behind a new dummy poptropican in my place and left to see the real Poptropica.
I became a loner. I won islands by myself, without the help of the boy. I became famous. And then one day, I came to the new island. I gulped and tried to clear my mind-I had heard the boy crying about an island disappearing, called by this name-Monster Carnival Island. But I persevered. And then I met Ringmaster. He pulled me aside and explained his real goal.
Then he regarded me strangely, almost pityingly. “Join me, boy. I know your past. I see your future.” He held up a hand, and images danced across his palm-the boy gazing at my birth, the boy and I playing our first island, trying to finish that one island, and then…and then…the disaster that ended us.
I swiped his hand away. His mouth quivered slightly, but he did not speak. “How do you know?” I whispered, petrified. Raven looked strange in the moonlight. “I know things, child. For instance, I know this.” He raised his hand again, and images of two quarreling siblings packing flashed to life. I heard voices. Adult voices. A father. A mother. The parents I never had. The scene played in my mind’s eye, and I boiled in hatred.
“It’ll be you and me, boy. I’ll be your master,” he coaxed. I shook my head and drew a wand from my pack, and pointed it at myself. “Wingdam raritan!” I screamed. I grew. My hair became more orderly, I grew taller, my arms widened…
I stood tall over Raven. “No,” I said, adopting a much deeper voice. “I’ll be in charge.” Raven slowly grinned and nodded, then grasped my hand firmly and gave it one quick, hard shake.
And you know the rest.
“Why do you have to do this?!” screamed the girl. “Why must you take them away from us.” My eyes flashed, and I believe even she saw it. “Don’t you understand!?” I screamed. “I have to! If I don’t, he’ll kill me!” I jabbed a finger at Raven.
He did not look angry-on the contrary, he looked mildly pleased. “How did you know, boy?” he asked quietly. “I knew the whole time,” I said, my voice quivering. “You’ve always wanted to. You saw me, with my master, doing everything we pleased, and you desired it.” For the first time, I could feel the child swell up in me again. Please, I begged. Make it stop. Please make it stop. I had no choice. It was my life, or theirs, and I preferred mine.
And a strange feeling rose up inside of me. Guilt. How could I think that? I was unworthy to live. I must sacrifice myself. These kids were the future-they must live. I? I was already dead.
And I knew it.
I sighed. I let my hands dangle to my side. Raven saw me. “Boy,” he said, a malicious look on his face. I looked at him, channeling every square inch of hatred inside of me to him. “You want someone to die tonight?” I said. “You’ve got someone.” I kneeled down and let my head sink. At least let the children escape, I begged silently. Please, let them take their parents, they are only children, please. Raven growled. He was starting to look incredibly menacing. “Well,” he said. “I suppose quite a bit of blood will be spilt tonight.” And the transformation began. His nose shrunk back in. His mask disappeared. His rather impressive hat disappeared, and he stood there for a few moments. Then the scary part happened.
Scales spread across his whole body. He grew long tentacles with talons, like an octopus had mated with a bald eagle. His mouth began to foam. And he grew. He kept growing until he was fifty feet tall. The monster loomed a shadow over all of us.
But then it happened. I looked at the kids, and we went into perfect understanding: We must do this together. I pointed at the girl and the boy that had been sitting rather close to her, leaving the boy who had already been transformed alone. They both became vampires, like the girl’s brother, and I…I became the thing I had always dreamed of.
Scales spread across me as well. I grew a long tail, and my legs disappeared. Wings, huge, scaly wings, spread out from my back. Long fangs spread from my jaws, and long talons, good for gutting bears, grew out. I grew huge, bigger than the enormous kraken. I was a dragon. And we attacked.
I slashed at every inch possible that was unprotected by his armor, blew fire directly in his eyes, attempted to strangle him to death with my long tail, but nothing was working. I finally realized what must happen.
I ran at him. The children, who had been using their screeches in his ear to distract him, flew into three different spots. I rammed into the twenty ton kraken and we tripped off of the ledge that led to a far, far drop-directly to the core.
“No!” said a voice in my head. It was him, snarling and attempting to hold me off. I looked into his eyes.
“I’m going to kill you.”
We flew off the ledge together as I waved slightly to the children, accepting my doom.
