Title: Is It Scary, XXIII (Part 1) – An unresolved past chases no matter where ye flee.
By: IDOL HANDS
Warnings: Dark & mature themes: Violence, Hostage, Alternate Paganism, and an under-aged/adult relationship (shota/chan).
Disclaimer: The characters portrayed are the estate of Roald Dahl, Tim Burton, Freddie Highmore, Deep Roy, and Johnny Depp. All of Whom would surely lock me in SuperJail!
Tip: As a tip, making your window smaller, like a book, can help with reading longer texts.
Beta Thanks: marama_tsg, pet_pet_angel, st_minority.
A sailing we shall go!
Keep mum in the name of Mum.
Your brother may be your foe!
Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of butter rum!
Over the sea and across the years,
Through stormy agony, beyond deepest fears,
Fifteen men on a dead man's chest,
Drink and the devil had done for the rest.
Better a yum-yum in the tum-tum,
Than from love's touch to grow numb-numb!
"Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it."
Mr. Wonka, his heir, and the invaders had left behind the jalopy in the Children Only Room, boarding upon a new mechanical marvel – A mini-blimp! Though not just any design of blimp, as the great chocolatier wouldn't have "just any" of anything, uniqueness being a main aspect within his business…and life. This flying vehicle had been dubbed a "Wonkkalin", an improvement upon the German Zeppelins of World War II, powered by a giant plasma ball. Fascinating ripples of electric current danced distractingly above their heads, visible through a thick glass shield. Brushed black metal covered all other surfaces; nothing was reflective, causing forms to be swallowed in shadows beneath the extraterrestrial orb. No Oompa-Loompas were needed to pilot this high-tech vehicle and of course none could be permitted into the area where everyone was headed, to a place filled with Loompaland's most dreaded creatures and worse: The Secret Ingredients Room.
L.E.D. lights flickered about on perfectly flat computer screens, indicating their status and course. Mr. Prodnose had been completely mesmerized since he'd stepped aboard. Currently the old train conductor was playing with the orb above, wordlessly tracing the glass as threads of lightning traced the gestures of his eight intact fingertips.
In fact, everyone had been rather silent after the turbulent departure. A lack of singing or dancing by pygmy workers added a deafening layer to the absence of sound.
Willy Wonka stood near the bow, stoically taking in the view of veins and sinews connecting his fantastic rooms; endless suspended structures of tubes and wires, and shapes long forgotten of the usual square. Some resembled insect hives, the native constructions of Loompaland, but many were so strangely shaped that their purpose was anyone's guess. Oddities and complexities barely connected by a web of threads and notions -- exactly like their creator. Icicles dangled, sparkling like diamonds from a nearby frozen novelty section. Everything though, was a novelty to behold, each creation a priceless gem, an untold expense of time and energy. And the entire collection had been put on the table in exchange for one "ordinary" little boy. In theory, this could be the last time the candyman ever saw any of it. A piercing squelching sound of a full set of latex coated fingers, curling tightly from behind tense shoulder blades, drew notice.
Most quiet and still had been humble Charlie Bucket, his adolescent brain processing the weight of information given today, death most prevalent on his mind. He hadn't been able to engage his beloved friend or mentor, both because of the edict of their captors and because Mr. Wonka had been avoiding it. Eyes drifted to the noisy gloves then focused on the youngest of the three candymakers; a healthy individual full of vim, who had managed to make last minute unwanted advances toward his mother before they'd departed.
He finally spoke, voice deliberate but non-threatening, "Mr. Fickelgruber, why are you here instead of your father?"
The candyman hesitated a second, his arrogant capped-tooth grin sliding away. He faced the boy and bluntly stated, "Because he's dead. Lit a cigarette and blew up while trying to recreate the base ingredients for Never-Melting Ice Cream."
There was a titter.
"New shoes. They squeak."
Wonka made a humorous twist of expression at his patent leather boots, working an ankle back and forth in a tap dance motion.
The shoes did not squeak.
To Fickelgruber's continued and disbelieving glare he elaborated, "Uhhm…Paimpont forest tree sap is the ONLY source for proper sweetness and texture in that particular recipe. Processed correctly, through reverse-chemicalization of course, it becomes self-cooling -- Won't melt in the sun, see? But still dissolves in natural bio-acids. Not a task for an amateur though. Yeah. Because the sap's natural state is highly combustible."
Wonka shrugged and continued, "Besides, I told the guy like a million times to give up that nasty habit. Blech! Smoking dulls the palette and he really didn't have any taste buds tah spare."
"Oh yeah?!" Blustered Fickelgruber Jr., not really understanding what had been said, though nevertheless wanting to return the insult. "Well uh, at least my pappy didn't loose his virginity to old man Prodnose!"
Wonka was taken aback, "I beg your pardon!! The only thing that got soiled that day were his overalls!"
"Paimpont forest trees…" Repeated M, deep in thought, unfazed by the rest of the conversation.
"But-but I was your first kiss, wasn't I?" Prodnose insisted hopefully, stumbling back over to the group.
