This is the story of two of my dear friends, who are no longer with us due to unfortunate circumstances. I was just a young boy when all of this happened. It seemed back then, going on adventures with my dog was all that mattered in life. Now, my life is too hectic and consequential for me to step my feet into such dangerous territory. Every day, I think back to those days and wonder what went wrong. How I can relive those days, I will never know, but hopefully, as I sit here at this desk and recollect these painful memories, maybe it will seem that now is just as good as then, if maybe a little bit better.
Exhibit A: Princess Bonnibel Bubblegum of the Candy Kingdom. Not your typical ruler, to be honest. Living in a world where everything is the result of science gone wrong, she seemed like she could morph the world into a better place from the ground up. I dedicated a small, but strong part of my life to winning her love. Granted, she was eighteen and I was thirteen, but I was optimistic. Her fate was met at a time in my life when I was far from mentally prepared for conflict. All of that conflict turned into madness when everything went horribly wrong.
Exhibit B: Marceline the Vampire Queen. A rebellious, yet caring vampire with a fierce dedication to everything going right. Also a potential love interest of mine, oddly enough. Despite her being more of a fighter than Princess Bubblegum, she surprisingly was met with a similar fate. Funnily enough, she was also a potential love interest of mine at the time.
I find it quite interesting to see what kind of predicaments I found myselves into with the opposite sex at that age. One the one hand, there was a princess made entirely out of candy that was too far old to be dating someone like me. On the other hand, we have ourselves a thousand-year-old punk rocker vampire with daddy issues. Just to make things weirder, the aforementioned daddy is pretty much the ultimate evil. Oh, the craziness I got myself into back then.
The two of them shared a secret that left me wondering, were all those teases toward me just for sick laughs, or am I the test subject for everyone else's sick laughs? From the insane ice wizard with a tragic origin, to my thirteenth birthday party involving a train murder mystery, I have a feeling something is not right. I have never considered it until this certain day in my life. It pains me unmercifully to recap it, but for the sake of coping with my problem, I will share it with whomever comes across this tragic tale.
It seems that in the years that have passed since this horrible incident, it has affected me greatly to the point where I have forgotten my own name. I still remember who I was, and all the people in my life, but I do not remember what my name was. I have gone by several names in place of my actual name, none of which do me any justice.
It all started on a warm summer morning ten years ago. I was staying over at Princess Bubblegum's castle to observe a lunar eclipse. Both of those girls were there that morning; I remember it too precisely. Normally, they would be acting like typical rivals, that in the end, were just normal friends that bickered like an old married couple. However, they seemed to act more like best friends who were very close that morning. Nothing out of the usual for me, or at least it did not seem like such.
The rest of the day progressed normally. Jake and I figured we would just be at home the rest of the day since we had gotten very little sleep that night. It came to my mind that Marceline would be sneaking around our treehouse, conveniently out of our sight. However, she was found easily that time, much to our surprise. Of all possible places to be hiding in a treehouse as spacious as the one we had those many moons ago, we found her hanging off the edge of a windowsill, grappling on with a few fingers from each hand. When she noticed me opening the window, she tried her best to escape, which despite typically being successfully furtive, it was in this specific case that we found the vampire queen squirming her body around, hesitating to let go of the windowsill. She sighed in defeat, and, in attempt to make casual conversation, she, nonchalantly and out of the blue, said, "Hey." She then referred to me by name. "How ya doin'?"
Upon receiving her acknowledgement, my reply was "Oh, you know. Pretty tired. You?" She grabbed ahold of the inner windowsill and pulled her entire body up into the treehouse where she could stand up. She made an announcement, which went, "Well, later today, Princess Bubblegum and I are planning on going for a picnic." I, being unaware of the privacy of this gathering, took interest in her announced plans. In response, I said, "Oh, cool. Where?" In my youth, I was a blissfully ignorant child who thouroughly believed that the world would simply come right to him.
"It's actually just gonna be the two of us. No one else is invited." I disappointedly replied with a reassurance of providing help. "Oh. Well, if you need anything, just give us a call. We'll be there as fast as you can say 'Shmowzow!'"
Marceline chuckled and said, "Alright. You two enjoy yourselves." She floated away, opposite from the direction of the sun, toward the Candy Kingdom. I went over to the sofa, sighed, sat down and nodded my head. I took a quick look at Jake. He was snoring loudly and saying stuff about Lady Rainicorn in his sleep. I could not help but think to say, "So peaceful."
I cleared my mind of all thoughts, relaxed, and drifted my mind away to another world. What I saw in my head was unusual. It was of PB and Marceline. The two were interacting normally at first, but slowly they took each other's hands and their image started to melt away in flames. Their voices cried out my name, along with some other cryptic messages of the damned, or would-be damned, I should say. The images were unpleasant, yet it marked the slow descent into madness that my life would become.
I awoke from my slumber, denying the haunting images of my subconscious. I looked back to Jake again, who was still peacefully resting. I then diverted my attention to BMO, who seemed to be of no concern at the moment. I got up from the sofa and poured myself some water. Chugging down every drop loudly and ferociously, I looked out the window and saw that the sun was starting to make its way down and the moon was just peeking out of the horizon.
The phone rang, and I answered. Who else could be on the other line but my good friend, Marceline? She uttered my name and continued, "Quick! We need you at the Candy Kingdom Courtyard! There's an emergency situation with your name written all over it." "Got it," I affirmatively shouted. I hung up the phone and prepared to be a hero for the day.
I readied my sword, which had just been freshly sharpened, and prepared to wake Jake up from his nap. After he slugged up off of the recliner, We dashed out of our treehouse on that warm summer's evening in the names of our good friends' lives. We made it there with all the time in the world to spare, yet none of it at the same time. To elaborate, We were there before anyone would have known it, but it seemed that the problem had been worsening as time unfolded further.
There they were, in each other's arms, with great fear on their faces. I directed my attention to them, signifying I was ready to do my adventurously heroic deed for the day. I said, "We're here! What's the prob?"