Episode 14 – Slippery Icicle
May 5th, 2014 (USA)
“NO!” I screamed. But it was too late. The kraken and the dragon went tumbling into the chasm. I heard a scream and the sound of flesh being consumed by fire. I waited for a second one to fill the airwaves, but nothing happened. That’s when I noticed the rope leading down into the deep gap. I tensed, bracing myself…
And Cuddly Lion climbed out.
I was so happy I hugged him. He took me by surprise and patted me on the back. “Thank you,” he whispered, “for showing me.” Speedy stood back, a flicker of jealousy flashing across his face now and then. But his face turned to shock as the victims began to stir.
His parents were the first to wake. They saw him and cried out, then they all met right around the middle of the lair. They stayed glued for a while, as Nameless woke up. She looked overjoyed as she saw me and shook dust out of her hair. I hugged her. “You found me!” she said. Yeah. I would think that was obvious. [Forget it, Nameless. I didn’t say aaannnnyyyytttthhhhhiiiiinnnnggggg…….] And our parents began to sit up.
My stomach lurched as I saw their bruised and bloodied faces, but I let out a little squeal of happiness when they sat up completely. Nameless hung back with Speedy’s parents and they began to rapidly fall into conversation on random things-mostly cars and motorcycles. Gee, I wonder why?
I hugged my parents and I didn’t let go. And then my expression turned sad again. I thought of everyone we had lost-Bard, SD, Raven…yes, you heard me. Raven. We could’ve had a shot at making him nice again, but he was dead. There was nothing we could do about it.
He was not as dead as I had hoped.
“Children,” said a voice from the chasm. “That gap leads to an ocean, not the core. That sound? A rat I burned for light.” A grinning face appeared. “And now,” he said, holding a flaming rat, “You die.”
“I don’t think so,” said a voice from somewhere behind me.
An arrow shot at his chest. He observed it only for a moment, then fell to the ground. I had a feeling I knew who shot that arrow.
SD ran over and kissed my brother. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I really am. I was a jerk.” B.F simply looked stunned for a second, then mumbled “Apology accepted,” and kissed her back. My parents’ mouths dropped open. “I’ve got a lot to explain,” I whispered to them. “But don’t embarrass him now.” They nodded and smiled a little bit as B.F’s peg leg fell off and he staggered for a short distance before SD caught him. His face burned slightly, but he muttered thanks to her and put his peg leg back on, securely this time.
And I noticed one person not joining in the festivities. CL. I finally got a good look at him. His eyes were permanently shut. He had a pipe jammed in his mouth and he was grinding his teeth around it. He held a smartphone-I couldn’t tell which model-and he, too, had a peg leg, only made of gold. Ropes wrapped around his mouth and torso and a large gap under his mouth ropes. He had jet-black hair combed smoothly, a white shirt with a block P right in the middle, and a tail. He had a small bag at his waist. “Um, CL?” I asked nervously. “Would you want to come with us?” He gasped. “Wi-with you? How? Why?” he stuttered. “Well,” I said, “my parents can adopt you, but, um, can you change back to a kid?” He nodded rapidly and pointed his wand at himself, murmuring things I couldn’t make out. He shrunk, and soon he became not much shorter than me. He couldn’t have been any younger than eleven and a half.
“We’d be happy to adopt you, Cuddly,” said my dad warmly. His face lit up. “Thank you!” he said. Then he turned and hugged me. “I’m glad to be your brother,” he said. I patted him on the back, and everyone began to cheer as we climbed up the ladder.
Once we got out, though, we realized something was wrong. The city was in ruins. Everyone either hid in their houses or ran about the streets, screaming. “What the…” I muttered. But I didn’t have to finish that sentence.
Monsters roamed the streets. They were bizarre assortments of krakens, dragons, zombies, puppets, ghosts…stuff like that.
CL’s face paled. “No!” he squeaked. He studied them, mumbling under his breath, then turned to us.
“This is not good,” he said. I nodded. “I can tell, bro,” I said. He shook his head. “You don’t understand!” he said softly. “These are all the monsters, or anything like that, in any island! Look!” He pointed to a fanged dog tearing down the streets. “Chubacabra, Cryptids Island,” he said. He pointed to a ghost. “Ghost, Ghost Story Island.” Well, duh. He jabbed his thumb at a vampire hissing. “Vampire, Vampire’s Curse Island.” I slapped myself. DUH! But…those were fixed. “I thought you took care of them!” I said to CL. He shrugged. “I did. I dunno, Slip.” Then a lightbulb lit over his head. Well, not really. But one just as well could have. “I know!” he said. “There’s some stuff in there! I can use it to defeat them!” He jumped underneath the square of sidewalk.
