The Return of Winifred

By Jareth

Chapter Twenty-eight: Darien, the silver fox

Foxglove was flying as fast as she could, but still had trouble keeping up with Professor Nimnul’s mech. “Can you please slow down!?” Foxglove yelled over the mechanical clanking.

“If you can’t keep up, then don’t even bother following me!” Barked Professor Nimnul, trying to stay focused on his driving. Running through the city streets was one thing, but running up stairs was another, and Professor Nimnul was finding it very troublesome to maintain balance.

“I don’t want to do this.” Foxglove thought uneasily to herself, closing her eyes tightly at the very thought of where she was headed. “I don’t want face Winifred… But if I run, she’ll never leave me alone, and Dale… No!” She thought firmly, opening her eyes. “Dale is counting on me. I have to do this; for him!”

“Hey, bat!” Professor Nimnul yelled, snapping Foxglove back to reality. “Slow down for a second.” Professor Nimnul and Foxglove slowed themselves down, until they were stationary. “Let me ask you something.”

“O-okay.” Foxglove stammered nervously.

“Would you mind if I went ahead? The Human Hunter 8000 can go a lot faster than this, and it’s really annoying having to try and match your speed. I’m going to go ahead either way, but I was just curious.”

“But, don’t you need me to—” Foxglove began, but was abruptly cut off by Professor Nimnul.

“—Defeat Freddie?” Finished Professor Nimnul. “Ha! You might not be able to tell by looking, but this machine does a lot more than just run fast and shoot lasers!” Professor Nimnul paused to wipe his glasses. “I’m getting too anxious to wait any longer.” Professor Nimnul continued, putting his glasses back on. “I’ll meet you at the top… Next to Freddie’s body! Ha ha!” Before Foxglove even had a chance to respond, Professor Nimnul exploded up the stairs, disappearing around the corner.

“Well,” Thought Foxglove “if he’s got Winifred, maybe I can go back to Dale…” Foxglove paused for a moment. “…But for some reason, I feel like if I don’t go to Winifred, something awful will happen… I have to go!” Foxglove, having fully made up her mind, began to fly up the spiral stairwell, following the blue waves of light.

“Well?” Darien asked slyly “What do you think, too much?”

Sparky and the Rangers looked at the giant demonic seven tailed silver fox that stood before them. There was a long, awkward silence, before it was finally broken by Monty.

“Personally mate,” Monty Commented as bravely as he could “I think you could have done without all o’ them tails.” Although Monty appeared un-intimidated by Darien’s new form, inside, he was almost too scared to stand.

“Well MATE,” Darien said, in a goofy, fake Australian accent, that sounded like a drunk version of the croc hunter, “I think ya could’ve done without all ‘o them chins. Suck’n back on too much vegemite aah we!?”

Suddenly, in the face of this direct insult to his nationality, his fear disappeared. “What did you ju—Al’ right, that’s it!” Monty said threateningly as he began to approach Darien. “Nobody talks like that to m—”

Dale’s expression suddenly became filled with fear.

“You do realize,” Darien began calmly, interrupting Monty’s threat, “that in the time you’ve wasted, spewing out empty threats… I could have killed you five times over?” Darien gave a wicked smile.

“What ah you—” Monty began to ask, but stopped when he noticed Gadget, fixated on his shirt.

“Monty…” Gadget began nervously, pointing at Monty’s shirt “Did the shirt you’re wearing have any tears in it?”

“No,” Monty began, looking at his shirt, “at least I don’t think that— Yeh-hah!” Monty yelled in surprise, stumbling backwards at what he saw. Across his shirt, were four long tares; clean, as if they had been cut with surgical scissors. “di- did he just… just now?” Monty stammered in disbelief.

“That’s not possible…” Chip thought aloud. “I didn’t even see him move!”

“I-I saw it.” Dale said nervously, gulping. “He-he slashed at Monty five times.”

Zipper made a worried “Monty!” noise.

“Wait a minute.” Interjected Sparky. “You said five times, but there are only four—”

“Tap your head.” Darien calmly ordered, still grinning.

“Tap my head?” Sparky asked quizzically.

“Not you,” Darien sighed, “the corpulent one.”

“You betta not be talking about me.” Monty warned.

“Yoo bett’a tap yor bloody ‘ead.” Darien said in his fake Aussie accent.

Monty angrily reached up and tapped the top of his headgear. “There,” He said firmly, crossing his arms “Are you satisfied?” Suddenly, Monty’s headgear divided in half, slid down either side of his head, and went clattering to the floor.

“Very.” Darien answered wickedly, grinning even more.

“Me… Me headgear…” Monty said, both softly and angrily.

“Headgear?! I’ll take your wretched head next!” Darien laughed, getting up on his feet. He began to menacingly make his way towards Monty and Gadget.

“Geh- Gadget-luv,” Monty began nervously as Darien began to draw closer “I think you should let me ‘andle this one.”

“But Monty,” Argued Gadget “the odds of winning are two to one in our favor right now. If I don’t help, then—” Monty cut Gadget off.

“You don’t understand luv,” Said Monty “there’s more to fight’n than just numbers.”

“Crocodile Dundee is right.” Agreed Darien. A red ring of lightning suddenly appeared behind Monty and Gadget. A hole had opened in the barrier. “Turn back,” Called Darien, “turn back before it’s too late.”

