Gravity Falls 3K Drabble Challenge
By Aoikami Sarah
Set #1 The Cure
Three Imaginary Boys
"Wait up!" six-year-old Fiddleford called, hurrying, tripping over an untied shoelace and landing with a dusty thud face-first on the beach. He lay there for a moment and felt his eyes burn with the start of tears. The heat of the sun on his back cooled suddenly as two shadows fell over him. Two sets of gentle hands grasped his skinny arms and hefted him to his feet.
"Told you your shoe was untied," Standford nagged, grinning, and dusted him off.
"Ha! Ya shoulda seen the sand go poof!" Stanley laughed and threw a handful of sand into the air.
"Come on, baby, come on!" Stan growled. He gripped the steering wheel of the '73 Toyota he drove, tightly. It had been making a terrible noise and the check-oil light glared like a beacon. He gunned it and the tapping grew louder and faster. The rod snapped and shot through the engine block with a horrific bang and he swerved off the side of the desert highway. When he climbed out, flames shot out from under the hood. "Goddamn piece of shit car!" he screamed, and shed angry tears, vowing to get the Stanley Mobile out of hock someday soon.
A tall, armor-clad cross between a centaur and a tiger handed Stanford a long, heavy bow and gave him an encouraging, four-fingered slap on the back. "Now you try!" he boomed. Ford pushed his glasses up and grimaced at the target-500 feet away. The arrows were almost as tall as he was. "Oh sure," he mumbled. His stance wasn't great, but he pulled the string back with his dominant left hand and let the arrow fly. It sailed about a hundred feet and stuck in the ground. The tiger-taur laughed. "Accuracy good, power less so! I find smaller bow!"
For the first few months, Stan kept a calendar on the back of his brother's bedroom door and crossed off the days, writing the total down on the next square every morning when he woke. After 261 days, suddenly, he stopped. The summer was over, the leaves were starting to turn, and the desperate enthusiasm he had felt in the first part of the year (as he forced himself to believe that he might soon get his brother back) had long since faded. It was just another day to struggle through, rather than another day closer to setting things right.
"It helps me focus," Stanford replied dismissively as he placed yet another triangle-shaped figurine on the shelf in his study.
Fiddleford raised a brow. "I suppose so, but, do yeh hafta have so dang many of 'em? They're a might creepy, ya ask me."
"I didn't," Stanford said.
His assistant frowned. "It helps you focus, huh? That where you're gettin' all these calculations from? I'm no slouch, Stanford, but this stuff is out there."
"If it helps you sleep at night, sure. I draw inspiration from concentrating on this symbol."
"It sure as shootin' don't," he muttered under his breath.
It's Not You
"It's not you, it's me," she said.
"It's him." Stanley squeezed his eyes shut and saw the bright red of his own blood back-lit by brilliant sunshine and the ghostly afterimage of his curvaceous girlfriend. "God damn hippy asshole. How can you stand him, let alone fuck him?!"
Carla stiffened, clenched her jaw, ripped the silk flower from her hair and threw it at him. "I tried to be nice, Stan. You need help. You're always so angry! Thistle is gentle and kind…"
"So am I!" he shouted.
After a long, awkward silence Stan stormed off to vent his rage.
Dimension 23-x was wearing on Stanford Pines. The flow of traffic was a slow parade of revelers and all the buildings in town were rides, or arcades, or funhouses. The courthouse he approached boasted a hall of mirrors.
He stood in line to see the clerk regarding a permit to register a certain weapon he wanted to purchase and did his best to avert his eyes from the hundreds of Stanfords that surrounded him. He did a double-take at the nearest one-head enlarged to three times its size. He couldn't help but wonder if Stan was going grey, too.
Play for Today
Pacifica laughed then sneered.
The two girls with her laughed.
They turned and dismissed the target, coldly.
They did this a few times, got smoothies, bought some shoes, then out to the waiting limo.
She sighed and brushed her hair, staring into her eyes in the vanity mirror.
