The Return of Winifred

By Jareth

Chapter Twenty-One: Into the chaos

Chip, Dale, Gadget, Monterey, Foxglove, and Sparky stepped out into the cool early morning air. Though their present location was currently calm, screams and sirens could be heard in the distance. “I need a nap.” Announced Dale, rubbing eyes.

“Later,” Chip said determinedly “Right now, we had a job to do. Rescue Rangers… *yawn…Away.” Chip said, less than energetically. As they began to walk towards their destination, Chip turned around to check on everyone. Just as he thought, everybody looked like they could use some serious rest. Everyone that is, except Sparky, who still looked wide-awake. “It must be all those late nights in the lab.” Chip thought jealously. “He’s used to not having any sleep.”

The Tired Rangers continued to walk for the next two blocks, staring at the ground as they walked, growing more and more sleepy. At the rate they were going, they would have all fallen asleep, if not for the loud “CRASH!” that startled them all awake. The Rangers stopped and looked up, only to see a flaming car engine, burning in front of them.

“Crikey!” Monty shouted in surprise. “A burnin engine!”

“Ha haaa! Yeah!” Came a teenage voice from the other side the engine.

The Rangers quickly walked around the engine only to see three teenagers, destroying a car.

“Dude, did you see that engine explode!?” The fist teenager asked the second.

“I know!” Responded the second. “It was all like: BOOM!”

“Dude, this kicks!” Shouted the third. “No pigs, no adults yelling at us. That Winifred chick rules!”

“What a bunch of idiots!” Chip said angrily.

“You said it.” Agreed Dale.

“Hey!” The second teenager said, pointing at the Rangers. “I bet you I could get this car to run on those mice over there instead of gas!”

“Dude,” replied the third. “You’re on!”

The second teenager proceeded to get on his hands and knees, and begin to crawl towards the Rangers. “Here mousy mousy mousy mousy.” He called gently. “Come to daddy.”

“No thanks!” They all cried in unison, running towards the nearest alley.

“Hey!” Yelled the furious teen. Get back here! You’re my fuel!”

“In there!” Chip shouted, pointing toward a nearby trashcan with a small hole on the side.

They wasted no time in jumping into the hole, just as the teen’s foots steps became audible. The Rangers sat, crowded and silent, until the footsteps had stopped for more than three minutes.

“Do you think it’s safe?” Asked Gadget.

“I’ll see if the coast is clear.” Monty offered, peering out the hole.

“Well?” Asked Sparky.

“All clear mates.” Monty announced, stepping out through the hole. Everyone breathed a huge sigh of relief.

“I thought we were dead for sure.” Foxglove said, relieved that they had made it.

“We have to be more careful!” Chip snapped in an angry over-tiredness. “From now on, we sidle the walls and always watch where we’re going. I really don’t feel like dieing right now!”

“Calm down mate.” Monty said, putting a hand on Chip’s shoulder. “You’re let’n the tiredness get to ya.”

“You’re right, I’m sorry guys.” Apologized Chip. “I didn’t mean to yell, but we really do need to pay closer attention to our surroundings.”

“Chip’s right.” Agreed Gadget. “We really do need to pay more attention if we don’t want to get killed.” Everybody nodded in agreement.

“By the way,” Asked Sparky, stretching his arms “how much further until we reach the factory?”

“Just one more block.” Answered Chip. “See that golden cat statue,” Chip asked, pointing to the top of fat cat’s hideout, which was now slightly visible above the surrounding apartments “that’s the place.”

“Hm, tacky.” Sparky commented, staring at the top of the statue.

“Yeah, it is pretty goofy looking, isn’t it?” Added Gadget.

“Well at least this time, we don’t have to go in.” Dale added as they began to continue toward their destination.

The rest of the way, the Rangers sidled the buildings, just as Chip had instructed. While doing this avoided any possible confrontations, it also gave them a very graphic view of the chaos, which had now completely dominated the city streets. Everywhere they looked, there was either a riot, someone getting beaten up, looting, or just crime in general.

