I originally wrote the rough draft for this before "Sock Opera" and then shelved this for obvious reasons. But after last night's intense episode, I decided to brush it off, fix it up and put up something light-hearted for everyone to recover with.
Hope you enjoy! Reviews are appreciated - kind words help keep the stories coming! - SGA
A violent shiver tore through Wendy the instant she entered the gift shop, taking her completely off guard. It was like stepping foot into a walk-in freezer.
"Hey, why's the AC on so high?" No sooner had she voiced her discomfort she remembered; the tumbledown Mystery Shack had zero air conditioning to speak of. Yet somehow she could definitely feel a nearly solid force of cold on her exposed arms.
The chills then vanished as quickly as they had appeared, leaving her reeling with befuddlement. The teen briefly wondered if she was coming down with anything. It wasn't long however when she figured out that there were clearly stranger things afoot. In front of her very eyes, a pad of paper and a pen suddenly rose off the counter and into the air. Before the dumbstruck girl could even register what she was looking at, a message had been hastily penned.
OKAY, PLEASE DON'T FREAK OUT WENDY
Too late. She was immediately assaulted by flashbacks to the incident at the abandoned convenience store. The panic-stricken teen promptly turned around on a dime and headed for the door. The invisible writer hurriedly scrawled out a fresh message which then flew across the room and stopped a mere foot from her very face.
HOLD ON. WENDY WAIT
Her hand flew into her backpack and out came her trusty hatchet. It didn't take long to realize that her weapon was probably pretty useless against possibly malicious spirits, but it was all that she had. The girl took an aggressive stance as she called for reinforcements. She knew only two people who could take care of this. "Dipper! Mabel! Guys-"
The unseen force hurriedly scribbled down another note.
IT'S OKAY WE'RE RIGHT HERE
There was a loud metal clang as the axe slipped from her limp grasp and tumbled to the floor. The teen gawked slack-jawed in utter disbelief. "...Dipper?"
YEAH, IT'S US. WE COULD USE A LITTLE HELP
A notebook and a feather-ended pen floated up into the air. Soon a fresh message was greeting her in sparkling blue letters.
Wendy found herself simultaneously shocked, yet somehow not all that surprised either. While this was definitely strange, compared to everything else she had experienced so far during this insane summer it honestly wasn't the weirdest thing she had encountered. The girl only needed a couple moments to fully process the situation before she asked bluntly, "...What happened to you?"
OKAY, SO FIRST OF ALL, DON'T FREAK OUT. Dipper warned her. WE NEED YOU TO GO INTO THE LIVING ROOM.
"Okay." The bewildered teen did as asked. The paper and pens bobbed along in the air behind her as her transformed friends followed in tow. She shot them a bemused look "Soooo….what, are you both like...invisible right now?"
KIND OF. WE'RE ACTUALLY A LITTLE MORE LIK
Dipper didn't get to finish writing out his answer before the teen stepped into the den and had half the life frightened out of her. The bodies of the Pines twins lay lifelessly crumpled on the floor. Wendy instinctively bolted over and hefted Mabel by her shoulders. The girl dangled as limply as a rag doll in her grasp.
"Y-you're…." She hurriedly put the clues together.
BOO! The unseen force that was apparently Mabel waved her note above the stunned girl. She then hastily wrote out another message. SORRY, I COULDN'T HELP MYSELF. YEAH, WE'RE GHOSTS.
Dipper hurriedly scratched out another note.
IT'S OKAY. IT'S OKAY. WE'RE NOT DEAD. WE'RE JUST SPIRITS SEPARATED FROM OUR BODIES RIGHT NOW.
Silence descended on the room as Wendy give him a cow-eyed stare. The boy made a hasty addition.
SORRY. THAT DOESN'T SOUND REASSURING AT ALL, DOES IT?
"Not even close, dude." Wendy readily agreed. The faintest hint of a smile briefly flittered across her face. In the midst of this madness, his trademark awkwardness was oddly comforting. "You gonna tell me what happened?"
THE CRYSTAL. IT CAME FROM A SMALL BOX WE FOUND IN THE WOODS.
It didn't take long to spot the enchanted item behind the entire mess. After all, the fist-sized stone in question looked like it didn't even belong on this planet, much less the den of a tumbledown tourist trap. It lay on the floor between the twins' bodies, emitting a pale green glow. Next to it sat a small wooden box carved with inscrutable runes. Wendy bent over the bizarre relic."You mean this-"
There was another sudden rush of cold as the frantic twins swung into action. A strong chill smacked the top of her outstretched hand. Meanwhile, she felt frozen invisible fingers clasp on each shoulder as she was suddenly yanked back, sending her tumbling flat on her rear. Wendy blasted an annoyed glare over where she guessed her friends were currently hovering.