And I heard a scream.
I could feel my heart stopping. I peeked into the sidewalk square and saw a huge flame. “CL,” I whispered. “NO!!!” I began to cry into my arms. Raven’s flaming rat must have ignited by accident. And…and now…now CL was gone. Every drop of sadness left me, only to be replaced by pure anger. I started to scream. And that’s when I kinda forget what happened.
It’s scary, but I didn’t know what was happening. Later, B.F told me I tore threw the crowd like a maniac, just about killing every monster I could. He said I was like a path of destruction, then slowly backed away.
I tried to push away the thought of CL’s death, but it kept popping up. We decided to go home. A single tear fell from my eye as I climbed into the new blimp Speedy found, finding his parents were moving next door and he was going to live with them. Even that didn’t cheer me up.
The whole way home, I looked back at the island, waiting for my to-be brother to pop up and make me laugh. He never did.
Episode 15 – Barefoot Icicle
May 12th, 2014 (USA)
The whole way back, I kinda just sat in shock. I had just seen my sister go mental on a whole crowd of monsters, a flaming rat, a battle between a kraken and a dragon, my new brother ‘s death…
My stomach lurched. CL was a nice dude. He hadn’t deserved to die. He could’ve had a whole new life-parents, siblings, friends, maybe even a girlfriend at one point-and he was dead. I walked over to Slip, where she leaned up against his chest and cried as Speedy murmured in her ear and stroked her hair. When he saw me, he freed a hand and patted it on the seat next to him. I did as he asked. “Who’s driving?” I muttered. “My parents,” said Speedy with a hint of pride. “Turns out they’re not only good in cars.” Nameless sat in the back, texting somebody. I peered over her shoulder.
“Gentle Spinner?” I asked. She whipped her phone away. “Friend of mine,” she said. I thought I saw a hint of red appear on her cheeks, but it passed. I shook my head in exasperation and went over to Slip. “Hey,” I said gently. She looked up, and she hugged me. “Don’t you go anywhere,” she said. I pulled away, and looked her in the eye. “I’m gonna be here, Slip. Always, I’ll be right by your side.”
“Annoying her,” Nameless piped up. I shot her a glare as Slip giggled weakly. Then she yawned, putting her arm around Speedy. “I’m gonna go to sleep, kay? See ya.” And with that, she shut her eyes, leaned up against the wicker basket, and began to breathe deeply.
When we got back, we climbed out. I had never been happier to see Night Watch Island. I looked over at the mall, quiet now, and all I could think about was CL’s ghost haunting those halls forever, seeking the flaming rat and raven that costed him his life.
Two months later, things had settled down. Speedy’s parents and him lived in a nice house on the right of us, so Slip didn’t have to fly every time she wanted to see him. He also quit his job at Golden Blimp, calling his boss a few choice things for telling him to kick out Slip and fly a family to Wimpy Boardwalk Island. I heard the boss had quite a day after that.
SD and I got an apartment building that we don’t really use, just kinda duck into whenever we needed it. We pretty much just rented out the rooms most of the time. Funny, we normally end up in there at the same times… [Shaddep, Slip. You don’t see me criticizing Speedy.]
Nameless and her parents decided to move into one of our apartment buildings, so I have to be careful which room I run into when SD and I…talk. Yeah, talk. Let’s go with that.
We have one room in the building devoted to CL, with a full collection of his medallions all mounted on the wall, and pictures everywhere of him. Every one of us normally walk in for about half an hour every two days and pay our respects. We even managed to get some poems and letters he wrote about his experiences.
One day, as I flipped through the room, I noticed a notebook. It had writing on it, so I held it up.