Too nervous for words, Princess Bubblegum pointed to what would become the ruiner of all of our lives. A man in a cloak levitated in the air, propelling fire in every direction, causing the earth to rumble at our feet, was the challenge I impulsively accepted. I prepared my ever-reliant sword, only for him to shoot a bullet of fire that I would conveniently deflect with my sword. Jake stretched his arm out, grabbing ahold of me with his enlarged hand, and lifted me airward in the direction of the cloaked figure. Just as I had prepared to slice his head clean off, he lowered his cloak's hood and gave me a piercing, traumatizing stare. I had seen everything I had done in my life up to that point, as well as some things that I had not yet seen or done. The images were enough to stop me dead in my tracks. It was because of the horrendous future that I had seen in this stare that I had dubbed the figure "our problem," our problem being Princess Bubblegum's, Marceline's, and my problem.
The figure that I had newly dubbed "Our problem," through some mysterious force, removed my sword from my hands and propelled it toward Marceline and Princess Bubblegum with great force. Thankfully, Jake, in the nick of time, knocked the projectile blade safely out of their way.
I looked toward our problem, angrier than I thought I could possibly ever be, and I shouted, "WHO ARE YOU, AND WHY DO YOU WANT TO HURT MY FRIENDS?" He gave a menacing chuckle and tossed me toward the ground very hardly. He then dropped to my level and spoke to me. Ironically, though, he spoke in a voice that sounded charming, like someone you can turn to in a time of need.
He said my name and title. "You are brave. You are willing. But you are not mature. Killing you isn't enough; you'll be gone and that's that. But finding what makes your life worth living makes killing you twice, nay, millions of times more thrilling. Besides, there's always the fear of retaliation from those who love you the most. Remove your hat."
I expressed confusion towards this command. "Huh?" As simple as it sounds, it was an effective reaction. Due to my neglect to remove my hat, he then removed it himself using his powers. He then said to me what was perhaps the oddest thing any villain had ever said to me. "You have such beautiful hair. Why do you hide it underneath this silly hat? I always wanted hair like this, but my boring old mother wanted me to get my hair cut."
I lay there on the ground as he gently placed my hat back on my head. He whispered to me, "You have been warned. Adios, mi hermano." I got up off of the ground and walked over to Princess Bubblegum and Marceline. I then asked both Marceline and Princess Bubblegum, "Are you alright?" Marceline then said, "Yeah," as Princess Bubblegum followed with a simple "It's alright." Marceline, confused as to just what was going on, asked me, "Who was that guy, anyway?" I replied, "I'm not sure. But he looked like... someone I know. Like... like he might have been human!"
In objection, Princess Bubblegum reasoned, mentioning me by name, "But you're the last human in all of the world. If you run into him again, make sure you get some of his DNA, that way we know for sure if he is or isn't human."
Jake, who was gone during this entire first encounter, turned out to have come back with a torn piece of our problem's cloak that he found in a nearby bush. "Did somebody ask for some DNA? I think there might be DNA on this."
He handed it to Princess Bubblegum as she observed it. She held it close to her face, felt the soft cloth with each finger, smelled it, and placed it down at her side as she came to reason, "Hmm... I've never seen anything like this. Must be a new-age artificial material for people who are allergic, or something like that. What's your verdict, Marceline?" Marceline then responded, "Eh. Beats me. All of my clothes I either find in the middle of nowhere, get from other people, or make myself. Heck, this jacket belonged to the wife of Mushroom War veteran. I just cleaned it and filled in some of the holes with some of my own stuff."
"Well, I'll try to see if I can get anything out of this. Thanks, Jake!" said Princess Bubblegum, eager to find out more about this incoming mystery. "Eh, I just scavenged through bushes and found a piece of cloth. But you're welcome, I guess," Jake modestly replied.
That night, I slept even less than I had the night before. I tossed and turned in that sleeping bag. The two women I adored most in my life would very like have their fate sealed in the hands of my own blood, and their respective blood even more likely so being on my hands. What if that was not my own blood? What if it was just part of the continuous stream of taking me for a gullible fool?
After an entire night with out sleep, the morning sun began to rise. However, I was already up, sitting at the table and sipping coffee nervously. Jake, who had just woken up, yawned and entered the kitchen, not expecting to see me. "Oh, hey." He said my name. "You're up earlier than usual."
I heard what he had said, but I was not listening. My mind was racing due to a combination of massive sleep deprivation and stress from this developing crisis in my life.
Jake turned on the stove and poured some stirred raw eggs into a piping hot skillet. He began to hum as the unborn fowl cooked from the inside and out, rendering what had potential to be a healthy, agile bird into quick, soon forgotten nutrition. It may have seemed like a major stretch, but I could not help but think that it was a parallel to my own life.
I had nothing to do at that time. I sighed. Despite the fact that it was somewhat early in the morning, I called Marceline to see if she was alright. To my dismay, she did not answer. I left a generic message saying to get back to me as soon as possible. It did absolutely nothing to relieve my fear. I then called Princess Bubblegum. She actually answered the phone, but was absolutely silent on her line, possibly due to someone in the castle talking to her. I sat there for close to fifteen minutes as I eavesdropped on her and what I believe was a royal Candy Guard's conversation. After fifteen minutes, I simply hung up and rested my face into my left hand's palm.
Breakfast was served. I tried to convince Jake that I was not hungry, but despite my efforts, he looked at me as if I had just been discharged from a mental asylum. "You alright?" he asked me as he said my name again. "You're normally chowing down by now. You want me to make you something else?"
I did my absolute best to convince him not to feed me. He constantly insisted that I eat. Eventually, I won the argument and he reluctantly agreed to my side, trying to convince me that I would have a "tummy ache" the rest of the day. To be honest, that would have felt like a slap on the wrist compared to what was going through my mind.
We left to find adventure, much like we always did in those days. An eagle-dragon swooped down toward the ground as we somersaulted out of the way. I took my sword out and jumped onto its back. It seemed triumphant and soothing at the same time. For once, I had time to relax and do what I wanted to do most. Just as I had it in a headlock, I then remembered the dilemma I so desperately wanted to avoid. It nearly knocked me off of its head, but I held on with my hand, ready to cut into it at any second.
A voice then shouted, "That's enough, Gilda!" I could recognize from the voice that that was the same cloaked figure from the day before, except this time, he was wearing much more civilian clothing, which amongst this was a long-sleeve white collar shirt, a sweater-vest, a long scarf, black jeans, some very fancy black shoes, and a pair of glasses. His hair was combed to the side stylishly, which, had I not known whom he was, I could easily have been seduced by his powers and turned to the side of evil.
