Oops[NOTE:  This fanfic is rated R for descriptions of graphic events, and includes death.  If this bothers you, do not read!] DEAD AIR By:  Mark J. Hadley

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[The following is a transcript of an audio cassette tape recovered from the site of the incident in Townsville.]

*** ENTRY 1 ***

Bubbles:

[faintly]  …ess this button then?

Professor:

[faintly]  That's right.  See the red light come on?

Bubbles:

[faintly]  Okay!  [louder]  Hi, this is Bubbles!  I'm here with Professor Utonium, to ask him a few questions about who he is and what he does.  Good day, Professor!

Professor:

Good day, Bubbles!

Bubbles:

Thanks for taking the time for this interview…So, Professor, what is it that you do?

Professor:

I'm a scientist, and as a scientist, I do a lot of research on my own, to come up with new inventions and creations.  I'm interested in all areas of science, and, well, even I'm never sure what I'll come up with next!

Bubbles:

That's great!  So, what kinds of things have you made?

Professor:

As you know, one of my greatest creations is of the Powerpuff Girls…

Bubbles:

[giggles]

Professor:

…but besides that, I've come up with many other creations.  A phased matter inducing ray, a genetically perfect pet, a new type of precision scanning device used for microbiology research, and the Duranium-plated power suit, to name a few.

Bubbles:

Anything you've been working on lately?

Professor:

Right now, I have several experiments going.  I'm testing a theory about breaking through to alternate dimensions using a portal generator, but that may take a while longer than I expected.  But I've very close to developing a formula for cellular revitalization that could have countless applications in the medical field for disease treatment, if I am successful.

Bubbles:

Cool!  Any plans for the future?

Professor:

I'll be happy just if one of my inventions can really make a difference in this world…and since you girls already have, I can say that I'm quite happy already.

Bubbles:

Thanks, Professor!  [faintly]  Um, how do I stop the tape?

Professor:

[faintly]  Press this button here on the si--…

*** ENTRY 2 ***

Bubbles:

Um, hi!  My project at school where I had to interview the professor went really good!  Miss Keane said I did a great job!  Oh…anyway, when I was gonna give the tape recorder back to the professor, he told me I could keep it.  He thought it'd be a good idea to use it to keep a diary that you can listen to!  Isn't that cool?  So…here I am.  Um…I don't really have anything else to say, so I'll record something new tomorrow.  Bye!

*** ENTRY 3 ***

Bubbles:

Hi, it's Bubbles again!  We did some coloring in class today.  I made the bestest drawing again, and Miss Keane put it up on the board in front of the class!  Then, at recess, we played a little dodgeball.  As usual, Miss Keane put me, Blossom and Buttercup on one team, and everyone else on the other team, to make it more 'even'.  I can't believe it, Mitch actually hit me with a dodgeball today!  You shoulda seen all the other kids congratulating him!  I'm not mad about it, I think it's cool…it's not easy to hit us, I mean.  So anyway…after school, the Mayor called us, 'cause the bank was being robbed again.  We got there and took the crooks off to jail before they could get away.  Gotta go, the professor's done making dinner!

*** ENTRY 4 ***

Bubbles:

[sounds tired]  Whew, what a day!  I thought Saturday we could take a break, but we got eight calls from the Mayor.  Eight calls!  And two of them were giant monsters attacking Townsville.  I don't like these busy days; it makes me so tired.  [yawns]  I think I'll go to bed early today…

*** ENTRY 5 ***

Bubbles:

Can't talk for too long…the professor liked the job we did yesterday, and 'cause we were such good girls saving the day and everything, he's taking us to Chubby Cheese's!  I love Chubby Cheese's, 'specially the singing animals on the stage!  And all the games, and pizza, and…

Buttercup:

[in the distance]  C'mon, Bubbles, we're going!

Bubbles:

Oops…bye!

*** ENTRY 6 ***

Bubbles:

Oh, wow, what a day!  We'd barely gotten to school when we got a call from home…Mojo Jojo broke into the professor's lab to steal a bunch of his inventions and experiments and stuff!  We got there fast, and he was just trying to get away.  That monkey's hard to catch when he's running!  We blocked him off in Townsville Cemetery though.  I didn't like going in there, it scares me, but we surrounded him in the center and he couldn't get away.  We fought, and was trying to use the professor's inventions on us, but we beat him anyway.  We fly him off to jail and got everything back that he stole, except for a glass thing of chemicals he dropped on the ground during the fight.  The professor's ce…cellar…rev…the thing the professor was working on, the medical thing.  It got smashed up, so we lost it.  The professor seemed a little sad about it, but he just said, "Ah well, back to the drawing board."  I should've given Mojo another punch for that!  Bad monkey…oh well, see you later!