“To whoever this may concern,”
“My name is Cuddly Lion. When I was popped out of that box, I was confused. Everything was all wrong. And then I saw him. He was my master. But he became more than that. Soon, we were best friends, almost like brothers, the same person even. And then one day…an accident happened. I don’t want to talk about it. But he never saw me after that, and I never saw him. I left a new dummy poptropican there and left. I saw things I never could have even dreamed of. And I still had one dream. I wanted someone who loves me, a parent, a brother, anything. Rage built inside of me. I became foolish. I did things I shouldn’t have. To be honest, I became too dependent on my fame, thinking it would bring me all the way. It did not. As I write this, I am just starting off. I will use this, as by now it is my only true friend.”
I flipped through. There was more. Random notes of “The zombies are at the door!” and “The mall manager hired me! Finally!” and stuff like that were jotted hastily down in the margins. I found the last one.
“I’ve met Raven. I hate him, but if he kills me…no longer will I have to suffer the pain I have suffered.”
On the back, a couple of words were jotted down.
The words were signed R.F. With a blink, I knew who the mysterious R.F. was. I blinked back tears and I realized I needed to live life to the fullest. I called SD. “Hey,” she said after five rings. “Hey SD,” I said. “Do ya wanna go somewhere?” There was a long pause. “I-I guess, but-” I cut her off. “Just meet me at the airport. I’ll explain everything. Then I called Slip. “I’m taking SD. You coming?” That was all I needed to say. We had been saving up the money for a while. “You know it, bro. I’ll get dressed,” came the reply, and then a long “BOOOOOOOOOOP.”
I met SD at the airport, and Slip and Speedy were there too. SD looked awesome. Both Speedy and SD looked bewildered. “You’ll see,” I told them. I walked up the aisle and came back with some tickets. “Let’s go.”
Less than an hour later, we were on Shark Tooth. We all walked into the Coconut Cafe. “Table for four,” I told the waiter. He nodded and led us to a nice table. Then I noticed someone I knew.
She whipped her head around, then her face turned completely red. “Hey guys,” she said, trying to sound casual. My mouth fell open as I saw a blond dude holding her hand. He looked at me. So many memories flooded through my head I staggered a little bit.
I was five years old. I climbed up the steps to school and I started to trip. But as I fell, a guy grabbed my hand and hoisted me up. I looked at him. He had his pure-blonde hair done in spikes and he wore sunglasses. “Thanks,” I stammered. He broke into a toothy grin. “No problem.” He trotted up the steps.
Another time, in third grade. I was playing with my trucks in the sandbox when an eighth grader stole one. I chased after him, but my attempts were fruitless. I almost cried, but that kid jumped off of a ledge he had apparently been sitting on and hit the guy in the chest. He chucked me my monster truck and ran off.
In fifth grade, he dropped his books. I picked them up and handed them to him. He muttered thank you and ran off.
And last year, I saw him…bump into Nameless on the street.
I approached him. Nameless watched me, almost fearfully. I grinned and punched him, then turned to Nameless. “He’s a keeper,” I told her. She laughed as we pushed our tables together.
After we said bye to the others and I had given GS a few quality bruises, SD and I walked home, our legs cramped from the long ride. We were silent for a while. For some reason, I kept whipping around, like someone was following us. After a bit, SD piped up. “Thanks,” she said softly. “That was fun.” I managed to smile. “Well, you’re the coolest girl in the world,” I said. “You deserve special treatment.”
She laughed. “Shut up, B.F,” she teased. Then she kissed me.
When we finally broke apart, I smiled. I didn’t look back again.
Episode 1 – Barefoot Icicle
June 22nd, 2014 (USA)
Hey guys, it’s us again! So, I bet most of you heard our first story, right? If you haven’t…well, check it out now. Otherwise you won’t understand anything, cause we aren’t offering re-introductions. [Hey, don’t poke me dude. What? Seriously? We have to do this whole thing again? My god…fine.] So, it’s been two years since…that last quest. The one…where CL died. ‘Scuse me for a sec.
