Chapter 5: Nightmare Thoughts
No one saw it coming.
Sure, they had dreaded it, but only in the back of their mind, things that only happened in their nightmares. Nightmarethoughts. They didn't think it could actually…happen.
I mean, it's preposterous. Their worst nightmare thought? Coming true? Perish the thought. I'll just keep going along, content with the thought that it could never happen.
The nightmare thought did come. And it would pick them off, one by one, starting with…
I will not tell you.
Back Alley Somewhere
"No, I refuse to live in an alley."
"Shut up! I have made my decision."
"I don't think you have a—"
"No! I have lived my life in the finest comforts! I have slept the night on the finest couches! I have surfed the net on the finest computers! I have eaten the finest potato chips money can by! And I have lied about all the stuff I have being the finest!"
"Then you should have no problem sleeping in the finest back alley money can't buy. Sit down."
"Fine. But you so owe me one."
"No, I don't."
"Okay…sitting down…on the ground…on the dirt… never been more grossed out in my life…except for that time The Cheat ate some bad clams and puked his guts out. Wait a second—eww! There's all this…slimy stuff on the ground…it's like…melted up soda…?"
"Well, I think it tastes great!"
"No one asked you, King."
The Cheat woke up and groaned. He turned around, and saw the King, huddled in a corner, as he had been for hours.
The others had expected he had gone insane around the time when he stopped talking.
The Cheat grunted at him to stop talking. He tried to go to sleep.
The nightmare thoughts were of death, and they were closer to reality than anyone else could've guessed.
Chapter 6: Goodbye
Homestar slowly opened his eyes and looked around.
"Morning," he muttered to the others.
"Dead," said a voice.
"Dead," said Strong Bad again.
"Strong Mad, the Poopsmith, the King, Pom Pom, Homsar, Bubs, Marzipan. They're all dead."
"They all died last night. Starvation."
"What about Coach Z and The Cheat?"
"They're still here. But they're fading fast."
Homestar bolted up and ran over to the side of the alley. Coach Z was there, lying on his back.
"Hey, Homestar," he said, his strong accent fading as his voice began to become quieter.
"Say it ain't so, Coach! Say it ain't so!"
"Sorry, Homestar. Looks like it's time for me to go to that big disco in the sky."
"No! You've coached me since I was a kid! I can't go on without you!"
"Kid, I got one thing to say. You're a terrific athlete. I knew it from the day you turned up at gym class. You've got talent. Roll with it, and you'll be great."
"No! Coach! I need you!"
"Sorry, but it's just my time."
"Goodbye, kid. And don't think I won't be waiting up there for you."
Homestar paused. He had nothing to say.
"See you at practice."
And he closed his eyes, and went perfectly lifeless.
Homestar lay down next to him and cried.
The Cheat was almost gone, too. Strong Bad was right next to him.
"Don't worry, little guy," he said in a comforting tone. "You're gonna make it. We're gonna get out of here…then we'll go get a case of Cold Ones. It'll be like old times."
The Cheat said that he hopes that happens. His breathing began to slow down.
"Snap out of it, The Cheat! This is gonna be okay!"
The Cheat smiled.
"Come on, man, you're fine! Just get up, dust yourself off, you know…come on!"
The Cheat smiled again.
"See ya later," he said in Cheat Talk, and he closed his eyes, coughed, and fell limp.
Strong Bad would not take no as an answer. He flipped The Cheat over on his back and began pounding on his stomach to try to revive him.
"NO! COME BACK YOU STUPID THE CHEAT! COME BACK!"
After a few seconds, he gave up, and collapsed next to him.
"What?" asked Homestar.
"I've had it!"
"About what? This! Our life! Our friends! Everything! Gone! And you know whose fault that is?"
"Let's go."Chapter 7: Confrontation
Three weeks had passed since the town had been demolished, and construction of the movie studio had already finished. Naturally, Strong Sad had been given a huge office on the top floor, with a huge window to look out over the landscape, which is what he had been doing, when the door bursted open, and two angry looking people stormed in.
"Security," called Strong Sad, before even turning around.
But his brother was used to being kicked out of places.