"Hello," he then said my name in a calm, almost menacing manner. "Miss me?" I faced this situation with a humble, yet back-breaking question. "What do you want from me?"
"Me? Why, I want nothing from you. It's your friends that have everything I want. I promise, I'll leave you alone, just as long as you surrender your friends to me." He said this in a way that only brain-dead people would be persuaded. I brilliantly pointed out his unconvincing argument. "I may be a kid, but I wasn't born yesterday!"
He scoffed. "If you want your friends to live, you must prove that you have given all to give. Find what is worth losing and must be lost, an answer you may find buried in frost." The riddle confused me. "What the hypotenuse is that boogly-shmoob?" I said, using the weird mathematical lingo I was overly obsessed with in my youth.
"Eh. I just wanted to rhyme." How odd it was that one day he is a grimacing figure of death, yet the next day he is a confused, yet sharp-dressed prankster. "So... buried in frost... does that mean what I think it does?" After I had said this, he replied, "Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't." He was insane, but quite frankly, I was desperate. He tossed the long end of his scarf around the other side of his neck and hopped on his eagle-dragon into the horizon. I directed my attention towards Jake.
"Jake, we gotta go the Ice Kingdom." Jake silently affirmed to this command with an attentive jerking nod, and we were off. Some time later, we were there, in the Ice Kingdom, known for having snow and penguins everywhere and having a castle where the Ice King secretly planned to kidnap princesses. Technically, it was not really a secret, we saw him do it all the time, and we had to stop him. We searched, and we searched, for hours for clues toward keeping Princess Bubblegum and Marceline alive. After three hours of searching, which partially involved sneaking around Ice King's castle, we found a note, which, to our disappointment, contained a very anticlimactic message.
"You really thought I was serious? I'm probably the most dangerous force in all of Ooo, right up there with the Lich! You're so childish and desperate! I laugh in your general direction. Ha ha ha. Anyway, your friends are doomed. Ta ta. -Tu hermano."
I looked at the note and uneasily stated, "This isn't good." Little did I know how much of an understatement that was. Jake caught up to my position, turned towards me, and said, "What is it?" "We can't do anything to protect Princess Bubblegum or Marceline. Unless..." I thought of a plan that seemed brilliant at the time, a plan that usually worked when it was executed. "We gotta split up! You make sure Marceline's okay, and I'll guard Princess Bubblegum! It's gotta work! It has to!" Jake laid his face into both of his palms in exasperation. "Finn, I normaly don't mind almost getting myself killed, but this guy's serious business. Like a hundred Candy People died yesterday because of him, and nobody, not even the police force, the military, could do anything about it. Plus, I had plans with Lady today."
I anxiously yelled, "You sure you can't just cancel? I mean, this is a life-or-death situation! He makes sure Princess Bubblegum and Marceline are dead, then he makes sure I'm dead... we can't just have a wait-and-see attitude! If we do, then we'll wait too long, and we'll see bad things happen!"
Jake tried to reason, "Ever thought, you know, he's just a crazy guy who doesn't know what he's doing?" Annoyed, I replied, "Jake! You have to trust me! I can't risk horrible things happening because of you!" I started to get angry. "Is that the way you wanted to be remembered? A dog too scared to face a real challenge? So afraid, that he let two people die because of it? And then his best friend? Is that what you want?"
Jake raised his voice angrily, and told me, starting with stating my name, "It's no big deal! Just calm down, I'll make sure that something happens. Just don't worry. In fact, I don't have to be anywhere until sunset, and it's not even noon yet. If it means that much to you, I'll try to find a way to cut my date short, just for you."
I felt a heartwarming sense of loyalty that, despite hopeless circumstances, brought me to believe that anything was possible. Jake and I had then parted over to our given coordinates, myself going to the Candy Kingdom. Conviently enough, Princess Bubblegum had some information I was looking forward to.
She referred to me by name excitedly. "What brings you here?" I exhaustedly, but ancticipatedly, informed her, "Princess, you're in danger. You and Marceline, actually." "Oh?" Surprised as she was, she looked like she was holding something back.
"Remember that guy in the cloak from yesterday? The one that tried to kill you?" Oddly, she remembered it as if it was just something typical. "Oh yes, we all remember that." I pulled out the snow-covered piece of paper from my backpack. "Well, you might want to look at this."
She observed the piece of paper for a few seconds with a look of bewilderment. She then gave a response that seemed to express disbelief. "Yeah, I don't think he's anything to worry about. It's one thing to be evil, but to compare yourself to the Lich is just desperate. And for him to call you childish and desperate, then leave a note in the snow that just basically says 'ha ha ha' and vaguely threatens you and your friends, that's just pathetic. I wouldn't worry about it. Besides, I have some stuff on him that may surprise you."
She uncovered a whiteboard, as if she was preparing for this situation the whole time, and it showed equations, diagrams, maps of the solar system, genetic codings, and many other things crammed into one space. "You see, I've matched up the DNA from the piece of fabric Jake gave me with your DNA. While at first it seems similar, eventually it starts to differ greatly to the point where there is a DNA pattern not found anywhere in Ooo. It is, wait for it... alien life form!"
"Huh?" Aliens are just something you never hear about. But I could tell by the look on Princess Bubblegum's face that she was full of glee. She had never made a discovery in her life that was quite like this. "But he's my brother, right?" I wanted to know that before anything else got serious.
"Well, you see..." just as she said this, our problem crashed down through the ceiling on his eagle-dragon, still dressed sharply as he was earlier. I unsheathed my sword as he just stood there, menacingly. "What? I just came here to say hi! Lovely weather we're having, mi hermano!" Why he kept using those words, I'll never know.
Princess Bubblegum put her hand on my shoulder, so as to remind me of something. She whispered. "Finn, he's not doing anything. Drop your weapon, and we might finally debunk this case." I followed her order and laid my sword out of our reach. He looked at his wrist as if he was wearing a watch, and then looked back up.
"Love is in the air." He said this like it was the most obvious thing in the universe. Princess Bubblegum and I were silently confused. That silence was broken when she said, "What ever do you mean?"
He was coy as ever, almost respectable. "Ever since I came to Ooo in search of my real family, I realized that this planet has much more true love. On my planet, when we mate, we do it for the sake of our race continuing existence, which is a shame, because somewhere, I've got kids, freely roaming around, going on about their lives without me. But here, it doesn't stop there. No, it goes on and on and on, like I always believed it to have."