“This is awful.” Gadget said as they watched a man wearing office cloths throw a TV through a shop window. “We should do something!”

“I agree,” Chip said sympathetically “but right now, helping individual people would be almost impossible. Our only real option is to stop Winifred.”

“If that’s even possible.” Foxglove said glumly.

“Of course it is Foxy!” Dale reassured, “All we need to do is—”

“Here it is.” Chip announced, interrupting Dale. “The Happy T… Oh wow.” He said stunned by what he saw. The entire factory had been burned to the ground. All that remained was some charred wood and fat cat’s Golden cat statue, which had been built on a stone base independent of the factory.

“What happened?” Foxglove asked, staring at the rubble.

“It must have been destroyed in one of the riots!” Answered Gadget, sounding almost upset.

“Great,” Dale said in frustration “We walked three whole blocks to get here, and the whole place is gone. Now how do we get the ingredients!?”

“Wait a minute!” Exclaimed Chip, “Nimnul didn’t say IN the factory, he said BEHIND it! The guy we’re looking for might still be somewhere around here!”

“But ‘ow do we find him?” Monty asked, gazing around at the mountain of burnt wood.

No sooner had Monty said this, when Dale noticed that Foxglove’s eyes were fixated on something. “I-is that,” Foxglove asked timidly, pointing to one of the many piles of rubble, “a hand!?”

“A what?!” everyone shouted in unison.

Foxglove pointed to the pile, turning her head away in disgust. “Right under that heap of debris! There’s a human hand sticking out from under it!”

Quickly, everyone (with the exception of Foxglove and Dale, who stayed to comfort her) ran over to the spot that Foxglove had pointed out.

“It is a hand!” Exclaimed Sparky. “Poor guy.”

“Maybe he’s still alive.” Dale suggested from far away.

“There’s only one way to find out.” Said Chip, walking up to the pile of rubble. “Monterey, Sparky, help me lift this plank.” Using all of there strength, the three slowly lifted the board covering the human’s face. “Hey,” Chip shouted to the human “are you all ri- AAAAH!” He shouted in shock, letting go of the board, and in turn, causing Monty and Sparky to let it fall.

“Chip, what happened?” Gadget asked with concern.

“H-h-he’s d-definitely dead.” Chip stammered, a horrified look on his face.

“I couldn’t see it.” Said Monty. “Was it really that bad?”

“It was pretty bad.” Sparky said informatively, not showing any sign that what he had just seen disturbed him in the least.

“How can you be so calm!?” Chip asked loudly. “Didn’t you see where his spine was?!”

“At MIT, my lab is where the Cat Anatomy classes are held.” Sparky informed them. “What we just saw was nothing compared to when they cut open the—”

“Okay, okay!” Dale shouted, “We get the picture.”

“Anyways,” Chip picked up again. “That aside, I have really bad news.”

“Bad news?” Asked Foxglove.

“Yes.” continued Chip “Although the rest of that guy’s body was almost unrecognizable, I recognized his face. It’s the same Chinese guy Nimnul told us to find.”

“Oh no,” Moaned Gadget “how are we supposed to collect the ingredients now?”

“Hey!” Came Dale’s voice from the other side of the heap. “Over here!”

“What is it Dale?” Chip asked as everyone ran around to the back.

“This thing.” Dale answered, pointing downward. Dale was standing directly on top of, what appeared to be a stainless steel briefcase. On the side, were twelve different number wheels, all of which, were set to zero, suggesting that it was locked.

“This must be the Drug dealer’s briefcase!” Chip deducted, putting his hand on the briefcase.

“Way to go Cutie!” Foxglove said, smiling at Dale.

“So how do we get it back ta Nimnul’s?” Monty asked, dreading the answer that was to come.

Chip put his hands on his hips and looked at the briefcase. “I hate to say it, but we’re going to have to drag this thing back somehow.”

“Nooooo!” Shouted an already exhausted Dale.

“Don’t worry guys,” Gadget said reassuringly, “I have an idea.”

Zipper crawled his way through the pile of bizarre looking laboratory tools. Light was shining through breaks in-between the tools, giving Zipper very little light to work with.