Eyes gone vacant, Willy looked past him. He was trying to remember. The factory and his work, a veritable Babylon of information, had consumed every fiber of consciousness for fifteen years -- these constant stirrings of retrieving unwanted memories from the back of his mind were most taxing. Turning back toward Young Mister Fickelgruber with an upturned pitch, he stated slowly, "No. Actually…it was yo' mama."
The other candyman flushed crimson, pushing his sleeves up to their plaid armbands. "That's it!! You take that back! You're just sayin' stuff to make me mad!"
M stepped in between the lurching, accusing young man and the serenely calm Wonka. Who was guarding whom from what had suddenly flip-flopped. A foxy glint appeared in purple eyes transformed electric as the plasma ball hovering above. He peeked over sideways, "Oh goodie. Is it MY turn to tell a story?"
There was no pause for permission.
"It begins when the Fickelgrubers hired an assistant - a little boy." His face was wild with the memory growing more and more tangible. One thick eyebrow cocked up, as he stepped back into reality and re-locked a gaze upon his target. "Bet ya don't know about that either."
"Sure I do!" Fickelgruber said defensively, "Some pale, brown-haired twerp with a Hasidic sounding first name. Uh…Yahn-kah…Ynka Willow. Yup, that was it. Had a face like a bear trap."
Charlie's eyes widened. It couldn't be.
Wonka's features squirmed at the description; unfortunately Fickelgruber's words weren't an exaggeration that he could argue with.
Slugworth moved a nob on his wheelchair and swiveled to face Mr. Prodnose. "An…*wheeze* anagram."
"A what-a-gram?" said the fair-haired candymaker.
The original plotting candymen had come to understand such tricks, consumed as they'd been with figuring out the various codes from the candy whiz's stolen recipes. Mr. Prodnose reached up and began spelling letters against the glass. The characters stayed formed in light and with a gesture drifted into a more familiar order:
Everyone stared at he who formally owned the proper title -- an enormous smile now stuck into place, each tooth pressed flatly against the next without slightest gap, on a face darkly lit. Along with the name, it dawned on the invaders that such freakish perfection was no coincidence either; rather it had been the end result of great pain and rigid torment.
They all flinched despite themselves.
Willy laughed with maniacal glee.
"Hey! You told my Dad that you didn't know him!" Fickelgruber shouted (clutching Prodnose).
"Charlatan!" Slugworth heaved. "Can't believe…a word *gasp* he says!"
Demurely lowering lids, masking the punch up his velvet sleeve, Wonka's brows flicked as sharp eyes stared back at them again. Lips of red traced white, ready to take a bite. "Heh. You boys should listen more carefully. Wut I said wuz, I had American tutors. Perfectly true. And actually Mr. Fickelgruber should be thanking me for the secrets that I've been keeping!"
"But!" He took a confident, clicking step forward and past the bodygaurd, "If it's 'truth' that ya want, then it's truth you'll get."
The craft hovered past a series of dangling ducts resembling a giant wind-chime, the blimp's electromagnetic field disrupted them, triggering a melancholy glockenspiel pulling its audience into another shattered fragment in the mysterious life of the world's greatest chocolatier.
PONNNG, PINGGG, PLOooNK, PLiNG…
Tonng, Tingg, TloOonk, TliNg…
clong, cling, clonk, clinggggg…
And so there he had sat, that disobedient little boy abandoned by his father, hugging himself through the long and cold night; the darkest one he'd ever remember.
Cement created Willy's new bed, a brick wall his pillow, and exhaustion threatened to overtake his form though he dare not leave for that pesky residue of hope. But neither the towering man nor his towering home returned. Dawn however, did.
Defeated, weary, the boy sluggishly stretched from a most uncomfortable slumber; mother's ring clasped within his bare palm became exposed to morning's light. A ruby heart held between two, gloved silver hands began to glow. Willy was captivated and dared to place it on, squeezing the jewelry in place to compensate for his young digits. Perhaps it was the breaking of the sun's equally shining rays because suddenly the world looked reborn! There was lush grass saturated neon, sky of dazzling aqua and hibiscus hues, brushed with clouds as fluffy as cotton candy he'd been kept from tasting. Sparkling lights flittering to and fro like living fireworks along the fantastic scene. Never in his dull life had he been bared to such beauty and color!
The boy stood to walk into this storybook picture, however when he turned around, to hoist up his knapsack, an entirely opposite scenario was revealed; an engulfing mass of pit black darkness loomed between the two buildings – looking like a supernatural version of yesterday's tempest! Energy crackled around the edges in ultraviolet and magenta, as if threatening to pull in everything near. That sight caused the boy to scream, jerking the ring from his finger! Immediately the vision evaporated back into broken molding and his over-stuffed cloth bag. Hand shaking, Willy snatched it up as quickly as possible, tripping over his own feet while backing away. He wondered exactly what sort of a man was his father?!
"'Ere. Aren't you wee Willy Wonka?"
The voice startled him into a girlish shriek. Willy turned to face a boy about his age, but couldn't speak even if he'd have known what to say under the circumstances.
"That famous dentist's son, right? Brace-face and all that."