She whispered again. "See what I mean? He's just desperate." I answered, "No, he's just going on about nothing to confuse us." I grew angrier. He approached both of us. He directed his attention towards me, making sure my name was said.
"So... who do you love? Why do you love them? Be honest now, both of you." I was nervous to answer this question. I held my sword to his chin and started to exert force. "Why so serious?"
I did not feel easy to confess my love for Princess Bubblegum to this problem of ours. PB looked toward me and said, referring to me by name, "You don't have to hide it any longer. I won't hide it any longer, either. Do it for the sake of both of us." I dropped my weapon, took a deep breath, and exhaled. "Princess... I love you. I know that there isn't much of a chance between the two of us, but-"
She interrupted with my name. "I understand. But for me, there is another. Someone unlikely, someone different, yet someone rewarding. But you are not that person." I was not really surprised, but I was willing to face facts.
"Well, then, who is he?" I hoped for the sake of our survival that she would answer. Princess Bubblegum got nervous about answering.
"Well... turns out... he is... well..." She sighed and referred to me by name. "I am in love with another woman. That is, our friend Marceline. It pains me to say this, and I hope you're not mad." She said this with much uneasiness, trembling as she began to say it, and letting it all out as she got used to saying it.
Our problem gave a look of intrigue upon her confession. He twiddled his chin, played with his scarf, and drew close to both of us. "Now doesn't that feel better? We've all got dirty little secrets, and keeping secrets just doesn't seem fair, does it?" Princess Bubblegum, about to break into tears, screamed, "SOME SECRETS ARE MEANT TO BE KEPT!" Our problem grabbed her by the throat and gave that glowing look again. However, PB was wise to keep her eyes closed. I made the stupid mistake of further exposing myself to that stare. The stare was almost romantic, almost as if it understood me, but did not respect me. The stare wanted to make love to me, but it did not want to enjoy making love to me. The stare wanted to grow old with me and make sure we bore plenty of kids, but it would have had several affairs in the years that passed and treat it as if it was normal behavior, but would beat me over the head if I had as much as one affair. It was a very fast, and easily missable stare that I could not help but observe every last microsecond of its wonderful, yet agonizing glow.
He dropped Princess Bubblegum, who then quivered in fear as our problem started started sneaking up on me. He attempted to give a brotherly gesture of affection, a simple hand over the shoulder. I asked him the all-important question. "Are you my brother?" He smiled and stood proudly. He hesitated for about three seconds with great infliction and simply replied, "A brother... what is a brother? A brother is but one branch off of another on a theoretical tree. That one branch branches off from many other branches that branch off of other branches. If those branches were to be traced far back enough, seemingly incongruous branches would seem to fall right into place." I quietly replied, "So... is that a yes or a no?"
In the blink of an eye, he was gone. From a flash of smoke came another piece of paper with the absolute answer to this mind-tangling question. To this day, I have never shared the answer with anyone. Not those two girls that are no longer with us, not my good canine friend Jake, not all my current friends nor the friends before them, not the mental inmates that I was forced to call my friends nor the staff of that facility, the women I have used to fill this void, nobody. You are certainly not going to know the answer. This secret goes to my grave. If you ever, EVER, try to get the secret from me, there will be consequences. If you do, somehow, obtain this secret, you are coming to the grave with me.
Oh, where was I? Oh yeah. Princess Bubblegum, brought to tears by her confession, was face-down on the ground, avoiding me, despite my attempts to reconcile. "Princess... I didn't know..." She then looked at me and yelled, "Shut up!" She then referred to me by name. "I didn't want you to know about this! Just go away! I don't want to see you!" I sadly left the room and quietly sat outside of the castle. I left afterwards and headed to Marceline's hut, where I hoped to find Jake. After I had found myself there, it seemed I was already too late.
I headed inside, weapon brandished, and found Marceline, in her monster form, holding our problem at his neck against the wall. I then took shelter in a nearby closet as he chuckled and asked her, "Just tell me. Is it true?" She angrily yelled to him, "It's none of your business!" She then picked up her axe-guitar and held it back. "Easy, killer. You know who I am." Marceline paused. She hurled it towards him, aiming to chop at him, but he transformed his body to avoid the blow of the axe-guitar. She screamed, "Killer? You tried to kill me first!" He floated up off of the wall and took his scarf off, throwing it over Marceline's face. She then removed the scarf and tossed it aside lightly. Our problem then relaxed the toen of his voice and said, "Lighten up, we're all friends here. After all, he's watching." Marceline gave a look of confusion, which led her to ask, "Who's watching?" He cleared his throat and magically levitated his scarf back onto his neck, adjusting it to about equal length on each side. "You know who I'm talking about. He already knows." Marceline dropped her axe-guitar. "I'm still not following." He gleefully sighed and floated over to the couch, where he magically took his shoes off and propped his feet onto the coffee table. He then made a glass of iced tea magically appear, and brought it to his mouth where he took light sips of it.
"Who else? Your little kid friend. Just ran into him at Candy Castle. Made your girlfriend reveal her dirty little secret right in front of his face." He then gulped down a gratuitous amount of tea and held back a belch. He then made more tea magically appear. "I'd be careful if I were you. After all, the kid's probably right in this room, listening to our conversation." I then started to breathe heavily and was sweating furiously. Next thing I knew, our problem opened the closet door, which then led to me covering my head in fear. "Huh, what do you know? I was right. Well, my work here is done." He then finished the glass of iced tea in one gulp and magically teleported out of the room.
Marceline took notice of me, referring to me by name. "Is that you?" I was shivering, refusing to look up. She said my name in a calm manner. "It's alright. I'm not mad. I didn't expect you to know about this, but you're my friend, and friends don't keep secrets like this." I then looked up to her, as she put her hand behind my neck, and I started to slowly, but surely calm down. After saying my name, she cheerily reassured me, "If there's anything you want to know, ask me." She smiled as I pondered what to ask her. "How long have you and Princess Bubblegum... you know?" She started to levitate and pulled me up with her.
"Funny you should ask. We actually really didn't like each other until you got us to know each other better. After that, we became good friends. And well... considering how lonely both of our lives were with no one else around, we figured 'why not.' It was weird at first, but we began to like it. And then we began to love it. Oh... I just feel so... so... oh, just thinking about it right now."