"You're nothing but a fraud. A 'sham'. You only do this because you feel like you have to."
The girl in the reflection pouted. "Oh yeah? You're typecast to play this part. This is your life. Who you are."
"Is it?" She asked, looking away. "It's not fair."
"I don't tell you everything!"
I keep some of my feelings to myself. My heartbreak, my desire, my desperate need to love and be loved. Dipper, it would scare you if you knew just how great it is.
"There's nothing supernatural going on in Gravity Falls!"
Please be a normal kid. Please don't get hurt. Please don't go down the same path. Dipper, please don't leave us.
"Don't tell anyone, not even your sister."
I trust no one. No one, but you, Dipper. You, who are so much like me. No one else understands. They never did. They never will.
"In my dimension, things are different." The weary traveler sighed, clutched the mug of hot coffee that they gave him and warmed his twelve fingers. His clothes were tattered and his beard showed a few weeks of growth. "Fiddleford and I built a metavortex. He went insane, and Stanley and I fought and he pushed me through it."
"I went insane?" Fiddleford asked, brows arched high with concern.
"I did what?" Stanley made a disgusted face.
"We're not the Mystery Trio?" Stanford put a hand on each of his friends' shoulders. "I can't imagine. I'm so sorry for you, Ford."
For a week the town and its surrounds buzzed, hummed, droned, and pulsed. Fires burned. Buildings crumbled. People screamed. Dipper cried. He slept only a few hours here and there and when he did, often awoke to shrieking, or splintering, or crackling-once to sinister laughter.
He remembered hearing the final sound to originate from the oddpocalypse. The keening whine as time and space contracted around the glowing cross in the sky, exploding in a sonic boom that shook his teeth and rattled his brain, then the rushing wind-whipping chaos of 'things returning to normal'. Then birds chirping, and blessed quiet.
For thirty years, every single night, Stan Pines descended to the lowest level of the shack's basement. Some nights, he studied physics. Some nights, he made repairs. Some nights, he banged his head against the control panel. Some nights, he wept. There were nights when he woke up in the basement the next morning, cold, clammy and hung over on the floor. The first night he didn't have a reason to take the elevator down should have been a joyous one. Instead, his cold and bitter brother took his basement back, and Stan trudged off, alone and unnecessary, to bed.
Stanford flipped the safety off of the railgun and it gave a high-pitched whine that he could no longer register, but made Dipper cover his hears. The boy's hands sweat even more profusely than they had when he handed it to him. "Ok. Seventeen seconds until the charge is sufficiently built up and you get one shot. Can you make out the target?"
He squinted through the sight at the cliffs. "A blue and red bulls-eye taped to a tree?" he asked, voice shaking. It must have been a mile distant.
"That's the one. Now, just like I showed you."
Fiddleford aimed the shot gun at the pair of Stanfords before him, shakily moving the barrel from one to the other. "S-stay where you are! Both of you!"
"It's me, Fidds, please!" the one on the left pleaded.
"No, this is me! Shoot him!" the one on the right demanded.
The young man gnashed his teeth and took aim. "I'm sorry," he said, and fired. The left-hand Stanford went down and transformed back into the shape shifter-wounded, but still alive.
"Ha! Good job, Fiddleford. You guessed right."
"Ya made it easy," he grumbled. "I just picked the bigger asshole."
As soon he'd finished the last few stitches, Stanford felt a great relief, even with the throbbing pain. By inserting two enchanted titanium plates engraved with runes under his scalp, he thought he had blocked Bill Cipher from his mind, forever. He chuckled deliriously and slumped back into his task chair. He hadn't slept in days and the surgery stole the last bit of energy he had. He fought against it, but sleep overtook him.
"WELL WELL, WHAT DO WE HAVE HERE?" Cipher asked, appearing in his dream almost immediately. "I GUESS I CAN'T DRIVE THE CAR ANYMORE, HUH, DAD?"
Stan Pines was drunk.
