The Return of Winifred

By Jareth

Chapter Seventeen: A Shocking Explanation

The Rangers watched in horror as Darien played with the remaining mouse’s lives. If Gadget really did have a plan to save them, they had to execute it fast. “What’s the plan Gadget-luv?” Asked Monty, ready to help.

“Foxglove, this plan involves you the most, do you think you’re up to it?” Asked Gadget

“Yes!” Foxglove said excitedly, ready to truly prove herself.

“Great! Okay, first, Zipper, do you think you can fly up onto that desk and knock that box of matches and that case of paperclips and rubber bands onto the floor?” Asked Gadget.

Zipper saluted and made an “Okay.” Noise. With that, he flew up onto the nearby desk and began pushing the items off.

Gadget reached into the paperclips and rubber band box, and drew out two paperclips and a rubber band. She then proceeded to loop the rubber band inside the two paper clips. “Hold these,” She instructed, handing a paperclip to Chip and a paperclip to Dale.

“Now what?” asked Dale, still confused as to how this could help them.

“Pull them away from each other so the rubber band stretches.” Gadget instructed, opening the matchbox, pulling out a match, and lighting it. She then turned her attention toward Monty. “Monty, take this match and use the rubber band like a bow to shoot the match at the sprinkler system.”

“Sure thing luv.” Monty said, pulling the rubber band/match combination back and beginning to aim.

“How do I factor into all this?” Asked Sparky.

“Hold on, your part’s the most important one.” Gadget reassured, not taking her eyes off Monty.

“FIRE in the hole!” Monty shouted, releasing the band and sending the lit match sailing into the sprinkler head.

Immediately, the sprinklers came on, causing Darien to slip and miss his target.

“Grrr…” Growled Darien. “And I had just said my parting words too. Why did she (Winifred, not Gadget) have to start a fire right at that instant!?”

“He slipped and missed him.” Commented Chip, who was now soaked. “But won’t he just adapt to wet floor and compensate by running differently?” He asked, pointing out that this was only a temporary solution.

“No,” Answered Gadget “because we won’t let him!” Gadget walked over to the rubber band, picked it up, and bit off two squares from it. She then walked over to Foxglove. “Foxglove,” She instructed, handing the rubber squares to Foxglove, “I need you to pick up Sparky, fly him over Darien, and drop Sparky onto his back.

“Ah!” Shouted Sparky in a sudden realization, “I see, you want me to shock him unconscious!”

“Precisely!” Responded Gadget.

“Wait,” said Chip “can Foxglove actually carry that much wei—”

Dale slapped a hand over Chip’s mouth. “*Shhh…” Hissed Dale. “She can only do it if no one points it out. Trust me!” He whispered cautiously.

Foxglove placed the two rubber pads on Sparky’s shoulders and fluttered over him. “Ready?” She asked with fear and excitment.

Sparky rubbed his fingers together, causing sparks to rise in-between them like a Jacob’s ladder. “Ready!” he answered.

“Okay.” With that, Foxglove landed on Sparky’s shoulders, each foot landing on a rubber pad. “*Whew.” Foxglove breathed a sigh of relief before lifting off.

The Rangers watched nervously as Foxglove positioned herself over Darien. She was ready to drop Sparky, when Darien suddenly moved, still in pursuit of his prey. “Oh no!” Shouted a distressed Gadget. “I forgot to factor in the fact that Darien keeps erratically shifting positions!”

Apparently, Sparky had realized this too. “Foxglove,” He began “I’ve noticed a pattern in Darien’s movements. When I say “now!”, I want you to drop me right there.” He pointed to a vacant spot on the floor.

“But, He’s more forward… Okay…” Foxglove agreed, unsure of how dropping Sparky in an empty spot would help.

Sparky waited for about five seconds, before finally shouting, “NOW!”

Foxglove obediently let go, allowing Sparky to begin to fall. Foxglove quickly prepared to swoop down and catch Sparky before he hit the hard tile floor.

Darien watched intently as his prey attempted to make a mad dash between his legs. “You’re mine!” He shouted, jumping backwards and opening his mouth, ready to lunge.

“Oh no you don’t!” Came a voice from above. Darien whipped his head around just in time to see Sparky land on his wet back.

“ARRRRrrrrrgggghhh!!!” Darien yelled, his skeleton becoming temporarily visible. After three seconds, Darien finally managed to shake Sparky off, throwing him into a corner and ultimately, trapping him. Darien glared angrily at Sparky, his fur still sparking and smoking from Sparky’s attack. “You little…” He said weakly “You’re de—” with that, Darien collapsed in a heap of wet orange fur. As soon as he had collapsed, the sprinklers tapered off.

Zipper made an “Alright!” noise

“We did it!” cheered Dale, running over to Foxglove, who had landed right next to Darien’s tail. “Foxy, you were great!”

“Oh, um well…” Foxglove began to blush.

“Sparky, you were incredible!” Gadget praised as she ran over and hugged him.

“Gosh, you really think so?” Sparky asked happily.

“What did you think of me?” Chip asked impulsively, not wanting Sparky to have all Gadget’s attention.

