Wow, sorry guys. Those six months just flew on by, didn't they? Um. Oops. Anyway, here it continues! Enjoy the creepy insane Don ... I know I do. ::evil grin::

Standard Disclaimer: TMNT is not mine, but Mirage Studio's. I only play with them for a bit.


Mikey laid on his back, staring at the pipes running only inches above him. His attention was caught on a joint in one of the pipes - for no good reason, other than there was a water drop slowly forming on one side. He tried to remember how far he was in counting. He was pretty sure he had gotten up to the forties already. Fifties? He groaned, albeit silently. Who ever thought of the 'count to a hundred' thing? I mean I get that I have to keep hiding for some time after I've last heard anyone. You know, just to make doubly sure that they aren't still lurking about. Mikey shifted, trying to find a less uncomfortable position. ... Just 'cause I once (once!) broke out of hiding too quick while we were on patrol one night. Leo was all over my case for that.

And since I'm pretty sure that was Leo I avoided a few minutes ago, I'm so staying here for a bit longer. He probably counts to a hundred and five. If he counts at all -- maybe he just 'knows' with his spooky ninja sense. In the meantime, the unnoticed water drop had grown, almost imperceptibly, but continuously, until it finally fell free from the pipe above -- and six inches later splattered coldly on Mikey's forehead.

Ewww. He shifted down a bit, well clear of any future drops. His thoughts chased around ideas of where his brothers might be, and if they were as bored as he was. He wondered, if he stayed here long enough, would his brains leak and drip out of his ears? Because it certainly felt like it.

"Okay, this is just boring," Mikey announced quietly (well, somewhat quietly) to the pipes. He started to maneuver his way to an opening in the maze of pipes around him. He knew that none of his brothers could even fit up here, even if they ever thought of checking for him up here, wedged between two layers of pipes.

His cell rang.

Mikey scrambled to silence the (very, very loud) sound, smacking his head on a vertical pipe. He juggled it open, glanced at the caller ID and whispered, "Hey, Donnie, I'm trying to hide here."

"I know. I thought you might be getting bored by now," Don chuckled. "Lonely?"

Michaelangelo gaped at the phone. "Huh, what? Well, yeah, kinda." Another drop of water, unnoticed, dripped onto the pipes. "Hey, wait a minute! How do you know?"

"Ah, see, I know everything." Mikey heard some kind of tapping or clicking through the line before Don next spoke. "I must applaud your ability at finding that hiding spot. I doubt the others would have ever looked in such an obscure location. Although," Don paused. "That position is rather hard to get out of, isn't it? Hrm, yes, it probably is. Ah, that's a wonderful idea."

Mikey's mind spun, trying to keep up with Don's ... ramblings? "Uh Don, what's a good idea?"

"How fast do you think you can get out of there?

Huh? Covering his confusion, Mikey joked. "Didn't we already do the timing thing already?"

"Consider this a retest. Time mark .... now."

Mikey clambered to the opening, clumsily stuffing the phone, still open, into his belt. Dropping through the opening, he snaked around a couple of thick pipes, before flipping down to the tunnel floor. He landed on the narrow walkway running along the edge of the tunnel wall. The rest of the tunnel was running with murky, unpleasant water that he tried not to think of what could be lurking underneath.

He gave quick glances up and down the tunnel, hoping that none of his other brothers had just found him. Pulling his cell from his belt, he tried to express all of his questions at once. "Okay, Donnie, what was that all about? How did you know where I am? Why aren't you out here? Why are you calling me? Hey ... is this some kind of joke?"

"Ooooh, I know." Mikey nervously edged towards the next junction. "Raph put you up to this, didn't he? He's still sore about this morning? Time to prank the prankmeister?"

Mikey attempted to watch all directions around him at once, anticipating the trap to spring any minute now. "... Maybe not Raph. Was it Leo? One of his crazy tests?"

Don sighed, though it sounded almost amused. "No, I'm afraid they can't take credit for this. I suppose you could say it's all my idea."