I began to feel a weird sensation as she talked about all this. I was giving a weird smile as she said all this. Being the civil person I was and still am, I just simply sat there. She then said, "You okay? You wanna know anything else?" I thought for a few seconds. Curiosity got the best of me as I innocently and quietly said, "I want to know everything..." Marceline gave a weird chuckle. "Oh, maybe when you're older." Being the kid I was, I did not give up that easily. "But you said friends don't keep secrets..." Marceline looked off to the side and tried to think of a reasonable lie. "Hmm... Don't think of it as a secret. Think of it as... a puzzle. You have all the pieces right in front of you, and you should be able to put them together." I laughed.
"Wow, that was the worst analogy I've ever heard," I said bluntly. We laughed a little. However, that comedy turned into tragedy not long afterwards, with Marceline stating, "Alright. That guy is a total pain. I'm worried that he might do something to us." She then said my name, and beckoned, "You have to protect us. You have to make sure that we never have to deal with him again. Although my heart does not belong to you, my honor is in your hands. Don't mess this up."
I smiled and gave her a platonic, endearing hug. She then said my name and "In case things don't turn out right... I have something I want to give you." I looked and said, "What is it?" She took my hand. "Well, you can consider this your coming of age. I figured that this... welll..." She brought her lips upon mine. Our tongues began to poke at each other and rub side by side. It was wonderful. It went on for at least ten minutes. I had never felt so gratified in my life than I had then. When she had finished, she slowly pulled her head back and quietly said, "That's what an adult kiss feels like. That's what Princess Bubblegum and I share. Since you wanted to know so badly, I figured I'd let you know what it feels like. But that doesn't mean I love you. Hopefully, you'll get to experience that again one day, with another beautiful girl."
I reclined on her couch and began to stare at the ceiling. "Well, thanks Marceline, I guess." She smiled. "You're welcome." I then got up and headed towards the door. "Well, I'm off. Call me if you need anything." She waved and said, "Don't think I've forgotten."
I left the hut. All that stress, it seemed, was gone. All seemed well. I thought for sure that those girls would be alright. For the first time in a while, I slept incredibly comfortably at night. I was no longer having the horrifying dreams. My appetite was regained. I was ready to take on the world, almost as if I would save the day as usual. I was in such a good mood that next morning. I walked outside, and in my mailbox I received another letter from our problem. It seemed incredibly apologetic, almost as if he wanted to form a pact. It read:
"Mi hermano, I would like to apologize for all I have put you through. It wasn't right of me to let that secret slip, but now you know who I am, and I have realized the err of my ways. Now, we can forget all about this. Meet me at Tree Trunks' house at noon. I have a surprise for you. It's to die for. -Tu hermano"
Jake looked upon the letter and said, "Huh. Looks like the weird guy wants to end this whole debacle. I'm not exactly buying it." Me being the optimistic young kid... you know what, you get it by now, I was gullible. "But he said to meet us at Tree Trunks's place! And where there's Tree Trunks, there's pie! PIE PIE PIE!"
"Well, yeah, but-" Here is where the "regret" part starts to kick in. It seems I just wanted free food, regardless of what strange methods of getting me to the food pursued. Well, Jake and I made our way there, despite Jake's reluctance, and we walked into the cabin. Everything seemed normal. On the table was a tray of freshly baked apple pies. They smelled so delicious. Right there and then was our problem, this time, dressed differently, in a dark grey golf shirt with a long sleeve black t-shirt underneath, and if I remember correctly, khakis and some worn-out boots. Of course, he was wearing the scarf again. This time, he was wearing very pronounced sunglasses.
"Hello, mi hermano. What brings you here?" I was eager to answer, and I did, "Well, you sent me this letter, and-" he crossed his arms and said, "Stop, stop, shut up. I know that." I tried to reason. "You said you wanted to end this whole thing? He scoffed. "Well, you could say that." I looked upon him befuddledly. He took his scarf off of his neck and laid it into both of his hands. "Take this. I don't need it anymore. Keep it as a momento of this time in your life." I took the scarf and put it around my own neck. I looked down and said, "Hey, I'm kind of digging this. Thanks!" "Oh, that's not all. You see, your friends are actually right here, waiting for you."
I looked around and I did not see a glimpse of anyone besides our problem, Jake, and me. I looked back at our problem and asked, "What do you mean?" He used his magic finger and opened a closet. What laid behind that closet was something terrible. It was none other than Marceline and Princess Bubblegum, tied back-to-back and muffled with tape. They looked at me in anguish, in desperate hope of rescue. "Your friends here are tied together in a position where they cannot escape. Jake, I'm going to ask that you leave the room." Jake reluctantly left the room due to fear of being killed mercilessly. "Now, you're just a 13-year-old boy, you're not all that strong. When I count down from 10, I will set this house ablaze, and you must manually remove both of them from the premises before the house is completely destroyed. If you do not succeed, all three of you will die. Here's the catch: they are tied together with a rope that is incredibly flammable and is impossible to break apart by hand. They are also tied in a way that the force exerted upon one person's side of the rope is equal to the other person's is felt upon by the other one, that is, what one feels, the other one feels just as much. It is a magical rope that prevents them from using any type of special power, so Marceline cannot transform, for instance. Do I need to repeat any of that?"
I bravely challenge him, with a look of great bravado. "No. I'm ready for your little challenge. Do it." He scoffed. "Fine. If you say so." He then counted down from 10, and in the blink of an eye, the hut was starting to burn from the ground up. I conjured all the strength I had and was able to lift from Princess Bubblegum's end, just barely able to get her a few inches off of the ground. It was strenuous, but I could do it. The temperature of the house was slowly increasing due to the flames. After much heavy lifting, she was over my shoulder. Marceline was able to pull herself up a little more, but I still had to do a little bit of carrying. I got exhausted and had to rest for a few seconds. They started screaming in desperation, telling me not to hesitate. Slowly, with my one straining arm, I was able to help Marceline pull herself up. The hard part was making sure I could keep both of them up as I made my way out of the scorching shelter. I started tiptoeing, but this did not please them, leading to much kicking and screaming. I conjured my inner strength, and I kicked down a burning door, finally being able to carry them to safety out of the house, slowly, but surely. I laid them down gently and threw myself to the ground, panting and groaning, due to a combination of exhaustion from exertion of so much physical strength and due to the burning I was feeling from ash and burning debris landing on me as I performed this heroic deed.