Okay, I’m back, I don’t like talking about CL. Is that okay? Whatever. I’m Barefoot Icicle. I’m seventeen and a half, and my sister is fourteen. Her name’s Slippery Icicle, but she goes by Slip. I go by B.F, which I am just realizing is almost an exact abbreviation for boyfriend. Hopefully only SD will notice-Spotted Dragon, my girlfriend. Slip’s dating this guy named Speedy Tomato, whose parents we saved on our quest, Slippery (Slip, same as my sister) Tomato (his mom), and Friendly Tomato (his dad). Our family friend, Nameless UnDEFiNed, lives nearby with her parents and her cousin, Fierce Popper (who’s sitting next to her), and is going out with my friend Gentle Spinner. Our parents are named Sticky Icicle (our dad) and Cuddly Icicle (our mom). That guy in the back is Invisible Axe-you’ll meet him later. And then there’s White Carrot-we call her Monslivs3. She’s pretty cool. That’s good for introductions, right? [Shut up, Slip. Wait until it’s your turn to talk.] So, this time a lot of us are here to recount the story. Not all of us are willing to, but…well, brace yourself. You’re gonna be here a while.
It all started seven months ago-October 15th. I blinked my eyes twice, then fell back asleep. Yeah, that went great. Two minutes later, the alarm clock beeped and I groaned. I took a swing at the snooze button, missed, and fell out of bed. Smooth. I took a couple hops towards the bed and grasped my peg leg, which was leaning against the bed post. I used it almost like a walking stick for a little bit before putting it on and balancing. I sleepily removed my pajamas shirt and groped around my wardrobe for a fresh one. Then I heard some snickering, and someone in the closet burst out laughing. Two someones, actually. Maybe even three. I grabbed a shirt, quickly pulled it on, and said “Slip, get outta my closet.”
She came out, wide-eyed and innocent-looking. “It was your girlfriend’s idea,” she said, then laughed. SD walked out of the closet, also laughing, and said “No way, I had no part in this.” I gave her a look. “Well, you were doing it.” And then the third person tumbled out, cracking up on the floor. Speedy.
I rolled my eyes. “Seriously? C’mon, guys. Not funny.” Slip’s smile vanished. “Why do you think we were hiding in there?” I had no answer.
Then she smiled again, and SD stepped up. “It’s your birthday, you moron,” she said. Then she hugged me. It was my turn to crack up. I had forgotten my own birthday? Wow, I was stupid. I pulled away and smiled. “Thanks, guys. Could you head down? I’ll join you in a sec.” They nodded and ran down the stairs, talking quickly. I heard SD ask Slip if her present would be cool, and there was a silence for about five seconds before Slip answered, “You’re kidding me, right? You know him even better than I do. He’ll love it.” Then SD sighed. “Thanks, Slip. I was worried.” Then I couldn’t hear their voices anymore.
I closed my door and slowly walked over to the journal of Cuddly Lion. I picked it up, stroking my finger along the cover. There were the words-“I’m sorry.” Signed by R.F. CL’s master. I sighed and pocketed the book, then grabbed my phone and walked down the stairs.
When I got down, I was surprised by how many people were there. GS, Nameless, Speedy, SD, and Slip (of course). And then for the adults, there were GS’s parents, Nameless’s parents, Speedy’s, and mine. Then I noticed a guy in the back. “Hey, B.F,” he muttered. “Long time, no see.” He groaned and walked towards the front of the room in a funny fashion, as though every step hurt him. He got to me and smiled, and set his hand on my shoulder. “You’ve grown taller, boy. Soon you’ll be as tall as your uncle!” He grinned, as though imagining that. He tousled my hair. I was too shocked to push his hand away. This guy was my uncle? I looked at my mom. She nodded. “He’s my brother. He hasn’t seen you since you were a baby. His name’s Invisible Axe, but he’s Uncle Axe to you.” I looked at her. “So your real name was Cuddly Axe?” That broke the silence as Uncle Axe began to chuckle. “Got your mother’s wit, you do. You’re gonna be a great adult. And, hey,” He nudged me in the ribs and pointed at SD. “She’s a keeper, buddy.” He laughed and sat down in an armchair and I noticed a Purple Heart on his lapel. I almost said something but Mom flashed me a warning look. She pointed to his knee, which was peppered with four bullet holes. I remember feeling sickened by it. He quickly saw me staring at it and pulled down his shorts. “None of your business, laddie,” he growled.
I backed off and we started to dig in to the cake. After the party, Uncle Axe stayed behind and looked us over. “I haven’t seen you in years, B.F. And I’ve only seen pictures of your little sister.” I nodded. “Uh-huh.” But I was too busy intently staring at his knee. What else could I do? Then I remembered how bad it felt when people stared at my peg leg. Not fun.