One panicked last glance at the lad's demanding, freckled face and Willy ran away like a shot. The boy yelled after him, waving a clutched hand, "Ay! Get back 'ere! How in the heck am I supposedta' deliver a newspaper when there isn't even a bloomin' house to deliver it to?!"
The child didn't have the answer to that or a million other questions! Thus he ran and kept on running until his skinny legs were killing him, until he'd reached the edge of town where no one knew the geeky, quirky, ugly, uptight little boy named Willy Wonka. In fact, he'd unintentionally found himself back at a candy shop discovered while skipping school one day; where in one window, a show of preparing confections like pulling taffy or dipping candied apples was made, and in the other, were stacked cake plates full of elegantly packaged confections -- exciting, forbidden and blissful all at once -- not a bad place to be at all, certainly much nicer than a black hole! He felt the sanctuary of his favorite sin re-bloom; sinister power of rebellion and floating flying freedom laced with a satiny console of pleasure, these gloriously addictive sensations were the reason for his unreasonable punishment, the cross upon which he'd been hung. So be it. Brows furrowed, dark eyes determined, the child took a deep breath and pushed open the door.
The impressionable, vulnerable youth ended up spending his entire day inside the The Brothers Fickelgruber candy shop, run by a gregarious duo from America. Their foreign notoriety in England at that time, despite mediocre creations, won them an advantage over other candymakers. Willy found their accents jaunty and refreshingly nothing like his you-know-what. The Fickelgruber brothers looked and sounded identical to one another. Both were tall, attractive, hazel-eyed, and blonde haired with darker brows. In addition they wore matching outfits right down to their bowties. Children particularly liked how the pair staged performances to amuse: acting out skits (sometimes with puppets), spouting off jokes and even juggling! The boy had little sense of showmanship at the time; his father was not a man to put on airs, except to sardonically smile while lecturing on the superiority of his own vast knowledge. Differences in this first day of Willy's new life were unfamiliar, distracting, and therefore more than welcome.
Eventually night's dark curtain fell again; stars danced in the sky through the same windows that Willy had stared into that same morning, glittering lights reflected back in the matching tint of his eyes. He focused on the brightest one and made a wish. One of the men came up from behind, yawning. "C'mon buddy, shop's closed. You don't have to go home, but ya can't stay here."
"Um, I...I don't have a home. I'm an orphan." Innocent voice tinged with desperation.
"Orphan?!" The other Fickelgruber locked the front door, bells jingling. He glanced about then pulled down their decorative curtains with a whoosh. "Ain't you got no family at all?"
"What about a friend?"
He shook his head and turned to face them. "No sirs. You see, I…I…" Mechinisms about his face clattered as he recounted misfortunes aloud (a version anyway). "I lost my father yesterday a-a-and he was my only family. We didn't really have er, friends. I've wondered far from where we lived, there's nothing left for me there anyhow...but oh, how I DO enjoy candy!"
"He, he, he, he, he!" Squealish laughter echoed inside the empty shop. "I'd trade my very soul for it! I…I don't suppose you'd have a little work for…someone like me?"
They were startled by the appearance, story, and suddenness of this situation. Both rubbed their chins and considered. The brothers were opportunistic and this here, smelled like a juicy deal, ripe for the picking.
"Such an eager assistant…"
"Is hard to come by these days!"
"Candy-making may look fun but…"
"It's hard work, kiddo."
"Ya bet yer buttons there!"
Listening to them, keeping up as they finished each other's sentences, was rather similar to watching a Wimbledon tennis match! Left, right, left, right -- he forgot to stop moving when they stopped speaking. Shaking his frazzled young head clear, he exclaimed, "I promise I'll be the best assistant you ever had!"
"You're hired!" The slim, twin men looked at each other with similar awkward expressions. "Only…"
"Would ya mind if we kept you in the back…"
"During store hours?"
"See er, the uh…apparatus on yer head there…"
"It ain't uh, savory to candy sales."
"Yeah. Nothin' personal, short stuff."
"Er, ah, duz it come off?"
"It doesn't." Not unless he wanted to become one of those nightmarish photos he'd been shown in medical textbooks; that would be uglier still. The dark-haired boy's beaming, metallically stretched smile fell briefly in thought. Maybe they were right. Candy was the most wonderful, lovely thing ever and he certainly…was not. Even Willy didn't like looking in a mirror at himself. Besides, why did he need to be seen anyway? In fact, all the better for hiding! With that thought, the boy shrugged his small shoulders and looked up at these fantastic new people to him, "No, I don't mind. I don't mind at all!"
"Golly, the day's over…"
"I guess ya could get help us close shop."
"Hang yer bag on a hook and grab an apron!"
There were even more chores to do then when he lived with his Dad! Willy swept floorboards, polished countertops, wiped windows, dusted shelves, threw out trash, organized stock and a zillion other errands. But it felt a lot more fun to do them in a real life chocolate store! Thinking about it as he toiled away, the youngster realized that his stubborn father leaving was the best thing that ever happened to him! He began to hum. The brothers were puzzled by the boy's lack of sorrow regarding the loss of his paternal role model and only family, but they didn't want to pry or loose the good fortune of a hard-working assistant! True to the tale, never a friend nor relative showed up looking for this strange, lone child. Then again, if they or the authorities had, blame could safely be kept to a minimum.
