Finally, I've returned! I've been kind of drained since my trip so I apologize in advance if this chapter doesn't advance too much. Very little sleep and drowsy meds may not have been the best muse for writing this chapter, but I've been wrong before.
SCIK1012 - True enough, but after two outbreaks we can only hope she's got the formula down now.
DubbleDuelSword - Anything could happen, and thanks.
Guest - To each their own.
SkyRANDOMNESS - Continue I shall, and I'm glad you dig it. Slendy, eh? Maybe. I'll tack that one down for the future.
StarKnight2.0 - Thanks. Read on.
Thanks for all the review so far guys. I truly appreciate it.
DISCLAIMER : BOOGITY
Beakers clinked and liquids bubbled over little, contained flames. Colours flashed and there were little puffs of smoke here and there. The room was a scene of organized chaos. Nothing seemed to connect to each other but everything bubbled and gurgled in a steady harmony. Some beakers filled while others fed their fluids out through a series of tubes.
Finn sat off to the side of the room with a very bored look on his face. He watched as Bubblegum dashed about the room, taking measurements of one container and then jumping to adjust the temperature of one of the flames. Every move she made caused her lab coat to flare out behind her and perspiration ran down her face around a pair of safety goggles. Shadowing her movements was a small Candy-Corn Rat which dashed from table to table, occasionally adding various powders to a beaker or handing the Princess a test tube filled with another additive. Finn let out a great sigh, totally left out of the process. Bubblegum whirled around and lifter her goggles to her forehead, a frown on her face.
"What's wrong Finn?" she asked, her pet keeping the process going behind her. Finn looked over at her and shrugged his shoulders.
"I dunno, PB. When you said that you were gonna fix this with 'Science', I thought I'd be helping you with all of this sciencey junk. Not, well, 'Science'" he said, pointing to the rat that was rushing about. The Princess just smiled and shook her head.
"I know you want to help Finn, but you know yourself that you're not very good at 'sciencey junk'. I have to get the serum just right and only Science and I know how to properly create it. I'd let you help, but-"
"It's okay Princess" he said cutting her off, his smile spreading across his face, "I get it, we gotta this right. You and Science can handle this, and I'll go see if I can help out somewhere with the stuff I'm good at." He hopped off of his chair and watched as Bubblegum moved the goggles back over her eyes.
"Good idea Finn. I'll call for you when I'm finished. Why don't you track down Jake and Lady? He hasn't seen you since... The Study." She frowned as she finished her sentence but Finn just nodded his head and smiled.
"I'll do that. You just get back to work Peebles." he said, waving to her before leaving the room. She let of a quick sigh before turning around. She picked up her clipboard and carefully ran a pencil over the checklist she had on it.
"Science, please go the store room. We're going to need more explosive diarrhea if we're going to do this right."
Finn walked down the hallway, his thoughts racing through his head. He'd done his best to stay smiling when the Princess had mentioned his episode earlier.
'I'm pretty sure I was still smiling when I left. I was wasn't I? I mean, I can't really be sure because it's impossible to look at my own face on the fly, but it felt like I was still smiling. The last thing she needs right now is to feel guilty about making me sad and junk, right now she needs to-'
He was swiftly knocked flat on his butt. He'd been so lost in his own train of thought that he wasn't even trying to watch where he was going. He groaned and pulled himself to his feet. He swiftly shook his head while rubbing his backside.
"Hey, sorry about that, I wasn- JAKE!" he yelled, seeing his brother on rubbing his own butt. Jake immediately looked up and smiled, his tail wagging excitedly behind him.
"FINN!" he cried, bounding forward and crushing him in a hug. Lady came around the corner behind him and smiling at what she found. Jake held his brother at arms length and just stared at him. Finn simply smiled right back at him.
"So dude, are you... Y'know, you alright? I've been worried sick about you man."
"Yeah Man, don't worry. Everything's cool." Jake set Finn down and a concerned look crossed his face.
"You say everything's cool, but is everything... Is everything chill in the freezer?" he said, tapping his own head. It took Finn a second to catch on, and when he did his face took on a serious look and he just nodded.
"It'll take some time, but I'll get over it Jake." he said, placing a hand on Jake's shoulder. The dog smiled and laughed, a feeling of relief coming over him. He'd been so worried, he'd thought that maybe he'd never get his Finn back, not the same one anyway. But now here stood his brother, shaken but not giving up.
"So I guess Bubblegum's told you all the stuff going on, the freak in stripes?" Jake asked, he and Finn both moving forward to lean on a window ledge.
"Yeah man, I've heard. But..." he grimaced, his brain still trying to accept the possible reality of it all, "There's more to it. The kids who saw that creep last night, they all saw him while they were sleeping. In their dreams Jake." Jake gasped, unnerved by the concept of it all.