Anyway, I barely heard when Uncle Axe said “Kids, I’ve got an announcement.” Slip, being the alert nimrod [don’t judge me Slip, you can be a nimrod sometimes. Ow! That hurt!] she is, lifted up her head and asked “What?” Uncle Axe grinned and said “I’m coming to live with you guys!” My parents smiled.
Well, at least now I would get a chance to observe his past a little more.
Episode 2 – Slippery Icicle
July 25th, 2014 (USA)
I was walking through the house. It was empty. “Mom? Dad?” I called. No answer. “B.F?” Nothing. I ran out to SD’s house, nobody answered the door. Same with Nameless. B.F and SD weren’t at their makeout point either. [Everybody knows what you two do in that apartment, guys. No use denying it. Watch your mouth, B.F.] I tried calling Speedy, but his phone was off.
I was all alone. And then I heard it.
“Lost, Ms. Icicle?”
I whipped around, a sense of dread forming in my stomach. I knew that voice.
There was Ringmaster Raven. What was he holding?
He leered at me. I sputtered. “I thought you were dead!” He threw his head back and cackled. “You hoped,” he corrected. “But don’t worry,” he said. “Somebody did die in that incident.” He ripped open what appeared to be a burlap sack and showed me what was inside.
The broken body of Cuddly Lion.
I retched and sick splattered all over the pavement. Raven laughed even louder. He grew into the monster he had been the last time I had seen him.
Then huge feet came bounding by me. It was Uncle Axe. “Run, Slip!” he yelled. “I’ll hold him off!” He was the size of a fifty-foot building.
My head was spinning, I had so many questions and so few answers. Raven and Uncle Axe collided with a ‘bang’ like a gunshot, and started struggling against each other’s force. My uncle turned to me, fire in his eyes. “Go!” he yelled.
I wasn’t proud of it, but I ran.
And I woke up in a cold sweat. I swore violently, beads of sweat plastering my dark brown hair to my forehead. To test, I pinched myself, then screamed silently. Then I texted Speedy-and of course he replied immediately. Okay. I was awake.
I scrambled down the stairs as I heard voices and looked around. Everybody was there that had been there yesterday. I had to conceal a grin-when we were little, we always threw temper tantrums about how our birthdays were too short, so we started an Icicle family tradition-birthweeks. We celebrated their birthday for an entire week, Sunday to Friday, the week of our birthday. Each day was dedicated to a different thing.
I checked the calendar. Right. Yesterday had been family. The schedule is very well organized, same for every birthweek-Sunday is family, when you spend time with the family (and girlfriends, boyfriends, friends, anyone really close) so we talked, played board games, found the occasional long-lost family member-and I’m not making that up. Uncle Axe wasn’t the first-but that’s a different story.
Monday-today-was treats. Basically all day we pigged out on sodas, cakes, cupcakes, brownies-my mouth is watering just thinking about it. Trust me, you haven’t LIVED ’till you’ve tried Dad’s cupcakes. Yeah, you probably think it’s weird that such a tough guy makes baked sweets, right? Well, try them. You’ll shut up and stop complaining if you do, I swear.
Tuesday is What’s New With You. All day we reflect on what we’ve done over the past year, give speeches, whatever. Man, that was gonna be a big day.
Wednesday is Do What You Want. The birthweek person chooses what to do all day, within reason. For example, bowling, reading (like BF’s ever read a book on his own choice), etc.
Thursday is one of my favorites-game day. We play games. Well, duh. But not cheesy board games or Pin the Tail on the Donkey. Pfft, no. I’m talking stuff like the newest horror games, comedy games, whatever. We have a ton of consoles that came from the birthweek Thursday.
Friday is the party. The birthweek person can invite up to 30 non-family people for whatever kind of party they want-whether it’s big and loud and screamy or quiet and family only and simple. Knowing BF, it’ll be the first one.
And Saturday has always been BF’s favorite. Presents. I know BF. I know he was listening to me as I talked to SD about her present for BF. Trust me, I’ve lived with him for fourteen years. I know him.
SD and BF were sitting together, sipping sodas, BF with an extremely satisfied look on his face. The adults stood talking happily in the corner, and I felt my phone buzz.