Jake, who had conveniently been hanging out behind a rock the whole time, transformed his arm into a pair of scissors and conveniently cut the rope off of the two of them carefully. He then removed the tape from their mouths, which, although they expressed discomfort from this, they were glad nonetheless to be alive. I pulled myself off of the ground and received a congratulatory group hug from the two of them, which only made me want to fall back down to the ground. Our problem blinked back into reality, and shouted loudly, "NO! NO! NO! NOOOOOO! There's no way that a kid like you could do something like that! Oh, trust me, that was just a test. This next one won't be so easy to do. Follow me, all of you."
We followed the man of malice to a cliff beside a local river. The river was clear and crisp, and was visibly very deep. "Alright. No way you're getting out of this. Dog, stay." He froze Jake right there and then to make sure his stretch powers were of no convenience. "Ladies." Through the means of magic, a rope was tried to Marceline and Princess Bubblegum's legs that met at a heavy cinderblock. He agitatedly explained, "As you can see, there is a heavy weight connected by a rope to these two fine ladies' legs. I will place them at the bottom of this river and you must jump in and get them to safety. Any questions?" I tried to think. "Well..." He interjected, "WELL, TOO BAD!" He used his magic powers to drop them toward the bottom of the river, where they were stuck until I could rescue them. "They've got about three minutes of oxygen. You got lucky last time, but this time for sure, we'll see who's the hero." I tried to slice him with my sword, but he disappeared before I could see him. I jumped into the river with my sword and paddled down towards the bottom of the river. The two of them were struggling, jerking, clenching, just hoping they would get to safety. I pulled the cinderblock up by the hole and swam towards the shore, dragging the two of them in place with the block. I constantly feared that we would not make it to shore in time. Thankfully, mere seconds before three minutes were over, we found ourselves at a shallow part of the water, where there the two of them could simply stand up on their own. They were both gasping for air furiously, as Marceline reassured to Princess Bubblegum, "It's gonna be alright. He saved us again."
Our problem was even more furious with this heroism. "You're really starting to make me angry. This time, there will be no survivors!" He unfroze Jake, who then quickly quipped, "Oh you- hey... what happened?" Our problem held Jake up by levitational force. "Dog, I need you for this task." Jake, annoyed, asked, "What?"
"Here's what I need you to do. Take your hand, make it big enough to hold all three of these people, and stretch your hand high enough to where they are ridiculously high up off of the ground, and then, I want you to drop them all to their deaths." Jake grabbed our problem by his collar. "Never! You can't make me hurt my friends! You think you're almighty and fearless, but really, you're just a lonely, desperate troublemaker with a sick, twisted sense of thrill! You make me sick..." Our problem was able to magically change his clothes back into the cloak he was wearing when we first saw him. "So that's how it is. I see." For the first time in Jake's life, his powers were being controlled by someone else. He tried as he might to resist the control of our problem, but he simply could not hold back the control. "No! No! Guys... I'm sorry! Please, don't let this guy try to do this to you! We're friends, and we're gonna fight this menace together!"
Marceline, Princess Bubblegum, and I then quickly evaded Jake's hand and attempted to tackle our problem and stop him once and for all. Sadly, he was too powerful for us to stop, and he cast a spell on us that paralyzed us. We are all unable to escape from our problem's wrath as Jake's possessed hand snatched all of us. We were rising to the sky at an incredibly sickening rate. We were all panicing. We all wanted to go home. The view of Ooo from a mile and a half up was incredible, yet at the same time, it was incredibly frightening. Despite our paralysis, we could feel the tension as Jake was unwillingly forced to let go of us as we were in the sky. I could not move a muscle the whole time I was falling. However, I noticed between Marceline and Princess Bubblegum that their love was unstoppable, something that no evil, no sorcery, no witchcraft or demonic possession could ever break or tear apart. As they descended upon the Earth, they took each other's hands, and slowly, they began to put their arms around each other, in a loving embracement as they shared one final kiss before their unfortunate demise. It was sweet, however it was oh, so short.
That fateful moment that I dread to remember, the moment I have been so scared of just to recollect, it was there and then that I was no longer a boy, but a mature young man who had seen his whole life crash right in front of his eyes. Those two girls had fallen and hit the ground and were mangled, bruised, and bloody, yet even in death, they were still together as one. Their love for each other was undying, for they shared tenderness, even as their life had left their bodies. I watched in terror as they breathed their last breaths. Despite the agony they were in, they were in each other's arms in tenderness and laughter. The laughter they shared just made that moment worse. Have you ever heard someone dry heave? Well imagine someone dry heaving loving laughter, with the dry heaving being life leaving the body. Much like our problem's glaring, traumatizing stare, this was something I dared not avert my attention away from. Before I knew it, they had departed from our earthly realm. Despite it being the most horrifying sight I had ever seen, it was the most heartwarming sight I had ever seen. For two people to truly love each other through thick and thin, even in circumstances like these two girls, is proof that this planet is worth living on, even if it is a post-apocalyptic nuclear wasteland.
I held back some manly tears as I gasped, and soon I shouted, "NOOOOOOO!" I banged my fist at the ground, and then both of my fists. I removed my hat in respect and held it over my chest. It was then that our problem's comment about my hair did not seem so creepy after all. My long, blond, flowing hair is a sign of beauty, despite how wild and unmanaged it is. After all, this, despite being a terrible sight for me to lay eyes upon, is beauty in its most macabre form. This world I inhabit, despite all its lush, colorful scenery, is all the result of nuclear waste genetically mutating all kinds of things into oddities of my world. It all began to make sense.
I stared down upon the lifeless remains of two wonderful women in my life. I gave a light kiss on the cheek to both of their lifeless bodies and whispered, "Good night, sweet princesses." Tears streamed down my face as I put my hands together as if to pray. It was hard keeping my eyes off of them.