“Well?” Came Professor Nimnul’s impatient voice from outside the pile. “Did you find my crystal grinder yet?!”

“I don’t even know what to look for!” Zipper thought as he continued to crawl deeper into the pile. “Honestly, can’t this man stay remotely organized?”

“Come on!” Professor Nimnul whined annoyingly “It’s a small metal cylinder with a red button on top.”

“Finally,” Thought Zipper, “a description! But where to find…” Zipper looked down, only to notice that he was standing on it. “Well that was easy.” He thought as he pulled out a small computer chip, stuck it to the side of the crystal grinder, and flicked a small switch on the chip, activating it before he flew out.

“Ah!” Professor Nimnul exclaimed as a small red glow stick that he was holding began to blink, “He’s found it!” Quickly, Professor Nimnul ran toward the cabinet to retrieve his missing tool. As he neared the cabinet, the blinking glow stick he was holding began to blink more rapidly. With that, Professor Nimnul pointed the glow stick at the cabinet and shouted, “Fetch!” No sooner had he said this, than the glow stick flew out of his hand and into the pile of tools stored in the cabinet. “I’m so happy I remembered these things.” He said to himself as he began to sift through the pile, pulling out the crystal grinder, which was now glowing bright red. “Ah yes,” He continued in self praise, “My homing glow darts.”

“We got the ingredients!” Came Chip’s voice from the factory end of the lab. The Rangers came in, all pulling a crude stick framed, bottle cap wheeled cart, on top of which, rested the stainless steel briefcase.

“Zippa!” Monty exclaimed happily as Zipper flew into his arms. “I was worried that Nimnul might try something funny.”

Zipper “made an “I’m okay.” Noise to inform his pal that he was fine.

“Astounding!” Exclaimed Professor Nimnul, raising his glasses in disbelif “My dealer actually gave you his entire supply! What did you do, mug him?”

“You’re dealer’s dead.” Sparky informed him as gently as he could. “I’m sorry. This brief case is all that was left.”

“No matter.” Professor Nimnul said casually. “Just wheel that thing over here so I can begin.”

“I said he’s dead!” Sparky repeated angrily, “Don’t you care!?”

“No,” Answered Professor Nimnul “I don’t believe so. Now, before I start making the Strong Tend— I mean, the Purple Power Pills, I’m going to have to ask you to leave.

“Leave?” Asked Chip. “Why?”

“In order to be able to concentrate, I need complete silence.” Professor Nimnul said firmly. “So I’m going to have to ask you to wait outside.”

“Fine.” Chip agreed reluctantly. “Gadget’s the same way, so I can believe that.”

“That’s better.” Professor Nimnul said with his arms crossed, satisfied. “I’ll call you once I’m done.”

“Great,” Dale said happily, “we finally have some time to sleep.”

“Wait,” Said Chip “you still haven’t told us the rest of your plan.

“Out! Out!” Professor Nimnul shouted, shooing the Rangers toward the exit.

Meanwhile, within the Onyx tower…
Winifred sat cross-legged, on the floor, eyes closed, apparently meditating.

“Master,” Darien beckoned as he approached Winifred “may I ask what you’re doing?”

Winifred opened her eyes and looked at Darien. “They’re resting.” She said, smiling.

“Who?” Asked Darien, as he sat down.

“The rodents.” She answered, “They’re coming here to stop us.”

“How can five rodents and a bat stop a god?” Darien asked quizzically.

“That I cannot see,” She answered, standing up, “however, they will put up an unbelievable fight. You might want to watch yourself Darien, they’re going to die, but if you’re not careful, they just might take you with them.”

“Hm hm.” Darien laughed to himself. “I cannot possibly imagine my own pray defeating me, but if you have foreseen it’s possibility…” he trailed off.

“They will arrive soon.” Winifred continued. “Is everyone in place?”

“Yes,” answered Darien “all is prepared.”

“Excellent.” Winifred said evilly. “I just hope our little friends enjoy my little surprise at the entrance. Ah ha haaa.” She cackled. “Not even Zoniha could save them now!”

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