The Return of Winifred

By Jareth

Chapter Eighteen: The Onyx Tower

It was subtle at first; it appeared as if some shiny black vines had sprouted from the roof of the police station… at first. Then, as if some had pushed the fast forward button, the vines shot upwards at alarming speeds. Prof. Nimnul watched as the onyx vines continued to thicken and grow upwards, curving and interlooping as they began to form a basic shape; A shape that looked almost identical to the small model that Winifred had sculpted. The onyx tower continued to quickly take form, toppling all the nearby buildings as it did.

“Wha-what are those,” Nimnul asked nervously as he slowly backed away from the towers “some sort of spires?”

For the next minute, the tower continued to grow until finally… it stopped. However, by the time it had, it dwarfed every building in the entire city, standing at exactly one mile high and three city blocks wide. Panic ruled in the streets as people ran away from the demonic looking structures, trampling each other as they fled. A man wearing a tattered cloak stood on the rooftops, screaming over and over, “Judgment day is at hand! Judgment day is at hand!”

“Ugh…” Groaned Monty as he sat up. “Ah feel like I’ve been dropkicked by a wallaby.”

“Is every one okay?” Asked Gadget. When the tower had appeared, the sheer energy radiating from it had blown the Rangers and Sparky backwards, knocking the wind out of them.

“I’m fine—” Began Chip, but Dale suddenly interrupted him.

“Aaaah!” He screamed, his head darting around, as if he was looking for something.

“What is it Dale?” Asked Gadget, standing up in surprise.

Dale looked at her with a sense of concern in his eyes that she had never before witnessed in him. “Where’s Foxy!!!?”

Foxglove laid with her head buried under her wings, sheltering herself. Finally, after gathering her courage, she stood up, but refused to open her eyes, afraid of what she might find. She had lost Dale’s location in the blast, and was afraid that if she opened her eyes, she would come face to face with his mangled body. “Maybe I should just use my sonar first.” She thought to herself. With a deep breath, she let out an ear piercing “*Squeak!”… Nothing. “That’s odd,” She thought to herself. “Even if everything around me is gone, I should still be able to hear the ground.” She tried again, this time louder. “*Squeak!”… Still nothing. Foxglove couldn’t take it any longer. She had to find out where she was.

Foxglove finally forced herself to open her eyes, and was blown away by what she saw. She was in some sort of enormous chamber. While the walls and ceiling were completely onyx, the floor was a shiny white, glowing eerily as if it were front-lit, and slowly rotating colors; mainly shades of red and orange. “Whe-where am I?” Foxglove asked nervously, obviously frightened by the surreal surroundings.

“Welcome,” Came Winifred’s voice “to the Onyx Tower.”

Foxglove spun around to see Winifred, now dressed in a combination of red and black, hovering a few centimeters off the floor. One of Foxglove’s worst nightmares had finally come true. She was alone with Winifred! Foxglove wanted to scream, but found herself unable to do even that.

Winifred smiled evilly. “I’ll bet you’re wondering why you can’t use your sonar in here. Am I correct?”

“You see Foxglove, the entire tower is stealth, just like a stealth bomber. In other words, your sonar is being absorbed into the walls.”

Winifred would have continued on, but at that moment, from across the room, came a trickling noise. Foxglove watched as a portion of the far wall began to liquefy and flow upward, creating a passage between the room they were in and the outdoors. Jamba flew inside and landed next to Foxglove, almost squashing her as he did. “Master,” he reported, “Darien didn’t come, because he has been knocked unconscious.” The way Jamba talked, it sounded as if he hadn’t even noticed the drastic change in scenery that had just occurred.

“How?” Asked Winifred, her attention now diverted.

“Electrocution.” Answered Jamba, taking absolutely no notice of Foxglove.

This was Foxglove’s chance, while they were distracted. It was now or never. With that, Foxglove took off with all the strength and fear she could muster, and flew towards the door.

“Would you like me to kill her master?” Jamba asked calmly as he watched Foxglove’s every movement.

“No Jamba,” Replied Winifred “let her go.”

“Do you really think that wise?” Jamba asked with concern.

“Yes,” answered Winifred “I think she’ll be more miserable after she witnesses what I do to humanity. After my plans are complete, then you may kill her… Assuming by then, she or someone else doesn’t do it for you! Ah ha ha ha!” Winifred cackled evilly.

Jamba did not look very confident about his master’s decision. “You know,” he began “this could come back to bite you in the—”

“Are you insane?!” Winifred shouted angrily. “What could she possibly do!? I’m powerful enough to take out this entire planet if I wanted to, and I know about events five seconds before they occur! Not even Zoniha would be able stop me! What could a single bat do; Give me rabies?!”

Jamba waited a moment before answering. “Still, if you are going to be that reckless, can we at least create some kind of security system? A few guards perhaps?”

Winifred looked very annoyed. “Jamba.” She said through her teeth “A bunch of rodents can’t do anything to stop me.”

“Well,” Continued Jamba “Those “rodents” managed to take out Darien, and Darien isn’t exactly weak. It would be more than troublesome if they came up with a way to fight you…”

Winifred thought about what Jamba said for a moment. “You know,” She began “I have noticed that almost all heroes and villains on TV, seem to constantly make the mistake of underestimating their enemies.”