"You could've just said 'Don't touch the crystal.'"
SORRY ABOUT THAT. YEAH, DON'T TOUCH IT. THAT'S WHAT TRIGGERS IT..
The girl noticed that the cold was gone again. "So was that you guys grabbing me when I first came in?"
Wendy felt a brief, chilly jab to her shoulder, followed up by another note.
THAT WAS ME. I GOT OVEREXCITED AND DIDN'T WANT YOU TO RUN AWAY LIKE SOOS DID.
"Uh oh." Wendy winced.
WE TRIED TO GET HIS ATTENTION. Dipper wrote. IT DID NOT GO WELL.
THANKS FOR STICKING AROUND! WE GOTTA GET CHANGED PRONTO. THIS ISN'T AS FUN AS YOU'D THINK. LIKE, AT ALL. Mabel continued on into a mini-rant without any prompting. Despite being separated from her physical flesh-and-blood body, her usual priorities remained unchanged. I MEAN, WHAT GOOD IS IT BEING ALL FLOATY AND STUFF IF NO ONE CAN SEE YOU? I'M FLYING AROUND AND IT SHOULD BE THE MOST AMAZING THING OVER, AND ONLY MY BROTHER CAN SEE ME. YOU KNOW WHAT? THIS CRYSTAL THINGY IS STUPID.
Journal Number 3 floated up off the floor and was placed into Wendy's hands. The yellowed pages flipped open, and she waited patiently until someone (Dipper, she assumed) flipped to the relevant entry.
"The Spirit Separator." She read the name aloud, then cocked her head. "That's it's name, and you still touched it? Dude…..it says it right here."
WE BOTH TOUCHED IT BEFORE DIPPER LOOKED IT UP IN THE JOURNAL.
SHE TOUCHED IT FIRST, AND THEN I PICKED IT WHEN I TRIED TO FIGURE OUT WHAT HAPPENED TO HER. Dipper defensively noted back.
IT WAS SO SHINY. Mabel protested. DIPPER, YOU KNOW HOW I CAN GET AROUND BEAUTIFUL THINGS. WHY DIDN'T YOU JUST LOOK IT UP IN THE BOOK SOONER?
IT'S A LITTLE TOO LATE TO TALK ABOUT THAT. ALSO, WHY ARE YOU WRITING EVERYTHING DOWN FOR ME? I CAN HEAR YOU LOUD AND CLEAR. There was a pause, followed by a frustrated scrawl. GREAT, NOW YOU'VE GOT ME DOING IT.
I DON'T WANT WENDY TO FEEL LEFT OUT. JUST BECAUSE YOU LOST YOUR BODY DOESN'T MEAN YOU LOST YOUR MANNERS.
"Uh, guys? Am I helping you, or what?" Wendy couldn't help but chuckle at the spectacle the two cut. Not even being suspended between this world and the plane beyond could prevent the irrepressible twins from carrying on as siblings do.
SORRY. Dipper wrote. ANYWAY, CAN YOU JUST READ
His sister's notebook bobbed up in the way.
HEY WENDY CHECK THIS OUT
Ever the creative mind, Mabel had finally figured out how to have some fun. She scribbled on a fresh piece of paper and tore tore it out. Moving with the speed of an experienced artist she fetched a pair of scissors and shaped it into the shape of a word-bubble. The message "Let's go solve a mystery, everyone!" hoved in front of Dipper's limp body as if he were a comic strip character.
Wendy cracked up automatically. Egged on by her audience of one, Mabel hurriedly fashioned another one that read, "Hi, my name is Dorker Pines."
HEY, CAN WE NOT DO THIS? Dipper exasperatedly wrote.
DIPPER, GROSS! STOP PICKING YOUR NOSE. Mabel wrote before she moved one of his fingers up into a compromising position. Wendy chuckled even harder.
NO, THAT'S NOT WHAT I MEANT. DIPPER. I SAID STOP PICKING YOUR NOSE. STOP. Mabel had positioned another finger into his other nostril.
OH, VERY FUNNY. Dipper sarcastically jotted. OKAY, ARE WE ALL DONE NOW?
NOPE. I CHANGED MY MIND. THIS IS FUN NOW. HEY WENDY CHECK THIS OUT. DANCE PARTY!
The radio was flipped on and tuned to the first sugary pop song that she could find. Dipper's body was then hefted up into the air. The limp tween figure was then wriggled about, his noodly limbs dangling around like he was a rag doll while his sister made him dance. Wendy tried to hold it in for the sake of her assuredly embarrassed friend, but the ridiculous sight proved to be too much. In no time she was bent over double laughing.
Dipper dropped his pad and pen and flew over. His physical legs rose up into the air as he grabbed his own ankles in an attempt to wrestle himself away from his sister. For a few moments the twins were engaged in an absurd tug-of-war match. Dipper eventually won, but at a cost. As he finally yanked himself free, the force sent his body flying out of his grasp and into the wall with a cringe-inducing smack..