*** ENTRY 7 ***

Bubbles:

I know, I'm making two recordings in the same day, but I just had to add something…I beat Buttercup today at "Puppet Pals: The Game"!  I never beat her before at it!  She was so upset, it was funny!  This is a great day…I feel like I can do anything!  Um, anyway, bye!

*** ENTRY 8 ***

Bubbles:

[sound scared]  H-hi…Um, the p-professor…told me I should…that I should record one of these diary things to c-calm me down.  I'm…I'm so scared…s-something terrible happened last night.  These things…they came out of Townsville Cemetery…they were zombies!  Like the ones i-in that movie we saw!  Hundreds of them!  The pr…the professor thinks it had s-something to do with that formula that was lost out there.  The zombies went into…Townsville and…s-started attacking people.  We showed up to stop them…oh god, it was terrible…watching those things a-attacking and…and…e-eating…I don't want to think about it…we tried to fight them, but…they were so strong…one of them hit Blossom and knocked her down on the ground, but b-before it could get her, I flew over and picked her up.  W-we shot at them with our eyebeams, but they didn't do much good, they kept coming.  Finally, we just ran, came back home.  Th-they were almost there, too, s-so we blocked off all the doors and everything and stayed inside.  I can s-still hear them out there, clawing at the walls…th-they keep trying to get in…the professor called a few people, and found out that other people were locking themselves inside too, to s-stay away from them.  How are we gonna stop them all?!  I'm scared…I'm s-so scared…

*** ENTRY 9 ***

Bubbles:

They just won't leave…it's been days and they're still out there!  Why won't they go away?  I'm almost too scared to sleep at night…I'm afraid those things'll find a way in while we're sleeping and…and…  [swallows]  The…the professor s-said he's working on something to stop the formula, another formula which should destroy the zombies.  I hope he hurries up with it…o-our phone line went out yesterday, a-and we don't know what's going on in Townsville.  [holds back tears]  All the people…I hope at least some of them are okay…please…

*** ENTRY 10 ***

Bubbles:

We've gotta go back out there.  We're starting to run out of food.  If we don't find something, we're not gonna last long in here.  We're heading out there in a minute…the professor said that if we just stay in the air, the zombies can't get us, so we can just look around until we find someplace with food that they haven't gotten into yet.  There's gotta be someplace.  The zombies can't be everywhere.  I know if we ju--…

Buttercup:

[in the distance]  Bubbles!  C'mere!

Bubbles:

[loudly]  Just a second!

[Loud thump as the recorder is set down, followed by a few seconds of pause…]

Buttercup:

[in the distance]  We're ready to go.  You all set?

Bubbles:

[in the distance]  I think so.  But I'm still a little scared…

Buttercup:

[in the distance]  Me too, Bubbles…but we gotta.  C'mon, Blossom's waiting downstairs…

Bubbles:

[in the distance]  Hang on, just lemme turn off the recorder.  [pause, then louder]  Ok, wish me luck!  Bye!

*** ENTRY 11 ***

Bubbles:

[sounding very frightened]  Oh my god…oh my god…I…I dunno wh-what to…oh my god…  [takes a deep breath, still sounds frightened]  W-we headed out…like we…p-planned…staying in the air…to avoid the zombies…b-but…then th-they s-started coming towards us…in the air…a b-big flock of birds.  A-as they…they got closer…they…we could see them…all bloody and…and…th-they were zombies too!  W-we had to go d-down to the ground…to avoid them…we had to, there wasn't any way out…a-and then the z-zombies surrounded us.  We s-started…to fight them…and…Blossom made it back i-into the air t-to get away…one of the z-zombies grabbed me a-and…and it bit me on the arm…it hurt so badly!  I th-thought it was all over, and th-then Bu… [sobs]  …Buttercup f-flew over and…kicked it…and it let me go.  I fl-flew into the air, but th-then one…one of them g…got her from…behind…th-they all c-closed in on her a-and… [starts sobbing loudly]  Oh god…I could s-see everything, but c-couldn't get to her…they were b-biting her, ripping into her…t-tearing…god, no…we could hear her s-screaming…she was screaming her heart out…it was…and the…and she… [cries]  B-Blossom grabbed my arm…and p-pulled me…back towards home…but I c-could still h-hear her…in the distance…screaming in p-pain… [voice falters]  I…c-can't…believe…she's…d-dead…god please…no…please let this j-just be a dream…some t-terrible nightmare…I c-can't…