He had returned home two hours earlier, a bit dirty, pulse still racing from setting the Toyota on fire and running through the wildest part of the woods, the long, long way back to town.
By the time the trucks arrived, the already immolated cuts of pork he'd planted would be utterly destroyed and the suicide note and his old New Jersey driver's license would satisfy anyone investigating to give it up.
Stan cracked open a fresh cold one and raised the can to the rafters. "Cheers," he said, again. "To Stanley Pines. Rest in peace."
Mabel aimed Stanford's weapon at Dipper, her eyes glowing red.
"SO PINE TREE. WHAT'S IT FEEL LIKE TO HAVE BEEN BETRAYED BY EVERYONE YOU EVER CARED ABOUT?"
Dipper clenched his fists and glared up at Cipher. "Confident!" he barked.
"After you battle an all-powerful nightmare demon to the end of the world with a person, you know for a fact that they've always got your back!"
Mabel smirked, primed the huge gun and closed her eyes. When they opened they were brown and shining with tears. "You got it, Bro-bro," she whispered, turned to face Bill and fired.
The Drowning Man
"I'm losing," Stan whispered and gave a soft, dark chuckle. "I'm a loser, so makes sense." The whiskey was terrible, bottom-shelf stuff and burned like kerosene going down but his throat was numb to it. He wrapped his meaty fist around the handset and dialed the number, but couldn't get halfway through before misdialing. He cursed and threw the phone across the room. "Why's it when I need you the most I still can't do it!" Stan fell against the pillows and sucked down the rest of the fifth. His lids grew heavy and the bottle dropped to the floor.
One Hundred Years
"Careful," Stanford whispered. He extended an arm to keep Stan and Fiddleford back. "You dragged us out of our nice, warm beds and marched us out into the dang forest in the middle of the night for this?"
"This flower blooms only once every 100 years and when it does in exactly…" He looked to his watch. "...thirty seconds, we'll be treated to the rarest light show in the world."
They both raised a brow, but true to his calculations, the flower belched forth light and color of such intricacy that they would ever after find fireworks a little lacking.
Short Term Effect
"Stanford…?" Stanley asked and took a staggering step backward.
"Don't panic," the woman before him asserted. Stanford's clothes hung on her smaller frame and she pushed ill-fitting glasses in place with six fingers. "I'm sure this is just a short-term effect of the ray." She motioned to a pink crystal hooked up to a laser hanging nearby.
"You found a weird crystal in the woods and just thought you could try it out on yourself!?" he cried.
The woman frowned. "It was for science!"
"You are an idiot! A… really hot idiot."
"I'm going to pretend I didn't hear that."
"Hell no!" Stan shouted. "This is not happening!" His spine and his brother's were suddenly one.
"What have I told you about panicking, Stanley?" Stanford barked back. "I'm sure it's just like that crystal that turned me female yesterday. It should wear off in a few hours."
"You have got to be kidding me, Ford. I can't run a tour with you…" He stopped flailing and grinned to split his face. "Oh yes, I can!" He shifted his weight and planted his feet on the ground, hefting his brother up and stomping off to the museum.
"Stanley! Put me down!"
"Because it's lewd!"
"That is traditional, Stanford."
"For pirate ships, not for little sail boats!"
"Who says the Stan O' War isn't a pirate ship?"
"I do, because it's not!"
"Yes, says me! And I say no."
"What if I paint a bikini on her?"
"Oh, come on!"
"Stanley, have a little class. Just a little, for once?"
"I am classy!"
"You are as classy as school on a Sunday."
"You bet I… hey…"
"Pout all you want. I'm putting my foot down."
"Can I paint a shark on it?"
A Strange Day
The sun shone brightly in the azure summer sky. A man, like any other man, got into his mid-sized sedan, fastened his seat belt and put the car in drive. He drove from his home-a small ranch house with a well-manicured lawn-into town. He parked neatly in the parking space and made his way, reusable totes in hand, to the grocery store. Inside the store the cool air hummed with the promise of produce, and meats, and dairy, but especially, Tad thought, with a tight grin that was neither too wide nor too devious, of wheat and wheat by-products.