“You were all incredible!” Said Gadget, dashing Chip’s hopes of receiving his own personal complement from her.

“Well we couldn’ a done it without our Gadget.” Bellowed Monty.

Suddenly, Darien began to make stirring noises.

“No… Gadget said, taking a step back. “It’s not possible.”

“Master…” Darien began.

Sparky walked directly up to Darien’s face and stuck out his hand. “GET DOWN!” He shouted, grabbing Darien by the muzzle.

Again, Darien let out another “*yelp!” before falling unconscious once more.

“…And stay down.” Finished Sparky.

“Hey!” Said Chip, looking around the room. “Where are the two mice?”

Suddenly, Zipper made a noise and pointed to the top of a desk. The Rangers looked up, only to see the two mice, preparing to jump off the desk.

“Hey, Don’t Jump!” Chip shouted, running over to the desk “You’ll break you’re legs jumping from that height!”

“No we won’t,” Responded the first mouse. “Because in dreams, you can’t be hurt.”

“Why do ya think this is a dream!?” Asked Dale.

“Because,” Responded the second. “We just appeared as mice in the middle of the station floor, only to be chased around by a giant fox.”

“I’ve had dreams similar to this one,” added the first “except in the other one, I was a fly, and the chief was trying to get me with a fly swatter.” Zipper shuddered at the thought.

“Please don’t jump!” Begged Gadget. “For me?”

“Yes ma’am!” The two mice responded in unison, and proceeded to run off the desk and out an open window.

“Maybe we should look after them.” Suggested Foxglove. “They might get into trouble.”

“We don’t have time for them.” Chip said roughly. “We need to find out who that woman is and how she was able to turn those officers into rodents.

“But what if she turns us into rodents!?” Dale protested nervously.

No one responded, except Foxglove, who giggled.

“What?” Dale asked loudly “She could! You saw her do—” *BONK! “Ouch!”

Jamba hung; staring intently at the small model Winifred was chiseling out of onyx using a golden chisel. “I’ve been wondering,” Began Jamba “why have you manipulated the entire police force and made them steal money for you? You don’t need that worthless green trash.”

“I’ve already told you,” answered Winifred “I needed the money to buy the gold to make this chisel, and an onyx to carve.”

“But WHY?” Asked Jamba.

Winifred was beginning to become annoyed. “I’m carving this model because—”

“No,” interrupted Jamba. “I mean, why did you steal it?”

“Because I needed it to pay for their order.” Winifred growled through her teeth.

“No,” Returned Jamba, “I mean, why didn’t you just magic them up?”

“There’s no spell for them except alchemy, but believe it or not, not one store in the entire city sells lead!” Winifred shouted defensively/informatively. “Besides, this was much more fun than just waving my hands. Also, this way, I can get my revenge on the officers that arrested me.”

“How do you know who arrested you,” Asked Jamba “weren’t you unconscious?”

“Yes,” answered Winifred “I was, but I now have, as the spell book puts it, “the power to know””. Now then, Officer Kirby! Officer Muldoon! Please come here!” Winifred called in a gentle heavenly tone.

“You called, master?” Muldoon asked eagerly as the two officers walked into the room.

Winifred grinned evilly. “Yes.” she said, pointing at the two officers. With that, they instantly transformed into pomegranates. Winifred then turned her attention to Jamba. “Eat them.” She commanded, turning once again to her model.

“What?” Shouted Jamba, repulsed by the very thought of eating another living thing.

“Is something wrong with them?” Winifred asked, turning back toward Jamba. “Would you like me to make them fresher?”

“I’m not eating those humans, that’s disgusting.” Jamba replied as calmly as he could. “I’m not Darien.”

“Don’t be so picky.” Winifred scolded. “There are some bats in the world who are starving.”

“Fine,” retorted Jamba “you take the first bite.”

Winifred looked uneasily at the pomegranates for a moment, but then turned her attention to the vent above her. “I’ll do that later.” She lied, “but first, could you do me a favor?”

“Anything.” Replied Jamba. “What do you wish me to do master?”

Winifred pointed at the air vent. “Those six little rodents and that fly have been staring at me for the last five minutes. Would you be a dear and flush them out?”

“How does she know!?” Whispered Sparky.

Suddenly there came a loud swooping noise. No sooner had the noise stopped, than the vent that the Rangers were standing on fell onto the desk. “Yaaaah!” They all yelled in unison as the vent they crouched on hit the desk.

“Well,” Winifred said coyly. “I haven’t seen you six in ages…” Winifred then turned her attention to Sparky. “You, I’ve seen recently.”

Chip was at a loss for words. There cover had been blow in the past, but never this badly! It was as if this woman was… Psychic? “No.” Chip thought to himself. “That’s impossible. But then again, Cassandra…”

“Well?” Asked Winifred “Don’t you recognize me?”

The Rangers were all very confused. There was something familiar about this woman, but they weren’t sure what.

Foxglove stared at the woman. Suddenly, for reasons even she wasn’t sure of she made a sudden guess as to whom the woman was. “W-W-Winifred?” She asked uneasily.