CHANGED MY MIND AGAIN, THIS ISN'T FUN ANYMORE. Mabel apologetically announced. I'M SORRY I'M SORRY I'M SORRY EVERYONE I DIDN'T MEAN TO I'M SORRY
MABEL I CAN HEAR YOU FINE YOU DON'T HAVE TO WRITE EVERYTHING OUT OH GREAT I'M DOING IT AGAIN. There was a dull tap as Dipper impatiently pointed into the journal. WENDY, CAN YOU JUST READ THE STUPID INCANTATION HERE?
"You seem like you guys are having so much fun though." She couldn't help but joke.
PLEASE. GETTING FORCED OUT OF MY BODY TWICE IN ONE MONTH IS MORE THAN ENOUGH FOR ME
LOOK I'LL EXPLAIN LATER OKAY
"Okay, okay, chill." Wendy took a moment to look over the strange collection of written sounds and syllables. It was up to her to do this right, and unfortunately the twins couldn't help with pronunciation. Mentally she went over the line a few times, then cleared her throat and recited loudly, "Prarda mencio….uh….kurltit ambrosici befnuptia crakeru-"
After nearly contorting her tongue into knots, a blinding pale light exploded from the fist-sized crystal. The teen instinctively dropped the journal and covered her assaulted eyes. It was over in a literal flash topped off with a pained yelp.
"HELP!" Dipper returned to his body only to find that he was still lying in a crumbled mess on the floor like a discarded marionette. No less than three of his four limbs were somehow buried beneath him. "Nothing should bend like this!"
"I'm coming, bro!" Mabel snapped awake, bounced to her feet and flew to his side. Wendy joined the huddle, and together the girls untangled him.
"You okay?" Wendy checked him over.
"Yeah...think so...just a little sore." Dipper winced, then sighed in relief. He'd definitely take a little pain over floating around as a disembodied life force any day of the week. "I'm glad that's over."
"Oh yeah! We're all better now! Wait, hold on…hoooold on…." With a look of fierce determination and tightly gritted teeth, Mabel tense up with furious effort. When she saw that she remained bound to the ground, that was proof enough for her. "Yes! We're all better!"
"Thanks for getting my day off to the weirdest start possible." Wendy cracked. Unable to help herself, she threw her skinny arms around their shoulders for a quick hug. It felt good to have them back in their own bodies. "Doofuses."
"Don't mention it." The boy weakly joked back, then shuddered under the force of his various aches. "Ow."
"So what's the plan? Should we keep this thingy, or-" Mabel reached over to pick up the nefarious crystal.
"NO!" The others yelled. She jerked her hand back and tucked it up into her sweater sleeve.
"It's okay." Dipper took control. "Someone get a rake, or broom, or something. Let's just get it back in the box for now."
"You don't want to figure out what it's deal is?" Wendy was genuinely surprised. It wasn't like her friend to miss an opportunity to explore the paranormal. She playfully gave him a light punch in the shoulder, and immediately regretted it when he winced uncontrollably.
Dipper let out an exasperated groan that rumbled to the high heavens. "Twice...twice in one month, I don't even..."
"...All right, three points! Up by one!"
"Not for long, dude."
After their curious morning, things had calmed down significantly at the Mystery Shack. In fact, everything had gotten so low-key that Wendy and Dipper found the need to make their own fresh excitement. And so for the past twenty minutes, the two had been firing wads of crumpled paper at a target she taped to the middle of the floor.
"YES!" She scored a bulls-eye in the center. "Five points, and Corduroy takes the lead!"
"Enjoy it now." Dipper teased. "I'm about to make the comeback of the-"
Their game was brought to a sudden end by a miniature stampede. The two were taken by surprise when several tourists came flying out from the Shack's mishmash of exhibits, sprinting like their very lives depended on it.
"It's possessed!" One particularly horrified-looking woman screeched. "It's possessed!"
"What's pos-" Dipper tried to inquire, but only a moment later they had all vanished out into the parking lot.
Teen and tween didn't stew in confusion for very long. A very puzzled Waddles hovered into the room, held aloft by two disembodied winter gloves that protected him from the icy ghost touch. The pig was brought to a halt in front of the register, then gently set down on the floor. An unseen force grabbed a pen and paper, and scribbled out a cheery note.
HEY GUYS. Mabel greeted.
Wendy immediately burst out laughing. Dipper meanwhile was already busy mentally making plans to bury the accursed crystal first thing the next day. While he threw his plans together, he shot his invisible sister an annoyed scowl.
"...What are you doing?"
I CHANGED MY MIND. She gleefully wrote back. THIS IS FUN AGAIN.