Stanford squeezed his eyes shut. 'Not again!' he thought. His body tensed and his lungs expanded. He sneezed for the fifth time and doubled over in pain. "Ow…" he moaned.
"Ok, you moron," Stan chided him. He stood in the doorframe at a safe distance, holding a tray with a steaming bowl of Campbell's, some saltines, and a tall glass of water. "I'm gonna bolt this friggin' door if you get outta bed one more time."
"But, experiment 431…!"
Stan put the tray down and folded his arms. "Your face'll be experiment 432 if you don't do as I say!"
The dust settled, the kids cheered and Stan frowned deeply at his twin. "You. Me. Walk. Now."
Stanford simply nodded and they entered the woods. They meandered along indistinct pathways until they were far from the shack. Birds sang and the trees whispered as if the end of the world hadn't just happened.
"Ford, I can't go back to the way it was. I need you back. You need to rea-"
Stan halted and stared at him incredulously.
"After what happened, I do realize now how important a family that loves me is to me, and I'm sorry."
Exhaustion pulled Stanley down onto the couch at around two in the morning. After some difficulty, he arranged the towel full of ice against his burn and tried to rest. The snow fell softly, backlit by a glaring spotlight outside the window.
An hour passed and he gave up trying to sleep and pulled the journal and his brother's glasses into his lap. Holding the glasses up, he peered through them and discovered that the prescription was too strong for his eyes. They welled up again.
His brother was gone.
He didn't sleep much that night, or the next one.
The Upstairs Room
They didn't tidy up very much, just took the sheets off, and packed up their things-the few pieces of luggage they brought with them insufficient to hold the additional ephemera collected that summer. The cross-bow would have to stay behind. Dipper stood in the doorway and let his eyes unfocus. His sister sat on her bed and looked out the window-broken and repaired several times and looking worse for the wear. After a long while, he asked her if she was ready. Mabel shook her head and slowly rose, picked up the last bag, and slung it over her shoulder.
"...the Nobel Prize in Interdimensional Space-time Theory goes to Stanford Filbrick Pines." the announcer said. Ford leaped out of his easychair and danced around the living room in the glow of the telecast. He hooted and hollered and crowed for a few moments before realizing there was no one to celebrate with. He deflated. Suddenly, the signal from Sweden was lost and static and white noise filled the room, replaced with a newscaster in front of a fiery, yet familiar landscape and chaotic sky slashed open above her. Eyebats turned people to stone behind her. "...and he brought about Weirdmageddon!"
Speak My Language
Stanley raised a brow and folded his arms. "Come again?"
"Haraheta, Sutan. Doushite ore wo wakaranenda, omae?"
He heaved a loud sigh. "Stanford, you broke yourself again. Which crystal did you shove up your ass this time?"
Ford flushed bright red. "Chigau! Sore wa…"
"Listen Poindexter," Stan said, putting his hands on his shoulders. He spoke slowly. "I can't understand a word comin' outta your mouth."
"Hara…" Ford pointed at this stomach, then with both hands grasped his belly. "...Heta."
"Oh, you hungry?"
Ford beamed at him. "Sou da!" He would speak nothing but Japanese for the next five hours.
Just One Kiss
Wendy strained against her bonds, tethered to an enormous tree. "Dude, what is wrong with you?! You coulda gotten yourself killed!"
Twenty-year-old Dipper Pines blinked the eye not clouded by blood at the irate redhead standing over him. The troll was out cold, splayed face down to his left, pacified by the neurotoxin he'd created by combining two of the rarest flowers in the forest.
"You're safe…" Dipper sighed with relief and crawled over to her, clutching the Troll's key to her bonds in his bruised fist. He unlocked her shackles. "I'd do anything for…"
He couldn't complete his sentence.