As agreed, the child stayed in the back of the chocolate shop along with the machinery and parcels, living in the basement. There did the petit Willy Wonka crafted an equally petit existence for himself, without the slightest bit of help from his...his…oh, who cared about that stuffy old man?! Willy started to daydream as he often did. Why'd he have to have a p-p-parent anyway? He didn't even like the word anymore – unpleasant, spitting sort of a sound it had. Maybe he hatched from an egg or grew from the ground instead.
Wonka was still a part of the world, but also apart from it. Despite his fear of more shiver inducing visions, the lonely child couldn't help putting on the golden Claddagh ring at night. Wearing the object also gave him a sense of peace and warmth; he liked to pretend that some part of his mother was still in it, that someone watched over him in that damp basement. It seemed to him that every room in a candy-making place should be as beautiful; that even a lowly rodent, like the mice he shared space with, deserved better. Maybe one day he could ensure that was so, no matter how plain the purpose, his chocolate shop would be delectable from its grand entrance to the mysterious underground! Wilder and wilder dreams would cross his mind, soothe a dim reality until it practically grew forth from the very walls, until he swore he could see the impossible right before his eyes. Like the vision, a forest filled with color, maybe candy grew in it. He spoke aloud in freshly learned slang, "Yeeaah…"
To the land of sugar plums and fairy cakes, the abandoned child did drift.
Occasionally in waking life, Willy would peer through the tinted windows on the swinging doors that blocked off The Brother's Ficklegruber's kitchen & preparation area. Getting along with fellow children had never been easy, current circumstances would do nothing to improve this. The boy assistant would oft get jealous of freedoms he saw others taking for granted, mollifying himself by counting their blatant flaws: insolence, greed, rudeness, ignorance, extravagance, and many others. Why did he need to know such people? Better to be alone. Solitude made it easier to come up with ideas, formulas -- fresh thoughts acquired from training -- he was having them every day! The newest one was "Vitamin Candy". Willy had worried that he'd get sick eating nothing but candy (although he didn't tire of it). True there was milk in milk chocolate, protein in peanut brittle, and fruit in candied oranges or apples, but that wasn't enough if he wanted to grow into the king of a confectionary kingdom.
Nobody could tell the twins apart except young Willy Wonka (known by his inventive anagram, Ynka Willow), who'd never tell anyone that it was because he'd noticed a tiny spot behind the ear of the eldest. "Eldest" by 15 minutes that was. The brothers had been taking advantage of their deal. Because if he complained, they really could turn him in to one of those glorified torture camps called orphanages!
With an assistant to do their work, the owners had grown lazier and were happy to find new ways to entertain their time -- like girls, one in particular. Fifi was a prim maid who wore her hair in neat ringlets and both brothers were fond of the pretty girl. Their assistant had a reputation for being somewhat accident-prone, but whenever this particular woman showed up, it was the twins who became complete klutzes! Although slightly older, the candy apprentice couldn't imagine what all the fuss was about. Nor did he have much time to figure it out, as his duties had increased further while the two entertained.
They'd invite the young woman to the warmth and privacy of their kitchen table for American coffee or flavored hot chocolate. Willy would study her keenly from the shadows, women being rather alien to the child. The only one he'd really known existed in the form of inanimate objects or plump, maternal teachers and neighbors; they were not like oil paintings of nymphs come to life. He watched how elegantly Fifi crossed her heeled legs, fluttered lush lashes, and demurely held a drinking cup; not to mention the way both men melted over her high-pitched laughter. It was like she possessed a sort of power over them. The brothers were as carefully twirled around this structured glamour as the pin curls in her hairdo.
One day, Willy snuck into the closet to touch her fancy coat, hat and gloves; clothes made of velvets, satins, and lace; fetching and fine, the like of which he never knew existed. How could he? There had never been any female presence in his life and his father believed strictly in wool or starched cotton. He lifted a sleeve trimmed in fur to his face, sweeping it carefully across one cheek – soft as a breath of air. The garments smelled good too. Unfortunately Fifi returned unexpectedly and caught him indulging these whims, causing great shrieks! Fortunately his employer's only had flippant responses to the gentlewoman's sneer. It was apparent she had no intention of serving as any motherly substitute.
"Boys will be boys."
"See, even the kid ain't immune to yer charms."
Their French debutant claimed to forgive his minor offense, but the youth heard her ironically whisper, "Zere's zomething strange about Ynka. He gives me zee willies."
A glint bounced off the metal around his head as the gentlewoman shivered under the arm of one twin, the other giving a jealous gaze. The boy stayed in the shadows, only watching from a great distance after that. Again, in private Willy mimicked this person, wondering if he could affect such "power". There certainly wasn't any parent to discourage someone starving for a sense of self from doing otherwise or to suggest it was improper or unsuitable to one's physical gender. Like a sponge this chocolatier-in-training was absorbing everything, these recent experiences leaving strong impressions, but he never blamed the candy. For candy, with its endless varieties and malleable forms was the stuff of pure imagination itself – a veritable playground to focus all his dreams into, while forgetting his woes.