Somehow, this is was not very comforting to Mikey. "An idea of what? Like seriously Don, what's going on?"

"Hrm." Don frowned in concentration. "How to put this in a way you'd understand. Now that is a challenge."

"Tell me. What is it about those monster movies that make you like them so much? Is it the fear? The hopelessness? Knowing that the creature is right behind the next corner, and only being able to watch the unaware soon-to-be-victim blithely walk down the corridor? Is it a mere adrenaline rush, or something deeper?"

Mikey stopped, the intent to find another hiding spot forgotten Instead, rooted in place, he listened.

"Do the movies confine those horrible imaginings to themselves? That since they are real only in our imagination, only on film, that they can't possibly be true? Maybe we should start to ask where the inspiration came from, for those movies? From where did those writers pull these monsters from?"

Mikey finally interjected. "Donnie, you aren't making any sense! Quit kidding around...." He floundered for what to even say next. "... what is that you want?"

"Those monster movie victims – what did they want? They wanted someone to help them, didn't they?"

Mikey was not expecting another question. "Uh. Yes?"

"If someone else rescued them, did they ever learn from it? Or did they repeat the same mistakes over and over again, killing themselves and those foolish enough to stay near?"

"Well, um. Some of them learned. Not all though ... especially not the panicky girls – they always get eaten. Or killed. Sometimes both." Mikey knew he was babbling, and what he saying wasn't making him feel any better so far. "But you always knew the hero was going to live. Well, mostly. Anyway, even if he, were on their own – they would live through anyway – and take out the monster, and probably rescue a pretty girl or something like that on the way."

Don laughed. "Well, there's not likely to be any pretty girls here. But now ... do you think you are a hero? Would you survive one of those movies?"

"Sure, I mean I know all the rules not to break. And then, you know, there's all of us." Mikey tried desperately to squish the little thought running around in circles crying 'Never split the party. Never go out alone,' over and over again. "You know, that's a good idea. How about I call up Raph and Leo and then, uh, we all discuss horror movie survival tactics? We could, um, have a marathon, at home, in the nice safe lair, and I'll make popcorn howdoesthatsound?"

Mikey could have sworn he heard Don's smile, and it wasn't a comforting sound.

"Sorry Mikey, but neither of them are going to answer right now." Don glanced over to a few monitors, noting Leo still futilely trying to be heard, and Raph wandering down a passageway. "I'm afraid you don't get help from them this time. Ah, sweet Michelangelo, this one you are on your own. You can ask for assistance, a hand, simply someone else there --- but you won't get it now. This will be a new experience for you, I think. It will be somewhat disconcerting, especially at first. Then, once you understand, then you'll know."

Don held his head in his hands. "Oh Mikey, I don't want you to know. But I do know. And because you don't know, you do things. Things you'd never do, if you know. Do you know how quiet the junkyard gets in the middle of the night? Your focus pinpricks on the only sound there is – your own breath – it becomes so loud, you can barely hear anything else?"

Mikey would have dropped the cell if it wasn't reflexively clamped in his hand. None of this made sense. He was dreaming - he had to be dreaming. Panic bubbled up, and he did the only thing he could think of to get away from the apparently crazy Donnie. He hung up.

Don frowned at the monitor again. "They keep doing that, don't they?" He tapped the redial button.

Mikey yelped and flung the ringing thing away, as if it had bit him. The cell bounced off a wall with a crack. As luck would have it, the cell did not land back on the walkway, but instead fell with a plop into the waterway. A faint second ring mocked from under the surface, before it too was swallowed by the putrid water.

Mikey turned and ran. He didn't know where he was running to exactly. Normally this wouldn't have concerned him too much – usually he would be running with his brothers, and they knew where they were going. But not this time. Panic pushed that all that introspection to the side for the moment, and Mikey ran faster. When he couldn't run anymore, then, then he could figure out what was next.

Don zoomed out on the map he was viewing, and watched the orange tracer blip further and further away.

"I'm sorry Michaelangelo, I truly am. Sometimes there really is a monster under your bed. And sometimes no one can hear your cry for help."