“Be right over ❤ ~Speedy”
I smiled and shoved my phone in my pocket. Then I frowned and realized there was one more person missing. I walked into the kitchen and there he was.
His head was sweating from the heat of the oven as he pulled out a cake, and pancakes sizzled on the stove. But he saw me and grinned.
“Hello, dear,” said Uncle Axe. “Want a cupcake?” He offered me one and I giggled.
“Uncle Axe, I haven’t even had breakfast yet. Mom’ll get ticked.” He winked at me. “Don’t worry, it’ll be out little secret.” I hugged him and took a bite of the cupcake and my eyes went wide.
It was like my mouth had exploded with flavor. I quickly ate the rest and stared at him. His smile wavered. “Don’t-don’t you like it?” he asked, looking hurt. I shook my head. “No, I don’t like it.” He went back to flipping pancakes and didn’t see my wide grin. “I love it!” He looked at me. “No joke?”
I shook my head. “These are even better than Dad’s!” He laughed. “Where do you think he learned? He asked me what my sister liked the day before their wedding and I taught him how to make them.”
I shifted uneasily. I wanted to ask him two things. First-the easy one. “Uncle Axe?” I asked quietly. “Mmm?” he said, mouth full of pancake.
“Why do you talk like an old man?”
He froze for a second and swallowed his pancake. I was afraid I had asked a touchy question. Then he roared with laughter.
“You’ve got spunk, Slip!” he said, still laughing. He wiped the pancake off his mouth, chuckling, and stopped before answering my question. “My father taught me to talk like that,” he said. “Your mother never listened to him. If anything, she was a little more like your brother as a girl. Of course, when you’ve seen what I’ve seen, you change…” his smile faded. I gulped, because we were getting close to what I wanted to ask anyway. Full steam ahead, I guess. “And, uh, how…how did you get that…leg problem? And the Purple Heart?”
Now there wasn’t even a trace of a smile. “That’s for another time, Slip. Maybe tomorrow, in my speech. No guarantees.” Then he looked as though he’d like to be alone for a while, and luckily the doorbell rang at that moment. I murmured something about going to see Speedy, and left the room. I opened the door, still preoccupied, and greeted Speedy and his parents.
Speedy walked over to BF and sat down. “Happy birthday-again,” he said, grinning. BF actually laughed. “Family tradition. My REAL birthday was yesterday, but I still get this.” He waved a hand at the entire room, smiled, and handed Speedy a soda then apparently realized he was being too friendly and advised Speedy to go “play a video game or make out with Slip or something.” Speedy punched him then came over to me and asked if I wanted one too. I shook my head, apparently too quickly. He stopped grinning. “What’s wrong, Slip?” he asked, looking worried. It was almost like I was half asleep. I shook my head once to clear it and said “Hmm? Oh, nothing. Just thinking.” He shrugged and snatched a pancake from the table. “Sure?” he said, chewing. I laughed. “You, Speedy Tomato, are a pig.” He pulled up his nose and started shoving the pancake in his mouth quickly and repeated until he said he felt like barfing, went into the bathroom, and left me there gasping for breath.
The doorbell rang again. I ran to answer it and instead of two people, like I expected, there were nine. I gaped as I recognized only four of them. Nameless, her parents, GS, some people I assumed were his parents, and a girl I had never seen before standing behind Nameless and next to her parents, I guess.
“Nameless, who is she?” I asked, gesturing to the person behind her, who I now noticed was wearing a pink beret. She pulled me aside. “Tha’s my cousin,” she said. “Fierce Popper.” I looked at the girl, twirling her hair between her fingers.
“Is she nice?” I asked. Nameless nodded. “Very. She’s a good person.” I shrugged. “Well, I guess if she’s your friend-” “-she is-” “-then she’s my friend too.”
Nameless smiled and went over to talk to Fierce. Yes, that’s what I’m calling her. You think every one of us has to have a cool nickname? Hahaha, no.
Fierce walked in and I introduced her to everyone. She waved, and she was clearly enjoying the attention. Her parents said hi to me and thanked me for being so nice to her, but I assured that I genuinely meant it.
Then Uncle Axe walked out and Fierce’s eyes grew large. She said something like “bathroom” and shot out of the room as fast as her legs woud take her. I frowned. She didn’t even know where our bathroom was.
Why had she run off like that when Uncle Axe came?