One Wednesday night Willy's candy filled dreams were disrupted by a clamor from within the shop. He thought it might have been a burglar as he dashed to investigate, but instead saw the two brothers engaged in a full match of fisticuffs! One knocked the other into a wall. Pots and pans came crashing down, blades sunk into the floor.
"The girl is mine!"
"No, she's mine!"
"I can't believe you've been passing yerself off as me!" Shouted the younger.
"So WUT? You had her Fridays!" Snapped back the elder. "She has more fun by my side anyways!"
"Says my hickeys!"
He exposed the evidence causing his brother to dive and wrap hands around the offending neck adorned with Fifi's nipped kisses. The other returned the grip and they smashed into more objects trying to choke one another, twirling in a death dance of asphyxiation and hatred.
Willy shouted. Suddenly. Surprising himself. They paused and looked toward him, hands still wrapped around one another.
Feeling bold, he added with a cracking voice, "This is stupid!! You can't fight fate! She'll end up with the one she's supposed to be with!"
Their gaze had gotten harsher; figure of a child slipping from youth into the cusps of manhood -- unaware though he was of it himself -- fluffy mouse perched at his shoulder and still dressed in the short pants of a boy, hem reaching mid-thigh rather than knees gaining muscle, sleeves exposing too much wrist on growing arms. At the end of them, one hand wore a white cotton glove. It had belonged to the woman; she'd thrown it away after its "twin" had been lost. The item kept his hand both warm and sanitary. It also protected the claddagh ring.
This however, was not what the raging men perceived. Oh, they'd stopped fighting but only to draw up kitchen implements and begin walking toward their assistant. A new target had volunteered for their raw emotions. Like the wild animal he'd been forced to live as, the youth sensed the danger. Willy bolted back for the basement with the Fickelgruber twins following right on his heels!
Where had those words come from?! Thought Wonka as he ran down cement stairs, toes jutting out of old, split shoes appearing to gasp like his chest.
Down in their storage area the men saw something that once again brought them to a halt. There appeared a laboratory: collections of discarded cookware, tubes and tires, asphalt and wires -- things that didn't look as if in baking they should aspire. In addition a mural had been painted over their formerly dull walls, blindingly colorful and wild in imagery did it mock anything they could have dreamed even with aid of illegal narcotics. A scene made with nothing more than left over spray paint cans from street punks and chalk from scribbling children on the pavement, remnants neatly stored in cardboard boxes with the brother's logo. But what looked the most out of place were the dozens of tiny rodents about, employed in great efforts of work.
"What in Hell?!", Echoed an appalled unison.
Ynka stood in front of everything, arms held up in surrender.
Mice busily picked out almonds, affixing a single perfectly toasted and glazed nut to each rectangular piece of dark-chocolate covered sweet, passing them down a line with tiny pink paws. More sat on eggbeaters, converted into small bicycles that they rode around within bowls of whipped meringue. Another lot was carefully making swirls onto the tops of truffles with their tail tips. While a few others appeared to be enjoying a break within a dollhouse, sipping refreshments from thimbles or nibbling on things like stale peanut brittle and broken biscuits. There was even a miniature outhouse!
"I trained them." The boy boasted, modestly adding, "Well, they liked the squeaks of my braces."
"Ya can't have filthy animals touching food for people!"
"I make them take baths!" Retorted the boy, annoyed. Of course he knew all about bacteria and germs from reading and upbringing. "Besides, their help is the only way I can get everything done!!"
"Wut's this?" On a separate desk were blocks of gooey, brown bars. Touching one made it grow pale and blurry. The Fickelgrubers jerked away in fear.
"Invisible Fudge." Ynka explained, "So you can eat candy without anyone knowing. It's a work in progress. I'm more excited by the Marshmallow Kittens, but the mice keep refusing to help me even though I've explained repeatedly that the mewling is only a special effect. Tsk."
Elements from Willy's father's cabinets and tomes lay near the makeshift chemistry lab; images and words that the two shop owners could make no sense of. Clearly they were scrawlings of an over active imagination.
"You're as transparent as that freaky fudge, kiddo."
"Think you're better than us, don'tcha?"
"But this crap ain't more than nonsense and fantasy."
"You can't run no real business this way."
"Ain't no beddie-bye story, little boy."
"Time for some exterminating."
The men rose up steel kitchen implements still clutched in their hands and began wrecking more havok. Mice scurried in a blur straight toward the safety of their carefully nibbled out holes.
"We gave you a home and skills!"
"Is this how you repay us?!"
"By trying to replace us?!"
"Vermin! Infestation! Pest!"
Precariously stacked shelves fell. Re-used condiment jars shattered. Substances with no business near one another mixed, exploding into smoke and fire. A toxic smell began filling the closed in space.
*cough* *cough* *cough* *gasp!*
*cough* *wheeze!* *cough* *cough*
"WATER!" Shouted one, fancy cuffed sleeve pressed to his nose.