“Exactly.” Said Jamba, relieved that his master finally understood. “…By the way,” he added “I’ve been wondering, why did you become angry when that chipmunk called you Fre—”

“DON’T SAY IT!!!” Winifred bellowed, magically amplifying her voice to fill the entire chamber.

“I apologize,” Said Jamba, still remaining eerily calm “I was merely curious as to the cause of your reaction.

“Well,” Winifred began, sitting down. As she began to sit, a chair materialized from the floor to catch her. “If you must know… When I was a child, I was never very popular.”

“Why?” interrupted Jamba. “You have a magnificent personality.”

“Yes,” continued Winifred “but you see, humans don’t judge by personality. They judge by appearance, and I was anything but attractive. I had a very large nose, which my older brother would constantly make fun of... How I hated him! He never missed a chance to get a laugh at my expense.

“Why?” asked Jamba. “Wasn’t he related to you?”

“Yes,” answered Winifred “But he himself, was quite unpopular, and was looking for an easy way to look cool. Anyways, one day at school during recess, he grabbed me by the nose and pretended he was honking a horn. I retaliated by calling him four eyes… And that’s when he did it. He made up a nickname for me, F-Fr-Freddie!”

“What’s so awful about that name?” Jamba asked quizzically, “Does it mean something?”

“It’s not the name that upsets me,” Snapped Winifred “it’s the context it was used in. You see, only children who loved making me miserable would address me by that name. Sometimes, they would even tell the substitute teachers that that was my real name. Those evil little monsters! After that point, I began to realize that all humanity was ignorant, stupid, and just begging to be annihilated! I began to loath people so much, I dropped out of school just to escape them and their stupidity.”

“You have quite a vocabulary for a high school dropout.” Commented Jamba.

“Being a cleaning woman in a library will do that to you.” Responded Winifred. “I guess it’s good that I did drop out though, because if I hadn’t, I’d never have stumbled upon Vigo Carpathia’s book of spells.”

“By the way,” Added Jamba, “Darien is still unconscious.”

“I’ll go wake him.” Said Winifred as she got up and walked into the next room, where Darien laid. Winifred held her palm over him, which slowly began to glow and dim. Darien’s eyes slowly began to open. “What happened to you?” asked Winifred.

Darien sat up, an angry look in his eye. “They got away.” He said edgily.

“I’m not angry with you.” Reassured Winifred.

Darien’s expression remained unchanged. “I’ve… never let a meal escape… Not once… I’m ashamed to call myself a predator.” With that, Darien stood up and headed for the door.

“Do you mind telling me where you’re headed?” Winifred asked, crossing her arms.

Darien stopped. “I’m going to eat those two… It’s a matter of honor.”

“Well,” Winifred began, walking over to Darien “While you’re going out, I want you to do something for me…”

Foxglove flew away from the tower as fast as her wings could carry her. At the rate she was going, she probably would have flown into the next state, if she hadn’t heard Dale, calling her name from below.

“Foxy!” Dale yelled excitedly as he jumped up and down, frantically waving his arms.

“Dale!” Foxglove shouted in response, diving down into his arms… At least that’s where she was aiming. However, in her excitement, she dove too quickly and smashed into him, causing them to both tumble backwards, though strangely enough, neither one of the two seemed to care.

“Foxy!” Repeated Dale, hugging Foxglove “I thought you were…”

“Me too!” Foxglove cried, sounding equally as relived.

At this point the other Rangers and Sparky ran over to greet Foxglove.

“What happened to you?” Asked Dale as he released Foxglove.

Foxglove’s expression quickly became serious. “I was in there.” She said, pointing to the onyx tower.

“What is that thing?” Asked Chip.

“Winifred made it with her magic.” Answered Foxglove. “It’s really scary inside. The walls and the ceiling are completely black, the floor glows, and the walls absorb sonar! But that’s not important right now. We’re all in terrible danger!”

“Danger?” Asked Monty.

“Yes,” Answered Foxglove “On my way out, I heard Winifred mention something about humanity and misery.”

“She must be planning to enslave the entire human race.” Said Gadget. “We’ve got to stop her!”

“But how?” Asked Sparky. “Even without her magic, it would be impossible to stop her.”

Before anyone could answer, a voice interrupted. “Well well well,” said the voice “if it isn’t my least favorite rodents.”

The Rangers whipped around to find Professor Nimnul, towering behind them. “Oh no.” Moaned Chip. “Not now…”

“HEY!” Thundered Nimnul. “I am just as evil as any other villain, and you will treat me as so! Now COWER!!!”

“We don’t have time for you right now,” Complained Chip, rolling his eyes. “We— Wait a second, did you just understand me?”

“…Yes…” Nimnul replied, sounding unsure of himself.

“Since when can you understand animals?” Gadget asked suspiciously.

“Since always, it runs in my family!” Shouted Nimnul as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. “Why did you think I even bother yelling at you rodents, because I’m lonely?!”

Everyone was shocked (with the exception of Foxglove). Never before had they ever even suspected Nimnul capable of communicating with animals.

