Disclaimer: I do not own Codename Kids Next Door.
Children, so slow to clean up their own messes.
When we are young, we are something more reluctant to cleanse ourselves. To some it's second nature, a daily task one needlessly performs without question. But to others, it's a burden. Many would call it sloth behavior, defiance, just silly children not knowing what's best for them. But one has to wonder how much those our elder truly know as well. Is a desire to wear our filth simply that? Desire? Or perhaps…something more?
One group was determined to find these answers.
For bazillions of years, the small issue of bath time caused many big casualties for the Kids Next Door. Something of a…love/hate debacle. Ironic something so insignificant would cast such a grey shadow. But for a long time, there was no compromise. For every two children that hated bath time, just as many claimed they could never part with it. Endless debates, dragging arguments…it went on and on. Something needed to be done.
An agreement was finally reached. It was decided the subject matter of bath time needed to be studied with a much more keen eye before the true verdict could be declared. Only one side could be right, after all.
So they founded the KND Squeaky Clean Research Facility, a private sector devoted to discovering the true pros and cons of taking a bath. It was constructed in a valley, safely hidden from prying eyes. The land of the valley, however, was polluted. Scarred, burnt, nature's dump. Because of it's filthy location, the research facility became more commonly known as, Dirt Town.
Have you heard of Dirt Town? No? It's not surprising. Something happened in Dirt Town. Something that the Kids Next Door really don't want to talk about.
Now Dirt Town is a ghost town, said to be inhabited by those who failed to escape. Now, they're all trapped, yet kept preserved, by The Dust: a never lifting cloud of toxic, yucky odor rumored to be produced by the facility itself. Where did it originate? Theories and speculations have been made, but any operative who has braved the dangers have never returned with confirmation.
To protect wandering children from The Dust's foul toxins, the Kids Next Door blocked off Dirt Town. Hoping to sweep its mystery, and failures, under the rug. Eventually to be forgotten.
But you can only cover up your spill for so long. Sooner or later, it'll start to smell. Now, Dirt Town has become a stain that won't fade away quite so easily.
After so many years of silence, after so long with no contact, Dirt Town is alive once more. The residents of this foul place are done hiding away from the world. For the first time ever since the facility went dark, the forgotten souls whom call Dirt Town home have journeyed beyond The Dust; ready to spread their filth. Their agenda? Plans? Overall ambition? Well, we'll just have to wait and see…
"…And the Congressman proudly said, 'We will cut funding to all the toy factories, video game companies, sugar mills, and any other producers of mindless distractions, and extend tax cuts to the exceedingly boring encyclopedia manufacturers to properly stimulate the educational growth of children'."
Father paused in his reading, and peeked over the rim of his book. Before him was the sight of his five, perfectly Delightful Children, all neatly and tightly tucked within their beds. The spreads of their sheets were crisp and unwrinkled despite the fact they shielded the children from the night's chill. Father noted their somewhat relaxed expressions and came to the conclusion that they had finally drifted off to sleep.
Seeing that they were asleep, he quickly skipped over a few pages. "They passed the bill, blah blah blah, school was increased to twenty-two hours a day and they lived financially secure ever after. The end," he finished, silently closing the book and rising from his seat. After pocketing his reading glasses, the adult wandered across the tidy room.
"Whew. They sure do go for the door stoppers," Father sighed as hefted the thick book, trying to find its place on the bookshelf.
The parental sovereign of all things adultly and evil only allowed his Delightful Children one bedtime story bi weekly, and they always made sure to cash in on it when the chance reared its head. He didn't mind. Even his children needed some form of motivation to do their chores. After finding the book's alphabetical spot on the bookshelf, Father briefly glanced over towards the children before making a beeline for the door.
However, he flinched, before turning to the source of the voice. In the bed nearest the wall, his second, blonde haired daughter laid awake, her cold blue eyes wide open and staring blankly ahead. Father frowned, rather displeased. He read them their bedtime story, what more did they need?