The other began banging furiously at valves on pipes until one finally sprung off causing a gushing cascade. This did not successfully cease the fire however. Instead an oil burned in vivid shades atop the flood, fumes growing quickly thicker. Pressures changing within the boiler started to growl, threatening to burst and destroy the entire structure! Willy furiously searched for the missing valve but was having no luck. For whatever reason though, he was immune to the foul soot.
Suddenly an idea struck!
Men hopelessly choking and gagging, wadding through the water rising flood, the youth dared to stand nearly in front of the bulging web of metal. On instinct, he did something that he'd never thought he'd be capable of. Reaching to the back of his head, he began twisting at the gear that had come to feel like it grew from his very skull.
He shouted, "RUN!! Get out of here!!"
Having never been particularly heroic or self-sacrificing, neither grown man objected. The brother with slightly more might remaining grabbed his gasping twin to drag up the flooding stairwell. Behind them a threatening groan, louder than ever, came from the swelling tank. Nevertheless, Willy sooner took his chances with a helplessly collapsing heater than two functionally raving lunatics!
Above: One Fickelgruber collapsed across the table he was draped upon. The other gazing down, water dripping off his body onto its mirror image, fluid sparkling in shards of moonlight creeping in through slivers of curtain that failed to meet in the middle. Empty eyes slid to the source of continued noises where peculiar Ynka Willow remained distracted and at a distance. An opportunity was once again presenting itself…
Below: Countless odometers and meters had gone haywire, ceasing to mean anything but impeding doom. The whistling of escaping steam, a deep rumbling in earth, and clattering of metal on the brink of explosion, caused a peculiar cacophony of sounds bordering on music. In a swift motion, before he could give himself a chance to reconsider, the petit chocolatier had plucked the gear off his crown of orthodontics and shoved it into the empty orifice of the mechanical beast. As usual, Willy Wonka was at the center of inexplicable chaos. Bad as it was, this place was all that the boy had. Subsequently he desperately tried to save a home and sacred palace to sugar's delights -- not to mention his own hide! Twisting, turning, and twisting, for everything his twisted, turning and miserable life was worth because if it fell apart he'd be the very first thing annihilated in a holy torrent! Miraculously the gear fit, plus being made of the stern stuff of his father's mind, it did not yield under such immense pressures as might pulverize another. Metallic caterwauling eased back into hums of peaceful operation; from a distance the gears appeared to be robotic eyes and mouths, bearing smiles toward the brave volunteer as all systems returned to normal. Water expediently slurred down the drain in mimic of a great wave of relief; sensation shared by ever sentient and non-sentient being in the room.
Upstairs again, not only was Willy excited that he'd solved the problem but also that he'd managed to gather the majority of his belongings back. He hoped that the unintended bath caused the men to cool off, although it might also be time to run away again. Either way, knapsack clutched, he was prepared. Immediately one of them came into focus. Cautiously he approached the man hunched over the kitchen table. "Muh…Mister Fickelgruber?"
Zeroing in on the telltale freckle behind an ear, their over-worked assistant recognized him to be the elder. A cautious shake of shoulder caused the man to slump off the chair, facing upward. Eyes were rolled back to their whites and mouth gaped into a soundless scream.
"AH!" Willy backed away and thudded into another body, this one standing. Turning slowly he saw the eerily calm face of the second brother. A shiver from forces beyond temperature tingled him; had he been a cat, his fur would've been standing on end.
Mr. Fickelgruber, the younger, stared down at the wet and shivering man-child. "My brother always thought he was better 'n me! Imagine staring at your own reflection mocking you every second of every day! I've never had one dadgum chance to be UNIQUE!! Every blasted thing I owned or liked had tah be shared! Not anymore."
Willy swallowed loudly. Backed into a wall, he whispered. "I…I won't tell."
"Damn right, ya won't."
The surviving Fickelgruber brother slammed the boy's head against a wall before another thought could be formed. What had been left of the brace construct fell free and scattered in a noise akin to that of shattered dreams. Struggling still, a second slam led to the room spinning with the youth sliding to the ground, then swiftly a weight was pressed stiffly onto his exposed face -- Willy was being smothered by his own knapsack! Scents of his father's home still lingered, as did those of confections. They were becoming the last things he'd ever think about, except for the ghostly image of a woman in a long white gown…an angel? A goddess?
Delicate, insistent raps were heard upon the candyshop's front door. They matched in rhythm to the ticking of a coo-coo clock, marking the usual hour of his twin's secret rendezvous. Shadow of a fancy hat resting atop an hourglass body, left no doubt to the visitor's feminine identity.
The living brother stopped. Lifting the knapsack, their assistant lay motionless and the hue of snow. Adjusting his face, manipulating a natural flair for dramatics, he flung open the door in sorrow with a tale of woe due to a most terrible accident in their cellar. Alas, for his plans, his sweetheart had received nurse training. With hesitation she dutifully checked both victims and began giving the youth known as Ynka Willow, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. In between the efforts, a polite command to boil a kettle for tea and hot towels, forced Mr. Fickelgruber to reluctantly leave the room. He did so only reasoning that too much time had passed for any normal person to remain Earthly.