“Anyways,” Continued Nimnul, “Now That I have all five… Er, seven of you trapped, I can finally put an end to y-OWWW!” Nimnul screamed in agony, grabbing his leg. He looked down only to find Sparky, sinking his teeth into it.

“You maniacal freak!” Shouted Sparky as he continued to zap and bite the professor’s leg. “How dare you use science for evil! How dare you!!!”

“AAAAH” Screamed Nimnul, wildly jumping around and shaking his leg. “GET – OFF – OF – MEEEEEE!” With a hard shake, he finally managed to shake Sparky off.”

“You not getting off that easy you crazy—”

“Sparky no!” Yelled Gadget “you’ll be killed! Calm down!” She struggled to hold him back, while Nimnul cowered on the ground, gripping his injured leg.

“NO!” Shouted Sparky, struggling to free himself. “He must pay for his crimes!” Now all the Rangers were holding him back, including Zipper.

“Well,” Stammered a shaken professor Nimnul “I would have expected that from that bat,” Nimnul said, pointing at Foxglove “but not from you.”

“Hey!” Shouted Dale, “leave Foxy outta this!”

“Please!” Begged gadget, straining every muscle in her body to hold back the enraged lab rat. “Calm down, for me?”

“Well,” Answered Sparky, calming a little. “I suppose he’s had enough.” The Rangers slowly let go of Sparky.

“Anyways,” Chip continued, picking up from where he left off “we’re already dealing with another villain right now, so just go away, okay?” You could tell by his tone that Chip was extremely overtired, as it was now 3:00 AM, and none of them had had any sleep.

“Look you little rodent! My lab was destroyed and now is not a good time to—”

Nimnul would have continued, but suddenly, another voice interrupted him. “People of the Earth!” It said, “How are you this fine day?”

“Who said that?” Chip asked nervously.

“Crikey!” said Monty. “It’s like a voice in me head!”

Suddenly, everyone’s sight faded to black, and was replaced with an image of Winifred, standing atop the onyx tower, no doubt on the giant three-leafed clover-shaped platform. “Feeling well?” Continued Winifred. “To bad, because this may be the last time you feel this way. First, allow me to introduce myself. I am Winifred, a powerful witch. These are my two friends, Jamba and Darien.” At this point, both Jamba and Darien walked into the picture. “While nowhere near me in strength, their power is still considerable. Now, down to business. As of now, I am your new ruler. Yes you heard me correctly; I now rule the entire world. If you don’t like it, you can take it up with me. I live in the Giant onyx towers which have no doubt, appeared on the news around the world by now. Please understand that I am not a dictator in the traditional sense. I won’t impose any rules upon you. I’ll even repeal the police. My only wish? Kill, destroy, commit evil; that’s an order!”

“So that’s her game!” Declared Chip, still unable to see anything but Winifred and her two cronies. “She’s trying to make everyone kill each other!”

“But why?” Asked Gadget “What’s her motive.”

“She doesn't sound so bad to me.” Commented Nimnul.

“Now,” Winifred continued, “I’ll bet many of you are thinking, why should I do a thing like that? Well, you might as well do it, because you’re going to die anyways!” Winifred paused and stuck out her hand. Immediately, a small black vase materialized in her hand. “Do you know how many cities there are it the world?” She asked as the vase began to hover slightly off her hand. “No? There are over a hundred million cities on this planet. Every five minutes on the dot, I will randomly draw a city from this vase.” She reached in a pulled out a scarlet piece of paper no bigger than a fortune from a fortune cookie. “What ever city I draw, will be immediately annihilated. Watch!” With that, an image of a city, which, judging by the arch, could only, be St. Louis. Suddenly, an enormous flash of red light enveloped the entire city.

The Rangers tried to shield their eyes, but no matter what they did, they couldn’t seem to stop seeing the image.

Then, as suddenly as the light had appeared, it ceased, revealing a huge smoking crater.

“Ah!” The Rangers, Sparky, and Nimnul all yelled in horror and disbelief.

The image then shifted back to Winifred. “However…” She continued as if nothing had happened. “If you all do as I have instructed, then I’ll only destroy one city an hour. The choice is yours to make. Now, I’ll bet your wondering, what would cause me to do this, correct? Well it’s not so much a question of what, but who. The following people are to blame for the deaths and suffering that have and will occur.” The image then faded to an image of a blonde haired woman. “Heather Flausson.” The image then shifted to that of a brown haired man. “Charles Bagfeild”… This went on for several minutes, until finally the last image appeared. It was that of a short, red haired man wearing glasses. “Norman Nimnul. That is all.” The image faded back to Winifred, who was now alone. “If you see any of these people, kill them and I may just spare your life. That is all, until 3:05 am, see you later…” The image of Winifred atop the tower faded away, and everyone’s eyesight immediately returned.

“M-my god…” Professor Nimnul mumbled, transfixed on the tower. “It can’t be.”

“Alright Nimnul!” Shouted Chip, enraged with the professor. “How do you know Winifred, and what you do to her!?”

Nimnul slowly turned to face the Rangers. “I don’t just know her…” He began. “She’s my sister!”

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