I held the two of them, still in each other's arms, in my own arms, in a pose of pity and regret. I remember seeing a statue from ancient times of a woman whose son, who supposedly was a great religious leader, was recently killed as a martyr, and she embraced his dead body gracefully. I could not help but find so many parallels between my life and that statue. However, it seemed to go so much deeper. It's almost as if it is a graceful embracement within a graceful embracement. This made me recall watching a film from ancient times involving a man who went into people's dreams and stole memories, and even went into dreams inside of those dreams, and I believe he also may have gone into a dream within a dream, within a dream. Humorously, I could even see a cosmic sort of parallel between that and the current situation I was in.
I apologize, I was getting sidetracked. Our problem appeared over my shoulder. He tried to cheer me up, but I could tell that it was all another step in his multi-step plot to royally mess with me. "I'm so sorry for your loss. After all, you'll never find two girls quite like those ever again." I angrily stared him down. He smiled and scoffed. "Tell you what, you get one free punch for all this madness." I did much more than punch him. I laid my dirty, bloody hands around his neck and began to strangle him. For the first time since I met him, he unmistakably kept his word. He simply took my punishment with grace. The squeezing of my hands upon his throat seemed to please him almost as much as it pleased me. I squeezed and squeezed until he appeared to pass out. I pulled out my sword and held it high above my head, ready to drive it into his skull. He got himself up off of the ground and coyly said, "Whoa there, slow down! I said one free punch, not one free kill! Jeez."
Our problem was, at this point, a figure to fear. He took the lives of two of my best friends, and for that he will forever be shunned. He did, however, try his hardest to please me. "Hey, mi hermano, guess what? I have the power to bring people back from the dead!" I had one last moment of gullibility before I truly matured. He lay my head on his shoulder as I cried. I then cried for a few seconds before I rose my head and looked toward him. "You do?" He pat my back reassuringly and replied, "Well I do... BUT I DON'T FEEL LIKE USING IT! HA HA HA HA HA!" I only wanted to cry more, and considering I was powerless to kill him, I found myself pathetically crying on the villain's shoulder as he tapped my back calmly. "Mi hermano... don't think of this as heartless killing. Think of it as coming of age." I then began to recollect what Marceline had said when she had me experience manhood. Coming of age involves many things. It involves knowledge of love, sex, death, all the problems in the world, and whatever else has us embrace adulthood. I truly experienced the love adults share when Marceline had kissed me. When our problem did this unspeakable act, he had me experience what it is like to lose someone you truly love. In a cosmic sort of way, he actually did a good thing.
I never saw our problem again for a long time. I remember Jake, just as our problem departed, came to me and said something along the lines of "I didn't kill them, honest! We're still pals, right? We're still bros?" I couldn't cry anymore. All the thoughts of sadness turned into my brain being unable to comprehend what went on. I just lay there in blank silence, with my mouth wide open. Jake tried to reemburse me with ice cream. "Hey buddy, let's go get some ice cream. I don't know if it'll cheer you up, but every time I feel down, I just get myself a cone and lick 'til the creamy goodness has been had." As I was coming of age, I now just started to realize what all those weird things Jake said started to mean. I felt disgusted hearing those words come out of his mouth. It made me never want to eat ice cream again. To be honest, I did not anything for weeks after Marceline and PB died. That's where things really get ugly.
The night after it happened, my dreams were even worse than before. The dreams consisted of the two of them falling to the ground and splattering nonstop, and having to look at their unsettling corpses for what felt like an eternity. The first time it happened, I woke up screaming in the middle of the night. I screamed for many minutes, and Jake tried to hold me down in place and muffle my screams. After that, I breathed heavily. Poor Jake, singing Mom's lullaby to me like I was a little kid again. I whimpered, then crying myself back to sleep. When I had woke up that morning, it was like I had lost knowledge of how to properly do anything. For some time, this meant Jake had to feed me himself, and bathe me himself, and other things. It just is not pleasant having to learn how to do basic things all over again. Once all this was over and I could feel my body again, I shook my head and began to talk again. Learning to talk again was incredibly hard, and embarrassing. Jake was basically baby-sitting me 24/7, which I honestly feel bad for making him do.
After a few months of mental rehabilitation, I was put back into society. It still felt the same. It still looked the same, and sounded the same, and everything else, but I just did not feel like I belonged there. I felt like I was a raisin in a bag of nuts and candies. I still communicated with people like I normally did. I still adventured like I used to. However, it turns out that I was suffering from manic depression. I still remember meeting with Doctor Princess and having her scan my brain, scary as that was. It turns out I was also developing schizophrenia. I knew this was true, because I pretended to communicate with Marceline and PB as if they were still alive, even when I was all alone. I would do things like tell Jake, "But I have plans with Marceline today!" and I would pretend to talk to the dial tone on the phone as if it was her. Doctor Princess prescribed me with some medication and checked me into one of Ooo's mental facilities. How I wish I could forget that.
I still remember how wrong the mental institution felt. It was so uniform, so plain, so enforced, that it felt like adding salt to the wounds left from the scarring incident. Sitting in that soft, cushiony room, my arms bounded in a straitjacket, while I pounded my head against the padded walls as I said things along the lines of "Yes Princess, I'm here to save you. Hey Marceline, I totally get coming of age now." in a quiet and creepy monotone. I slowly recovered from this state of mind, with Jake and Lady Rainicorn, and sometimes Lumpy Space Princess or Tree Trunks, proudly visiting me at least two or three times a week, bringing me all kinds of little things for me to cope with the loss. None of them could fill the void left in my heart. One day, I went off of my medication and starting yelling and cursing out the staff. How bad of a mistake that was. The staff held me down against my will, pulled down my pants, and injected me with a weird fluid that sedated me. I loved the feeling it gave me to the point where I attempted to request they give it to me daily, to no success. I thought it would be clever to try sneaking it out of the supply room and injecting it myself. It turned out, one day, they caught me doing it and made me sit in the cushiony room for hours. Did I mention that the facilities did not allow hats to be worn? My hat symbolizes who I am. People see me wearing the weird white thing with the bear ears and they say, "Yup, that's him alright!" I felt naked without my hat, even though I love my hair, I just feel uneasy letting it be seen, for it can be intrusive. The worst part is, they cut my hair before my stay began. It was not that I had never had my hair that short before, such as the time I gave my hair to a witch because she wanted to be beautiful, but I felt even more naked having my hair reduced to such bland normality. Thankfully, it has grown back since, but I still remember losing the long, lustrous curls I had. I can go on forever about my stay in the facilities, but when they were over and I was once again reintegrated into society, I began to accept the new life I had been assigned.