"What is it now, my Delightful daughter?" he asked sternly, pausing only to flick a look at his watch. "Story time is over and it's two and a half minutes past your bedtime! Why aren't you asleep?"
"I find myself uncomfortable," she stated. Her eyes wandered to the window, her brows knitting as her nose crinkled slightly. "There is a draft coming from the window that carries a most unpleasant smell."
Father gave a tired groan, but went over to investigate, nevertheless. "That's no excuse for you to – good lord!" he coughed as the aroma smacked him in the face, full force as he neared the window. Gracious, did a skunk go dumpster diving, die, then leave its rotting corpse on his property? Clenching his nostrils, the flame wielding man hastily snapped the window shut.
"Now that is just sick! What do I pay those gardeners for, to sit around and play ping-pong all day?"
As soon as the window had been closed, the girl noticed a definite lack of stink in the room. "Thank you, Father."
"Yes," he grumbled, shaking his hands as if they had been contaminated. "Now go to sleep, oh Delightful daughter of mine. I don't want to hear ANY whining tomorrow about how we didn't get to go to the National Registry of Long Winded Historical Names because SOMEBODY slept in late."
The tiniest of excited smiles graced the girl's features before she suppressed it. She mustn't let her anticipation keep her awake, or they would miss out on the greatest field trip ever! Her eyes fluttering shut, the Delightful child leaned back into her pillow, and began snoring in sync with her siblings once more.
Assured they were all out for the night, Father shook his head as he exited the room. "I spoil them, honestly I do," was all he muttered as he left them to their orderly dreams.
Unbeknownst to the departed adult and slumbering children, a stray figure appeared outside the recently closed window. A hand pressed against the glass as the assailant leaned in, eyes solely focused on the Delightful girl. The figure released a guttural sound as it pulled away, its hand having left a grotesque smudge upon the window pane.
It then fell into a crouch, hands frittering away in the dirt as its head snapped upwards, recognizing its brethren hanging off the rooftop of the manor. All of them only sat there in the dead of night, jittering and shifting away; patiently awaiting for whatever would call them to action.
"Now with them finally snoozing away, I can finally commence with my nightly routine!" Father uttered to himself, strutting down the hallways of his manor. The man stroked at his chin, his eyes ablaze as he concocted some diabolical scheme. "Hmm, you know, that storybook may have had something going there. I could begin a campaign to increase school hours, officially rid children of the 'weekend' and make them go to class the full seven days! That'll teach those hooligans to mess with my Sunday paper!"
While he was caught up in his plotting, Father halted mid-step as a strange scent filtered through the air. Just great, what crawled in his house and stunk it up now? Taking a good long whiff, he lifted his pits, brows furrowing. Had that smell from earlier rubbed off on him? That was just fantastic.
"I'll think more on that train of thought after a good ol' shower," he decided. New goal in mind, the adult headed off down the corridor to properly prepare. He went on his way, never looking back. So he never noticed the hunched figures slinking through his hallways.
They skittered across the floor, the only sounds being made coming from their staggered breaths and shuffling feet. The figures stalked towards the room Father had just left, amassing around the door in a hurried horde. One finally ventured forward, and pushed against the frame, the door creaking as it was slowly opened. There were the Delightful Children, all sleeping away, unaware of the danger.
The self-appointed leader wandered forth, ignoring the first four and loomed around the bed of the final Delightful girl.
A few short minutes later, Father reemerged from his room. Sporting a lavish bathrobe and shower cap, the adult villain let a faint whistle fall from his lips as he twirled around his luffa. He was on a set course for his own personal bathroom, and nothing would deter him from getting there. "A steaming hot wash is exactly what I need. Open up the pores, freshen up the body, and get the evil mojo flowing."