"Is that junk even possible man? I mean, that would mean that we have some creepy dream killer on the loose man. Doesn't that just sound crazy?" Jake asked, his eyebrows curving downwards. He looked over to see a worried look on Finn's face.
"I dunno man, but if that sounds crazy, then I am too." he stated, looking towards Jake. The dog's face went blank, his eyes growing larger. "That plop was in my dream last night too Jake. He's why I was so freaked out. If what's going on is..." he trailed off, his voice breaking a little. He looked away from Jake, too ashamed to cry again in front of him. He almost gasped when Jake wrapped his arms around him and Lady squeezed around both of them, wrapping them in her long body. He looked up and saw nothing but compassion in her face. "If what's going on is too crazy to be real Jake, I just... I just wanna wake up." Jake gave Finn another squeeze and let go.
"We'll work through this buddy, together." Jake said, lightly punching Finn's shoulder.
"Yeah man. Thanks for being here for me." he said, genuinely smiling.
"So what now bro? There's some major funk down in town right now. Any plans on fixing it?" Finns eyes widened at the question.
"Oh yeah! I forgot, that's what I was coming to tell you guys, Bubblegum's working up a batch of her Decorpsinator stuff! We can bring back all of the candy kids, Jake." Jake laughed and threw his arms into the air.
"Alright, happy ending! We bring everyone back, we catch this dream creepo, and then we sock him until we can't sock him no more!" yelled Jake, finnishing with a laugh. Finn just nodded and looked out the window again. It all sounded so simple.
'I hope you're right man.'
"YOU DID WHAT?" a voice boomed out from overhead. Down below a winged red creature cowered, the twin blades strapped to his back providing him no comfort. He cringed under the power of the voice from above, his eyes shut tight. This was the first time in... well, ever, that he'd been reprimanded for doing his job, or even for not doing it. The lack of action he had to take just helped add to the general chaos of the place. So what if he gave out keys to pretty much anyone who asked? They could never really escape.
He looked up to the source of the booming voice, but his eyes couldn't see through the large cloud of Blood Mist that held the speaker aloft in the air. He turned his gaze to the area around him. He was stuck in the home of his boss, and his closest escape, the window, just wasn't close enough. He glanced around, noticing photos on the wall. Some just featuring his boss, other not. There was a photo of him standing with Death himself, another of him playing golf with a small candy person. The biggest pictures prominently featured his boss, and there was but one family photo including himself, his late wife and their daughter.
Getting nervous under the pressure that he was beginning to feel, the Jailer finally found the courage to speak. He could almost feel his boss staring at him through the Blood Mist.
"Look, I'm sorry man. Usually it never matters to you who is imprisoned or not. I just thought-"
"CLEARLY YOU DIDN'T THINK! I LEAVE IT TO YOUR DISCRECTION TO LOCK UP PEOPLE AS A PUNISHMENT WHETHER THEY DESERVE IT OR NOT, BUT WHEN I HAVE PERSONALLY LOCKED SOMETHING AWAY IT IS WITH GOOD REASON!" The voice boomed down at him, cutting off his attempt at a defence.
"Yeah, I know that, but... What'd I really do wrong? I helped somebody get out, sure, but where can he go? He's still stuck here, isn't he?" the Jailer timidly asked. He backed away, filled with fear as the Blood Mist cloud slowly descended down to him. It touched the floor and slowly dissipated, leaving only the imposing form of his boss standing over him.
"I'll have to punish you later, I won't rest until I've got that one locked up again." said his boss flatly, gaining some composure now that he didn't sustain the cloud. The Jailer just looked up at his boss, his face growing somewhat pale, a great feat for something usually bright red.
"Wh-why don't you just kill me?" stammered the Jailer, hoping for a quick end. All he received in return was a vicious glare from his boss.
"Not gonna happen. Death would be too easy a punishment for you. I'll have to come up with something more... fitting. But that will come later, when my work is done."
"But what about the people you've got in line waiting to see you? What do we tell them?" the Jailer asked, hearing discontented voices coming from below the window.
"You will tell them to wait," boomed the voice of his boss. He wasn't shouting, but the intensity of his voice still managed to jar the Jailer. "This is taking my top priority. All other matters are being put on hold until my search is complete."
"But boss, c'mon man. He can't be that hard to track, right? Where's he gonna go? You always tell us, no one escapes the Nightosphere." His boss considered the words for a moment before he turned away from the Jailer and walked towards the door.
"There are exceptions to every rule." was all Hunson Abadeer said before leaving the room.
Bubblegum had called everyone together when the serum had been completed. She and the others had gathered in the Candy Hospital, with many teary eyed, and sometimes inebriated parents. As Bubblegum led the way into the morgue the parents were asked to remain outside. The only people allowed access was the Princess herself, along with Dr. Ice Cream, Lady Rainicorn and the two brothers.