Less than a moment passed. Wide eyes flickered open to meet her own, a connection of lips lingered in wonder. Then a raspy cough. Gently she pulled away, stroking his damp hair as, "Not a bad looking lad under those braces are you? I hadn't noticed how spectacular your eyes are."
The youth withdrew spasming from her touch, shuddering in a corner. "Y-you shouldn't d-do that."
Fifi frowned, French accent as prominent as her perfume. "Hmpf. Zat's fine gratitude for saving l'enfant."
Wringing his hands together, he realized another potential offense. "Th-this be-belongs to you, ma'am."
"Tut, tut. Call me Fifi." Tone endearing. Her eyes fixated on what was underneath the removed glove instead. Warm hands touching those resembling ice. She smiled, "Oh look, you have two hearts."
"Like you." He whispered, distant and confused. "I felt the pulses."
She gasped. Possibly it had been her suspicion of this information leading to more metaphorical heart than usual. Or possibly it was the mannish change in the youth's appearance.
He became intense, "What day did you perform the act that creates life?"
A furious blush rose to the woman's cheeks.
Wonka insisted, voice serious and oblivious to insult, "Was it too often to remember?"
She slapped him, presuming judgment, "I gave in to temptation once, you unnatural and perverse child! Why should the day matter?!"
"Be with him Friday and never tell him it was a Wednesday. Never." The woman had saved his life, thus did he return the favor. By the dubiously startled look on her face, the true day was obvious. What was not however, was what "the act" exactly meant -- a phrase which had served as the briefest explanation as to how his arrival on the planet did occur, accompanied only by the warning that touching should always be sacred or the consequences could be dangerous. That much had become obvious.
He stood and picked up the knapsack, adding in an authoritative voice, "You shouldn't have led them both on."
"'Twas only harmless fun." She protested, forcing giggles.
A man; brother and twin, candymaker and teacher, body laying dead on the tile floor. His own nearly added alongside it. He made up his mind to never give up his dreams and to never be the property of a sole employer again; this experience had begun…a transformation. Dark irises, new spikes of contrasting lavender stabbing inward, stared the woman down.
"'Twas anything but."
Tension on the blimp had made the air quiet enough to hear the valuable beating inside one's own chest…if indeed it was there to be heard -- each life drifting within the clutter of dim uncertainty like the craft itself. Wonka had paused, eyes in another dimension where he watched his own life like an episode in a television show. He'd expressed most of what he'd seen. Posture currently bent in a sort of half bow, no one was sure if he was done until he tittered with a turn of expression, "He, he, he. Best I could do without cue cards."
Attempting to be nonplussed, Mr. Fickelgruber piped up with, "Oh yeah? Well ya left out the part where you STOLE their money!"
"Uh, I propagated a certain amount of owed back pay from the safe that got damaged in the disaster, which my braces and brains solved!" Asserted the chocolatier, followed by a squirm of his hips, "Kept me busy riding the rails of Europe for advanced candy training. No point gettin' in the way of more hump days now, was there?"
Nobody was paying attention to the warning signs of danger that the ship flew past, although intense exotic scents had begun to waft on currents made of air.
Mr. Slugworth was mulling over everything, "You'd said…Francis had a son when we met."
The youngest man laughed arrogantly, "See you don't know wut yer talkin' about, old coot! My Dad was Fitzroy."
Wonka sighed as if the candyman's stupidity were actually causing him physical pain. "Wut I'm sayin' is that you ain't half the man of half the man you thought you were. Yer just a bad copy of a bad copy, kiddo."
"I'm a junior named after my father!" Insisted the bleach blonde, confused by the sentence.
Charlie simplified the information, confirming it to himself at the same time, "Francis was your biological. Fitzroy raised you."
M surmised in a Loompish-like rhyme, "Francis lied and seduced your mother. Indiscretion got him murdered by his brother. Fifi never admitted paternity by another. Otherwise you too would've been smothered."
"Yeah! Ergo the only real junior here, is ME!" Wonka squinted at him with a click of teeth.
Fickelgruber looked at his cohorts, crestfallen, panicked, "Thi-this can't be true."
Mr. Prodnose took off his cap in a show of reverence, squishing it with nerves as he spoke, "Actually, you were part of a pair of twins too. But, er, Fitzroy 'tole us, your brother, er, uh, that is…"
"He died *gasp* at birth." Slugworth finished grimly.
This was the part of the story that the candymaking cads had known, what Wonka had recounted was not. It was also known that the man who raised Fickelgruber "Junior" could not stand twins. Fitzroy had even been known to refuse them service within his store. Some blamed grief, but there was a sense of unbefitting bitterness that hadn't fit the tale. Another truth was that his bride Fifi was petrified of ever becoming pregnant again, choosing to raise their son without a sibling; no doubt spoiling him in exclusive attention along with that decision. People assumed it was to do with vanity, since she frequently complained about how her large conception had altered a previously flawless form (though others might have sited her frequent appreciation of confections). Whatever the woman may have feared about her husband, she'd never allowed her mind to admit it. Then again, without her husband's money she would have been in poor monetary and moral circumstances indeed; beer barrel pockets and champagne taste, Fifi had made up her mind to marry ONE of the well-to-do Americans at first sight.
