Disclaimer: Dialogue from Speed Racer is owned by Tatsuo Yoshida and Tatsunoko Productions. For disclaimer on Meet the Robinsons, please see chapter one.

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Chapter Three: Carl & Buster

"Hey look at that, boss!" Cruncher Bloch's henchman exclaimed from the television screen on an episode of Speed Racer.

"I know the scenery's gorgeous," Cruncher Bloch responded. "Who cares?"

"But I'm not looking at the scenery, I'm looking at the Mach Five."

"You're dreaming!"

"That's no dream, it's a nightmare."

Wilbur wrung his sweaty hands together in anticipation. Not because of the cartoon (even though he loved it, it was corny and predicitble), but because hearing the word "nightmare" reminded him of the two visions he had. He kept trying to push the thought to the back of his mind, but it still resurfaced in his mind every once in a while during the past hour or so, and it made him feel uncomfortable.

He shook his head, and laughed inwardly. Calamari? he thought. Isn't calamari squid, not octopus? He convinced himself it was. Really, calamari and octipus... That's just so ridiculous!

Reajusting himself on the couch, he sunk into a fluffy cushion and decided to finish relaxing with his break time.

Then, the television suddenly shut off. Blank, black screen. What the heck? Wilbur stood up. It wasn't just the television that turned off. He noticed other electronic devises, the lighting and such, were also off. He hurried off to the control room. Maybe there was something he could fix with the wiring.

He stood outside the door to the control room, and slowly swung it open. The hinges on the door creaked loudly as the light pouring into the room caused to cast his shadow on the floor of the darkened room. He grimaced at the awful sound of the old-fashioned door, but he knew that the door could not be replaced with a new-age, high-tech sliding door (because obviously there would be no way to get in if something like this, the power going out, happened). At least the hinges could be greased or replaced.

Fumbling for the flashlight that was stored away up on a shelf near the door, Wilbur grasped the heavy metal handle and clicked the button on the side several times before it flickered on correctly. Shining the beam of light ahead, he marched over to the control panel and stared intently over the hardware.

Hmm, he wondered, rubbing his chin as he looked over system more carefully for a second time. Nothing looked obviously suspicious. He inched forward, closer and closer. Until something bright and sudden flashed in his face. Reeling his head back to clear the hot sparks that nearly landed on his face, his heart pounded fiercely against his chest for a minute. Annoyed, he frowned as he lifted the portable light source to the affected area. Not the welcoming surprise he had wanted.

Wilbur went to grab safety goggles and gloves on the same shelf where he had retrieved the flashlight, and slipped on the gear. Using the flashlight as his guide, he located the power switched, and using all of his might, pulled the trigger down. A low whirring sound was made, as the last bit of energy source was being powered down completely.

Leaning against the opposite wall, Wilbur waited as patiently as he could (which he did not have a high tolerance of) for a couple of minutes before he attempted to reboot the power. If this didn't work, then there was something else wrong with the electrical circuit, and Wilbur had to rethink his strategy to figure out what the problem could be.

He glanced over at the exit. Maybe he could go find Carl to consult. Turning his attention to the circuit breaker, he pushed the handle up. Waiting for something to happen- hearing a functioning noise or seeing an operational light- Wilbur stood dumfounded in dark, still silence. He huffed. Looks like he will have to go with Plan B after all.

Lifting the goggles onto his forehead, Wilbur started to make his way out, only to be stopped by some debris left on the floor that entangled his feet in. Growing a little more irritated as he kicked his legs around several times to shake off what he supposed were loose wires and tubes, with little success, he finally shined the light down to the floor to get a full view of the bothersome appliances.

Raising his leg up to line the light beam up with the toe of his sneaker, Wilbur caught a glimpse of a golden metallic hand clenching on his shoe. The hand connected with a foot-long coil that had broken wires coming out of the detached end. Letting out a huge terrified gasp, shook his foot harder as his light source trailed ahead to reveal more similar pieces to the bionic arm.

A couple of blue LED lights, resembling a pair of eyes, flickered in its last bit of life. Arms and legs were torn and thrown in random directions, and the main core of the contraption had a huge, gaping hole in the middle. The mechanicals inside looked severely damaged beyond repair, as sparks surfaced. Then it started to heave, like human lungs wheezing for air, and audible gasps emerged from the device's "lips".

It then registered to Wilbur what the machinery really was- a destructed robot. No, it wasn't a robot. It was Carl! The boy's brow furrowed as he tightened his grip on the flashlight's handle. He was truly upset by the sight. Reason was not the front of his focus. It didn't matter if the robot was just artificial intelligence, and could potentially be restored. That was his friend!

Wilbur stormed out of the control room, furious. How dare something like this happen to Carl! His eyes searched around the empty house, trying to look for the next family member he would spot to help him carry the bot to his father's lab. Flesh or bolts, he would not let a friend or relative suffer like this.

Scanning the room, Wilbur wondered why the Robinson residence was so still. With a house of fifteen or so beings, he would have come across somebody. Then he heard the wheels of one of Billie's train roll down its tracks. Billie! he thought, rounding the corner. To his bewilderment, he didn't find her. Plus, the train must have had already passed through the room, since he didn't really see or hear it anywhere. Maybe he just imagined it...

His eyes followed along the tracks until he saw beige fur matted down on the railway. Its fur stained with a sticky crimson substance and something that resembled raw ground beef leaked out in the middle of the whole mess. Hurrying over, Wilbur dropped down to his knees.

"MY DOG!" the teen despaired.

Before he could grieve much more, an electrical popping sound was made, and Wilbur reared his head around to hear the television turn back on.

"Captain Time Travel will be back after these messages..." the announcer shouted from the idiot box.

"Hey, Wilbur!" yelled a voice from down the hall, causing the boy to flinch out of alarm. Turning his head, he saw Carl saunter casually through the room. "When he gets home, will you let your dad know that the power shut down earlier today? Thanks, buddy!"

Carl's okay, Wilbur theorized. Then that means, Buster...

Looking back down at his imaginary slain pet, Wilbur jolted from disheartenment. He found his fingers entangled through the bloodied fur as he tried to coax the dog out of the hallucination. After a couple of anguishing minutes, he heard bark come from the backyard. He couldn't help when a relieved smile broke out on his face. Using his knee for support, the boy pushed himself up, and ran out to the backyard.

Once he reached the door, Wilbur lifted his hand up to slide it open. He froze and smile washed away instantly when he took notice of his hand pressed against the door. Lifting his hand up, he saw a bloodied handprint against the wall. Turning his palm over, he observed the smeared fluid that coated himself. Glancing down at his jeans, he saw the dark blotch on the soaked material.

Oh, please, he pleaded in his mind as he looked over his shoulder. Sighing a breath of relief when he noticed the slaughtered Buster was gone. Just like the last three visions, it wasn't real. Wilbur faced forward again, with worry filling right back into him as he saw the bloodstained wall. If his dying pooch wasn't real, shouldn't the blood be gone, too?

End of Chapter Three

Author's Note: If any of you read my other Meet the Robinsons stories, 21st Century Kid or If I Never Married You (read and review, please and thank you!), then you probably heard that the cause of my four-year hiatus was from school. While I am on my summer break, I decided to take the time to continue my fanfiction as celebration on getting the heck out of this school (since I started working on these during my first two years of college, and now it is my last at this school).

29 August 2011