Even though they were just made of candy, Finn had to resist the urge to vomit. Seeing something dead was one thing, but this was something else entirely. The bodies were cut up, large gashes sliced along their little faces and backs. Some still had a look of extreme terror frozen on their face, persisting through death. Some hadn't died from simple cuts however. There were a few who had a large hole through their torso, as if something had been plunged straight through them. Some bodies were just a collection of chunks and parts, having exploded under the sheer terror they were feeling. Finn nearly regretted coming here, but knew that he wanted to see, more than anything, the children returned to normal.
Bubblegum set a large vat of the serum in the middle of the room and proceeded to hand everyone a small bottle and an eye dropper.
"Just one drop will be sufficient. Don't go overboard, just one drop." she instructed. Finn and the other nodded and set about their task. Finn was the first to apply his, just a single drop of Decorpsinator, to a small gumdrop boy. The effect was almost instantaneous, the candy child's body returning to it's full and unmarked state. Finn cried out with joy, but stopped almost immediately. The child's body sat up and Finn looked into it's eyes. They were blank, and glazed over.
"Princess! Com'ere, quick!" he yelled, setting down his bottle of serum carefully, his hands shaking. Bubblegum rushed over, a smile on her face.
"What is it?" she asked, her smile stolen away by Finn's expression. "What's wrong Finn?" she asked, placing a hand on Finn's shoulder. He inwardly flinched a little but didn't try and tear away from her grasp, memories still so fresh in his mind.
"Look into the kid's eyes PB, they're not right... They're like, empty and junk." he stated, watch as the Princess knelt down to examine the child. She frowned, a look of worry crossing her face.
"Finn, did you use too much serum? I said one drop would be enough."
"No no!" he yelled, shaking his head quickly and waving his hands in front of himself, "I just used one drop, hero's honour!"
Bubblegum continued to look over the child's body, totally restored. But Finn was right, the eyes just seemed, empty.
"It's alright, Finn. I believe you. We'll sort this out later, but right now we must restore the other children". Finn nodded, carefully retaking his bottle of serum. He continued to go from body to body, but each time he was met with the same result. Regardless of the cause of death, the body recovered perfectly, but the child's eyes were always just... Empty. They had all made their rounds, reviving roughly 34 children.
Disheartened they all met again in the center of the room, worry creasing their faces. Bubblegum, clearly showing her distress paced about the room.
"I just don't understand this! The formula was perfect... We test it several times and compared it to a sample of the batch created during the previous zombie outbreak, they were identical! This... maybe I'll have to use more? Or should I have used less? Oh... I DON'T KNOW!" she shouted, at herself more than anyone. Finn started to reach up to comfort her but his hand stopped before reaching her and swung back to his side.
'I don't even know what to say to her right now... I just...' His thoughts trailed off and his eyes fell upon the first child he revived. The eyes were empty, alive but not. They seemed totally soulless.
'Soulless...' he thought suddenly. A memory clicked in his brain and he raised his hands over his head, shouting, "Oh my Glob!"
His sudden outburst got the attention of his three friends, their eyes all on him.
"What is it buddy?" Jake asked, his eyes looking his brother up and down. Finn stepped closer to the little boy, his hand outstretched. He touched the boy's shoulder, drawing a near lifeless moan from his throat.
"I've seen this before Jake. You made your stuff right PB, it did what it was supposed to."
"But Finn, they are all mindless, they have no direction, they have no-"
"Souls" he interrupted, turning away from the gumdrop boy to face her. A look of confusion took over her face.
"But Finn, how do you know?" she asked, managing to take a little comfort in the fact that her science wasn't totally at fault here. Finn looked over to Jake who was just starting to grasp what his brother meant.
"I've seen people who've had their souls taken out, when I had to lock Marceline's dad back into the Nightosphere. He was going across Ooo and jacking people's souls, and I met a few of the Fluffy People who had become his victims. They looked just like this". Bubblegum nodded her head, but something didn't add up.
"Then why did my serum restore my people's bodies and souls originally?" she asked. Finn though about it for a moment but he couldn't come up with an answer worth speaking. He merely shrugged with a saddened look on his face. The four almost jumped when a voice spoke up from the doorway.
"Perhaps they are not free to return?"
Alright folks. I'm pretty sure I promised another Nightmare on my last update. Sorry it didn't really turn out this chapter, I took a bit of a slower direction right here. I've got another planned but I wanted to get something out since I've been away for a bit so the action will have to wait until the next one. I'm back for quite a while now and I've got a quick rough drafted up for the next chapter right now so I'll be on that for the next few days.
As always, thanks for reading and please drop me a review. Every little bit helps. :D