Dale stifled a laugh. “Come on Foxy, Winifred was really big and looked like a man. Besides, she melted! We all saw it.”

“Actually, Foxglove is right.” She said, grinning evilly. “I AM Winifred!”

A horrified/confused look came over the Rangers’ faces. She couldn’t possibly be Winifred. She looked nothing like her! But then again, she knew Foxglove’s name, and was able to communicate with them. There was only one way to be certain, and Dale knew what it was. “So,” Dale began nervously “How did ya loose so much weight… Freddie?”

Winifred’s smile quickly vanished. She took three steps backwards and aimed a hand at the ceiling. “Bang.” She said evilly. Suddenly, an immense red beam of light exploded from her hand, blowing an enormous hole in the ceiling.

The Rangers stared at the sky, horrified by what they had just seen. “That’s nothing.” Came Jamba’s voice from across the room. “Her true power far exceeds your mortal comprehension.”

“Jamba,” Ordered Winifred. “Go see what’s keeping Darien.”

“Yes master.” He replied, flying out of the hole in the ceiling.

Finally, Gadget gathered the courage to speak. “How?” She asked nervously.

“How what?” Asked Winifred.

“How have you been controlling people?! How did you come back to life?! How did you change so much?! How did you just do THAT!!!?! HOW?!?!?!?” Gadget was having a panic attack. Seldom in her life, was she ever in a situation where she couldn’t figure out what was going on using logic. As seldom as they were, she had been in them before, but this time, the circumstances were different. This time, there were multiple situations. None of which, could be explained. She felt confused and stupid, and wanted to escape this feeling by any means necessary.

“Well,” Winifred began calmly. “To answer your first question, I’ve been controlling people with a little spell I like to call: The insignia curse.”

“The what?” Asked Gadget, still confused.

Winifred explained. “The insignia curse is simple enough to perform. I simply carve my first initial on the victim’s forehead using this,” Winifred drew the black shard from her pocket “and the victim’s strength is not only increased up to a thousand fold, but their true cause in life become clear. Their innermost desires are brought to the surface, and they become complete. However, this new power comes at a price. You see, although the victim’s cause is realized, they will be doing it in my name, as well as anything else I tell them to do!
Now, to answer your second question, I’m still alive because I never died!”

“But—” gadget protested.

“You saw me sink into the cauldron.” Winifred finished. “Well, hmm… How to describe it? At first, it was like beginning lowered on an elevator. However, as soon as my head sank below the surface, it as if I was falling through water, with lead tied to my feet. I continued to fall toward an immense ball of fire. I thought I was going to stop before hitting, but instead, I went right through the heart of it, and it felt like I did too. The pain was inconceivable! I continued to fall, but I must have switched directions in the inferno, because I was now falling upward. I continued to rise, until I came back out of the cauldron. I rejoiced! For I was reborn as the being you see before you! As a result of my rebirth, my magic powers were multiplied a trillion fold! In other words, to answer you final question, what I just did to the ceiling was the same technique that I used to try and shoot down your balloon, and the same one I used at the drive in when Dale mistook the toupee for Foxglove.”

Again, no one spoke; trying to take in what they had just heard. Monty, Chip, Dale, Sparky, and Zipper just stood speechless, while Foxglove cowered behind Dale. Again, Gadget gathered her courage. “Th-” Gadget stammered. “Th-there’s no such thing as magic!” She protested in a nervous/upset tone.

“…Really…” Winifred responded, turning around and snatching the small model she had carved, off the desk. She held out the model for the rangers to see. It looked like two giant spires connected at the center, with a three-leaf clover lying on top of the slightly taller left spire.
Winifred then took a step back. “…Then what do you call this?”

Before anyone could respond, Winifred began to hover ever so slightly off the floor. They watched in disbelief as Winifred slowly rose upward, out through the large hole she had blown in the ceiling. “B-blimy, she’s fly’n” Monty mumbled as Winifred stopped rising.

No sooner had she ceased rising, she then threw the small onyx model downward at dangerous speed and shouted, “Tenshukaku habikoru!” The tower hit the ground with such force, that it not only made a small crater, but also blew the rangers off the desk and onto a nearby windowsill.

“Is everyone alri—” Chip began to ask, when a steady rumbling began. Of all the cases Chip had been involved in, they all shared one thing in common, and that thing was that if a rumbling began, it usually meant that something bad was about to happen. Apparently, Sparky had some knowledge of this pattern, because he had al ready opened the window and was calling for everyone to escape.

Professor Nimnul slowly made his way down the street, panting as he walked. “*Huff *huff I don’t *puff care if it takes me all night *huff, I’m going to *puff get revenge on *huff whoever ordered my lab *puff destroyed.” Nimnul stopped to catch his breath. “And when I find him, I’m going to—” Suddenly the street began to tremble violently. “Arrrgh!” Nimnul screamed, grabbing onto a nearby street lamp. “What’s going on!!? Some kind of earthqu— Oh my goodness.” Professor Nimnul watched in disbelief as two enormous black spires began to sprout from the police station, continuing to extend themselves upward into the dim morning sky.

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