"Not so fast, bro."
He picked up a chair from in front of the desk and stuck it under the handle.
Strong Sad turned around.
"Yes, it's us."
"No, we're not dead, if that's what you thought."
"They can't hear you."
"You're not allowed here. It's against the law!"
"Yeah, and so is your face," said Strong Bad, "But you don't see it leaving."
"What are you doing here?"
"We have news."
"He has something in common with The Cheat, Pom Pom, Marzipan, the King of Town, the Poopsmith, Bubs, Coach Z and Homsar."
"And what is that?"
"You heard me."
This was the time when Homestar could hear security beginning to break down the door.
"How?" asked Strong Sad.
"Strong Bad…" he said, as the sound got louder.
Strong Sad paused.
"Why did you tell me this?"
"Strong Bad!" he yelled as the doors hinged began to peel off.
"You don't care?"
This was the time when security broke down the door and rushed in.
"Not in the least."
"But…your friends…your family! They're all dead!"
"Take these trespassers out and bring them to the police."
"You heartless son of a—!"
Security slammed the door shut before Strong Bad could finish.
Strong Sad turned around and looked up at the sky.
Wow, he thought. They're all dead. I never thought I'd see the day.
He paused. He didn't know how to feel.
The next few things that happened were a blur of confusion.
He leaned forwards to take a step, but his foot missed. He faltered for a moment as he fell forward. He leaned forward to grab something, but there was only his huge window. His hand pressed against that glass. He felt the pressure of the glass against his hand, and before he had time to regain his stance, he fell forward, the glass cracked apart, the window shattered from the pressure. He felt himself falling through the open space, as he tumbled down to the ground. But he did not feel the concrete hitting him. He just watched the swirl of colours as he fell down.
Then everything went black.
"Strong Sad, wake up!"
"What? Where am I?"
Strong Sad looked up. He was sitting at a table. In a restaurant.
"Where am I?"
"You're in Marshmallow's Last Stand."
"No, no, it was demolished."
Strong Sad looked up. He was indeed in Marshmallow's Last Stand. The one in Free Country. And there, across the table, sat—
"What day is it?" he asked.
"Monday the 29th."
"That's what I said."
Strong Sad suddenly realized that he had been given a second chance.
He didn't know how. He remembered seeing the town being demolished, seeing the studio being built, hearing his brother tell him that everyone had died. But somehow, he was back. Back to the time when his friend had asked him whether or not to take the job.
He would make the right decision.
"No. No to your offer. No to the studio, no to the town being destroyed, no to everything."
"I don't understand."
Strong Sad got up and walked out of the restaurant.
Homeschool took out his cell phone.
He dialled a number. He heard the metallic sound of the phone ringing, and then he heard a voice speak.
"Olympus Studios, Peter Halloran's office."
"Hello," said Homeschool to the secretary. "I want to speak to Mr. Halloran about an offer he made me?"
He could hear the secretary asking Mr. Halloran if he knew someone by that name. He heard Mr. Halloran's voice replying yes. There was a pause, and then the friend heard Mr. Halloran's voice.
"Winner!" said Halloran. "Good to talk to you again! So, have you found a partner to write those screenplays?"
"Well, keep looking."
"There was only one person who could possibly do this job, and he said no. Deal's off."
"No! I need that studio!"
"I said deal's off."
Homeschool closed his cell phone.
"I wonder if there's an airport around here somewhere."
Strong Sad walked along the road, his mind racing.
What happened? I thought the town was destroyed. But here I am. It makes no sense.
Just then, he heard a voice yell, "Hey, Strong Sad!"
Strong Sad turned around. It was Homestar.
"But, I thought you were dead."
"Nope. Turns out it was just a bad Pop Tart."
"So, what is it?"
"I'm going to put on play down at the theatre. I wanted to know if you'd like to help me write it."
"Of course I will!" he said, surprised that Homestar was asking him to help him with something.
"Alrighty!" said Homestar happily. "I've got my typewriter ready! Let's go!"
Strong Sad smiled as he walked with Homestar towards his house.
Hmm, though Strong Sad. Maybe I have friends in this town after all.