As his short walk neared its last stretch, Father couldn't help but notice that the odorous stench he faintly picked up earlier only seemed to intensify as he neared the bathroom. His face darkened, mind wandered, and the images he was conjuring up were not helping his mood at all. His steps became heavier as he continued, and soon it became less and less about taking a shower and more and more about discovering what smelled so goshdarn bad.
"I bet it's those mangy cats," he grumbled, jaded. "'Oh please Father? We shall take utmost responsibility for them'. My hindquarters! It's been TWO months and those pampered hairballs still think MY study is their litter-box!" He knew he would regret getting those pets.
Father stopped mid-rant as the clatter echoed through the hallway. In his surprise, his eyes glanced downwards, and that was when he saw the floor. Small, dark foot imprints were everywhere, like someone had tracked mud all over his carpet. In his growing discontent, the adult saw that out of all the random prints, one stray trail seemed to veer off, heading straight down the hallway.
Right to his personal lavatory.
Fists clenching and steam rising, he said nothing as he stomped closer to the door. His simmering rage doubled as the sounds of objects being tossed around grew louder and louder. Someone dared to break into his peaceful home, and now they had the gall to vandalize everything they touched? When he was finished with them, they wouldn't even be able to find the ashy remains.
At last, he reached his destination as he stopped right outside the washroom. His eyes narrowed into slits once he saw the door had been forced open and left ajar. He could hear the shifting going on right behind it.
What did he expect to find? Not even he was completely sure. But one thing he did know, was that whomever in there made the horrible, suicidal mistake of trespassing on his property.
"That's it," he hissed, hand nearly crushing the doorknob as he swung it open. But the scathing retort died on his tongue as he took in the extent of damage before him. He was just utterly dumbfounded! He didn't think it would be this bad.
His washroom, if you could even call it that anymore, had been reduced to a disaster area. His once spotless tiled floor was riddled with stains, scuff marks, and dried patches of mud. His marble sink and mirror had been coated in a awful, grimy substance, and his cabinet had been ripped from the wall itself, its contents strewn all over the room. His shaving cream, and cologne were everywhere. And his porcelain towels, the ones that hadn't been torn to shreds, had been stuffed into his toilet, causing it to overflow.
Father raised his foot as the water reached his heel; no words could properly place how disgusted he was. The place was a mess! Before he could think about the hardships of cleaning it all, a banging commotion near the shower caught his attention. And that's when he caught his first sight.
The culprit, a small figure not even half his height, was arched over his tub and relentlessly beating away at it with a towel bar it pulled off the wall. It paid no attention to the world beyond him, only centered on destroying the tub for whatever reason. Father briefly studied the trespasser's profile, and by its size, immediately deduced it carried the frame of a child. His mind hazed after that, his bath sponge burning away in his grip, forgotten in light of this situation. Having seen enough, Father rose his hand as it sizzled.
"You little brat!" he raged, his anger at the brink. A fireball of decent size formed, and the intruder had just noticed his presence far too late. "How dare you barge into my bathroom without KNOCKING!"
Not wasting a beat, Father lobbed the ball towards the child. It failed to act quick enough, and was hit dead on. The force of the flames knocked it off its feet, propelling it into the back wall. It left a deep indention before falling onto the floor. Once it landed, it never moved again. Its body was completely still as the dying fire flickered lightly over its clothing.
"Hmph, and they say I'm getting old," Father mused, lightly. He shook his hand to disperse his summoned power, and approached the body. His yellow eyes settled into a glare as it studied it. "Now what pit did you crawl out of…"
"Who the…?" Father spluttered, snapping back to the door. Those screams, they were from his Delightful Children. And their shouts of terror weren't even in unison. "What the heck is going on here!"
The low growl set Father on edge, and he turned around to focus on the body he assumed was down for good. But he was wrong. The moment he fully faced the being, it was already in mid-leap. It descended on the adult, its clawed glove raised for a fatal strike.
They won't be ignored any longer, and now, action must be taken. But stomaching the stench? That's not the hard part…
…it's getting clean.
kids next door mission