And now a plausible reason for everything, from a most implausible and unreasonable man, had been presented many lost decades later. The invaders looked at one another in amazement.
Prodnose interjected, "Never did get rid of that buggering mouse infestation."
"Whose the liar now?" Quipped Willy.
Peculiar buzzing sounds passed the ship, like wings made out of metal. A sudden rough bump threw everyone off balance, some to their knees, M gripped Slugworth's wheelchair. Charlie had been pleasantly shoved up against his mentor. In a hushed tone he sweetly dared, "I wish I'd been your first kiss."
The man leaned low as to grip the boy's shoulder under his chin, since hands were an impossibility. No skin touched, but in that deeper and secret tone he responded, "But yours was the one that truly resurrected me."
Raw cocoa beans combined with molten river, fruity lollypops, toasted nuts and wild dreams -- his scent, wrapping the boy as snuggly as a sweater. He nuzzled back and took deep breaths, oblivious to the turmoil or perhaps…immune. Thinking of everything learned, how it added up to ripping up a solitary person's soul, though it remained buried like a black pearl. Shadows pressed in from every direction, but he fixated on that mysterious luster. Hushed British accent to his mentor's masculine purr, he expressed, "I'm sorry for all the pain."
No one had ever expressed sympathy for him. It was another one of those freeze-frame moments Willy Wonka was utterly unprepared for, removing built-up guarded layers to reveal an aging wizard powerless in front of a simple child. How could Charlie be concerned for him at a time like this? Another rough bump separated them again, placing each back into captor's grips. However their faces were as resolute as the rings round their restrained hands (and even more restrained affection) — they remained joined in imperceptible ways.
The Wonkkalin had found itself forked in the grip of sturdy branches belonging to an immense tree house. Damage to the hull suggested the work of predatory insects. Clamoring horns and flashing lights firmly suggested a less than ideal landing. Sparks and smoke insisted that everyone should disembark most expediently! A voice similar to a hyperactive school kid made an announcement.
"AHOY!! Welcome to the Secret Ingredients Room!"
Yes, in his usual style of pandemonium, the famous chocolatier had arrived. Watch your step.
QUESTION: "Where do I get my ideas from?"
ANSWER: From everywhere and nowhere, some come to me out of the clear blue and others grow while trying to communicate notions by word or otherwise. I do not fully understand the way my mind works or links things as remote as sound or texture to notions of ancient religion or childhood memories and so forth, but it seems ideally suited to the conceptions of fiction.
But some of my very BEST ideas come from readers who review – honest! Even when you guess or question the tale, it often provokes the most interesting responses from the characters or research that I'll embark upon.
Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of butter rum! - parts of the summary are based off a famous pirate song.
I always thought plasma balls were neat, I'm somewhat of a Trekkie, and who doesn't love German engineering? So why not a ship combining such things?
My description of the behind the scenes view comes from the barest glimpses in Burton's film. By now I expect you've caught on to the factory being rather like a living organism. Here there was a strong sense of anxiety, firing neurons, and nerves.
Paimpont forest; look that up, interesting stuff.
The sounds and feeling I'm imagining for the glockenspiel come from the melody "2815" by Thomas Newman, from Pixar's Wall-E.
"Ynka" [yahn-kah] is a made-up name with no true origin that I'm aware of.
I've partly based the Fickelgruber twins personalities on the shop owner from the first film with Gene Wilder, the one that sings "Candyman".
He focused on the brightest one and made a wish. - this is actually usually the planet Venus.
You'll notice that bells reoccur as a sound. This is because they play an important role in paganism and magick rituals. As well there is a macabre poem by Edgar Allen Poe called "The Bells", of which I'm fond.
Wonka was still a part of the world, but also apart from it. - I really felt this line said a lot about the character on a grand scale.
I wanted to explain Willy's androgynous nature further; males and females, particularly in pop culture (for profit), exploit glamour. Children also have a general habit of trying on their parent's clothes.
Did I make a closet reference? Did I? Or did Burton beat me to it? Ha, ha!
MJ references: "The Girl Is Mine" is a famous song between him and Paul McCartney. And of course a single white glove became a trademark to the entertainer (referenced previously).
The mice: This idea comes from many factors. 1) The idea of Wonka learning to train animals, such a link to nature has connotations of magic and Paganism. This would later lead to squirrels, cows, Oompa-loompas, etc. 2) "Ben" by Michael Jackson 3 3) I rather liked Pixar's Ratatouille 4) Disney's Cinderella…or Willard if you prefer. Mwa-ha-ha! 5) "The Old Gumby Cat" song from the play Cats; I was smitten with those poems as a kid.
"Invisible Fudge" and "Marshmallow Kittens" are actual inventions in the books and movies.
But it remained buried in there like a sort of blackpearl. -- this & The Wonkkalin are homages to Depp's portrayal of the pirate Jack Sparrow.
**Thanks for reading, and commenting, and just being a fan. I couldn't ask for more.**