Every day I waited for our problem to show up again so I could tell him that maybe he was not so bad after all. Sadly, he never came. If I ever saw him again, I would proudly invite him for a picnic, or maybe a game of chess or something. I waited patiently for him for a long time, but I guess he just did not want to be too much of a burden on my life. The day finally came when the funeral for Marceline and Princess Bubblegum was held. Despite the fact I had regained my sanity and had grown to accept their loss, I remember being at their funeral and just feeling like I did not want to live in a world without them. It was somewhat adorable, however, for them to be buried in the same casket together. From what I remember, some text messages, voicemail, snail-mail, and birthday and holiday cards were leaked to the public, and their relationship became public posthumously. Just seeing them, dressed in black, with Princess Bubblegum's arm lovingly latched over Marceline's shoulder made me try my hardest not to remember that fateful day. I remember many people speaking at the funeral, saying all kinds of things. Everyone wanted me to say some things about them. I really did not want to do such a thing due to all I had been through because of their deaths, but in respect for the dead, I figured there was no other option. It appears the people arranging the funeral had it all planned out, and figured I would be there, so they were basically saving the best for last, as my speech, which was, incidentally, the very last speech, was perhaps the most heartfelt thing I had ever said to anyone, with practically the whole crowd hooping and hollering over what I had said. However, I ended it on a happy note, saying that they were some of the finest people ever graced upon our world, and we should be thankful that they were around at some point or another. I remember there being catered food afterwards, but that is not the point I am trying to make. The point is, I had fully adjusted to the situation for the forseeable future. All was well once more, and I could go on living.
The third bout of dreams were perhaps the most spiritual, and thankfully the least unsettling. Instead of their images burning and melting away or being forced to watch them die repeatedly, it seemed instead as if I was talking to them from beyond the grave. Even though it was not real, it seemed as if I was closer to them than ever. Some things said were pleasant, others felt like total guilt trips. I still remember a dream where they asked me why I have pardoned our problem for what he did, and despite my reasoning, they enforced that I seek revenge. These dreams were perhaps the most comfort I had ever had with my own mind. I rued waking up in the morning, not being able to talk to them anymore, having to go on with the sad reality of them being gone. One night, however, I did not dream about the two of them at all. Instead, it seemed like a typical dream I would have before any of this crap happened. I woke up confused. I asked myself, "Why aren't they in my dreams anymore?" I assumed this to be just a technical difficulty with my brain and went back to sleep. To my disappointment, it was just a typical dream once more. Every single night I went to sleep, I woke up depressed, but not depressed in a manic way, depressed in a "Oh, so that's how it is" way. No more of those wonderful dreams where I was with them again. I wanted to be able to have these dreams again. Instead, I tried the next best thing.
For the first time, I visited their grave. The headstone was that of the Royal Candy Kingdom. It was something along the lines of "Here Lies Our Fair Princess Bubblegum And Her Lover, Marceline The Vampire Queen." I smiled and embraced the headstone. I stared at the ground and muttered, "I'm back. Did you miss me?" At the time in my life where all was right again and I had thankfully moved on to better things, it seemed that I was losing control once more. I once sat at their grave for days on end, talking to thin air as if they were in the graveyard themslves, much to the annoyance of the groundskeeper. Eventually, the new princess of the Candy Kingdom, whom I believe was called Princess Taffy, although my memory is a little fuzzy on that detail, came to me and referred to me by name. "I know you miss her. I know you loved her. I know I'm not the same, but... if you want to..." I stayed in the spot I was in and angrily yelled, "NO ONE CAN REPLACE MY DEAR PRINCESS BUBBLEGUM! NO ONE! I SEE HER IN MY DREAMS AT NIGHT! SHE'S STILL OUT THERE! I MEAN IT! YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE ME!" The new princess was disappointed in me and left the premises silently. I yelled back at her, "YOU BETTER LEAVE! THE KINGDOM'S GOING DOWN THE DRAIN NOW THAT WE HAVE YOU INSTEAD OF HER! AND I MEAN IT!" I then whispered to myself. "And Marceline... you... you taught me the joy of being an adult." I began to sob to myself as Candy Kingdom authorities tried to drag me away from the headstone. I held on to the headstone with all my might, kicking at the Candy Cops and trying to guard the headstone, until I was tazered and stripped of my rights. When I had regained consciousness, I found myself handcuffed and being questioned by a Candy Cop. He asked me some questions. The first question was what my name was. I answered yes, as I could still remember it at that point in time. His second question was, "Did you know Princess Bubblegum and/or Marceline the Vampire Queen?" I answered yes, again. "Were you loitering at the site of their burial for four straight days?" I tried to come up with an excuse. "Nothing's illegal when you're trying to get back to old friends." The cop sighed. "I understand, son, but just because you have permission to be on the burial site does not mean you can cause a public disturbance because of it. I'm afraid we're gonna have to revoke this privilege for a short amount of time." I felt heartbroken. "But... I don't want to leave them. I didn't want them to leave me. It was terrible, I watched them die. They were in each other's arms, it was a beautiful sight but a horrible sight! Please! Please!" I was hysterical, almost going insane as I told him. The Candy Cop groaned with his face in his palm. "Son, we've already made our decision. You'll be able to come back to the grave site in a few weeks. I know it's hard for you. I feel your pain. I lost my wife when we went on a camping trip seven years ago. It was hard for me. I visited her grave once every week or so. I wasn't there for more than twenty minutes at a time, but every second was rewarding in its own sad way. You're still young, you got time to learn."
What he said made me think. This was just another part of my journey into coming of age. First, there was learning that relationships can work in weird ways. Then, there was exactly just how great love can feel. Then, you have the extreme circumstances we just cannot control in life. Later on, there is learning to accept that life is a cruel game that is played by the higher-ups for the sake of manipulating humanity. Now, there is learning how to find ways to feel the pain from old wounds turn into bliss. In ancient times, a word existed for this. They called it "nostalgia." I like the sound of that word. It is a word that lovingly lends a helping hand. We can always look back on the better times of our lives and see that in the hardships we are put through, there is always a light that guides us to happiness. If we follow this light far enough, we will truly be good people, and as long as our intentions are good and there is hope in our lives, then maybe in the end, it is not what happens, but what you make of what happens.
TO BE CONTINUED...