*** ENTRY 12 ***

Bubbles:

I still can't believe it…Buttercup's gone…I must have listened to the tape back about ten times yesterday.  Listening to myself talk about it.  And I still couldn't believe it.  Blossom's sad too, and so is the professor.  It's just too… [takes in a breath of air through her teeth]  My arm hurts so bad…the professor bandaged it up for me.  But if it weren't for Buttercup, I'd be… [pauses]  I owe her everything…I've gotta pull through this.  It hurts, but I'm alive.  Buttercup g-gave up her life for me back there…I gotta keep living, for the both of us.  [pauses, then sighs]  Food's getting low.  The professor doesn't think it'll last.  We're all getting so hungry.  But I'm afraid to go out there again…I just can't do it…I won't do it…

*** ENTRY 13 ***

Bubbles:

[weak]  I'm so hungry…we're out of food…we haven't eaten in days, and I'm feeling so tired…so weak…my arm's not healing, either…the professor says we need to find a doctor.  It's like…it's like it's hurting more as I'm getting weaker…I don't have the strength to fight off the pain…I'm too hungry…ohhh, I'd do anything for a slice of pizza…or a slice of bread…or just a cracker…anything…

*** ENTRY 14 ***

Bubbles:

[very faint]  …so tired…so…hungry…arm…h-hurting…so bad…I'm…I'm gonna die…I know it…I'm…it's too much…arm hurts so bad…hurts so bad…don't…wanna…don't wanna…die…not like…this….

*** ENTRY 15 ***

Bubbles:

It's like a miracle!  My arm stopped hurting!  The pain's all gone, and I'm starting to feel stronger again!  The bite on my arm's still there, but I don't feel it.  The professor thinks that some protective super-healing thing might have kicked in, like a power we didn't know we had.  I feel so much better…but I'm still very hungry, so I've made up my mind.  We can't go any longer without food, so Blossom and I are heading back out there to find some.  We know the birds are in the air, so we'll be ready for them.

*** ENTRY 16 ***

Bubbles:

We did it!  We made it back with food!  Oh, I'm so happy!  We're going to make it after all!  I was so hungry that the first thing I did was cram a whole slice of pie in my mouth.  I guess it was too much, 'cause I threw up.  The professor warned me that we've been without food for a while, so too much will be a shock to my stomach or something.  I'll eat something later, after my stomach settles back down again.

*** ENTRY 17 ***

Bubbles:

[sounds scared]  Something's wrong…every time I try to eat something, I just throw it back up again.  Am I sick?  The professor says we really need to find a doctor.  The bite on my arm still hasn't healed, even though it doesn't hurt, but also, how am I gonna eat if I can't keep any food down?  Nothing will stay down…not even a cracker.  Not even a cup of apple juice!  But I'm still hungry!  What's wrong with me?!

*** ENTRY 18 ***

Bubbles:

[weak]  I'm getting tired again…so hungry…why won't the food stay down?  Why?  I just wanna eat…all I can think about is eating…pizza, hamburgers… [groans]  My stomach…hurts so bad…gotta eat…

*** ENTRY 19 ***

Bubbles:

[very weak]  It's…the middle of the night…couldn't sleep…my stomach hurts…I'm so hungry…I'd do anything…to eat…so hungry… [pauses, and sobs softly]  Just one hamburger…just a piece of toast…a peanut…anything… [pauses]  Look at Blossom…lying there asleep…it's not fair…she gets to eat…but I can't…it's just not fair…look at her…asleep…filled with all that food…I wish I had all that food…good, tasty food…just to…eat it…and…th…t…. [trails off incomprehensibly]

[Silence for about ten seconds…]

Blossom:

[loud yelp]  Bubbles, wh-what are y—GAAAHH!!  [screams loudly]

[Loud, bloodcurdling screams from Blossom, drowning out some other sounds.  After a few seconds of this, footsteps approach quickly from the distance…]

Professor:

[in the distance]  What's going on…my god!!

[Footsteps quickly disappear into the distance.  Blossom's screams continue, then gradually die out.  For the next few minutes, there's only the sound of chewing and gnawing.  This eventually stops, and there's the brief sound of someone leaving the room slowly.  The rest of the tape is filled with recorded silence, only dead air...]

THE END