“I can’t.” Gadget said firmly. “Don’t you understand that I can’t? My friend needs me, and—HEY!!!” Gadget yelled, as Monty grabbed her by the waist, lifting her up. “Monty!?” She shouted confusedly. “What are you doing?!”

“Sorry Gadget,” Monty said sympathetically “but I love you like a daughter, and I’d never forgive myself if you were killed. Sparky, catch!” He yelled to Sparky, who was the closest to the hole.

“Monterey, don’t!” Gadget yelled, frantically trying to squirm out of Monty’s grasp.

It was no use. With a large heave, Monty tossed Gadget out through the hole, and into Sparky’s arms; the barrier abruptly closing behind her with a loud “ZAP!”.

“Monty!” Gadget cried, jumping from Sparky’s arms and running up to the now sealed barrier.

Neither Sparky, nor the other Rangers were quite sure how to feel. On one hand, Gadget was now safe from harm, but on the other hand, Monty was now in that much more danger. “He really shouldn’t have done that.” Sparky said nervously. “A extra person would have really helped him.”

“Yeah,” Added Dale “what is he thinking? Gadget coulda helped him!”

“I don’t know,” Said Chip “with the way Monterey fights, Gadget probably would have only gotten in his way.”

Gadget pressed herself up against the barrier. “Monty,” She thought to herself. “I really hope you know what you’re doing…”

“So?” Asked Darien, “You wish to fight me alone?”

“That’s right.” Monty said firmly, rolling his sleeves up a bit more. Slowly, he began to casually reach into his pocket, hoping Darien wouldn’t notice him trying to get his pill.

“The pill?” Darien asked slyly.

“He noticed!” Thought Monty. “This doesn’t look too good.”

“Go ahead,” Darien said calmly “take it.”

“…What?” Monty asked confusedly. Why was Darien doing this? If he took the pill, he might be able to defeat Darien, so why would Darien encourage it?

“Take it.” Darien repeated. “There is no possible way you could defeat me as I am now. Only through enhancement, do you have a remote chance of victory.”

“Why are you letting me take it, if it’ll help me win?” Asked Monty, still quite confused by Darien’s logic.

Darien paused before answering, giving a sly smile. “Because,” he answered, “…It’s more fun that way.”

Monty was about to continue this argument, when he realized that he was actually arguing against himself. Without another moment’s thought, he removed the pill from his pocket, shoved it into his mouth, and swallowed it.

Everybody watched Monty expectantly, waiting for some kind of drastic transformation to occur. At first, nothing seemed to happen. Then, suddenly, Monty’s expression morphed from anxious to horrified. “Aaaagh!” He yelled, grabbing his heart and dropping to his knees. “Y-you - weren’t – joking - Sparky, - this – REALLY - huuuuurts!” Monty groaned.

Sparky and the Rangers watched powerlessly as their friend writhed in pain. “Hang in there Monty!” Chip yelled, pressing his hands against the barrier.

“He’s going to die before I can kill him.” Darien thought disdainfully. “What a disappointment. I do hope he tastes good.”

Gathering his strength, Monty began to stand; his muscles twitching just as Sparky’s had. Suddenly, all of the excess fat in his torso stiffened and bulged out, giving Monty an incredible set of abs. The fat in his arms and legs immediately followed the same pattern, stretching his shirt to the point where it was skintight. Monty panted, wiping the sweat from his brow as the immense pain began to stop coursing through his body.

Everyone, even Darien stared at Monty in aw of his new physique. Once resembling an overweight rodent version of Steve Erwin, Monty now resembled a cross between a barbarian warrior and Mr. Universe. “…Wow…” was all anyone could say.

“Crikey!” Monty exclaimed, feeling his new muscles. I haven’t felt this good in… Well, I’ve neva felt this good!” with that Monty socked his hand into his fist, causing a loud exploding noise which, if not for the tower’s sonar proof walls, would have probably continued to echo for minutes on end. All right Mr. Predator,” Monty said almost sarcastically as he struck a fighting pose, “Show me what ya got.”

Monty had expected Darien to have some kind of reaction, but instead, he gave a sly smile and simply said, “As you wish.”

With that, what would become the greatest fight in Monterey Jack’s entire life began.
Monty began to rapidly charge at Darien, preparing to slug him in the face. “Take this!” Monty yelled, bringing his fist towards Darien’s muzzle. However, Darien jumped back ten feet, avoiding it completely. While Monty stumbled forward, Darien kicked off the barrier, sending himself rocketing towards Monty’s unguarded arm. With the force of a car compactor, Darien bit down, sinking his teeth into Monty’s arm.

“Monty!” Sparky and the rangers yelled at once.

“Yeoooow!” Monty howled, swinging his arm sideways to shake the enormous fox off. Darien slid off, but left a deep gash as he did so. “Arrrrgh.” Monty groaned, cradling his wounded arm.

“You’re good.” Complemented Darien.

“Thanks mate,” Monty said as calmly as he could, avoiding screaming in pain, “so are you.”

“No no, you misunderstand.” Said Darien. “I don’t mean that you fight good, I mean that you taste good.”

Everybody winced at the thought.

“Very good in fact,” Continued Darien “Possibly the best I’ve ever tasted.” Darien gave a wicked smile. “I think I’ll have some more.”

“Not today you won’t.” Monty said, not really believing it himself. “All right,” he thought to himself. “He seems to jump backwards on a direct assault, so if I keep runn’n, I can catch him in midair and slam him into that barrier.” With that, Monty began to charge again. Darien stood motionless, smiling evily. “Alright… NOW!” Monty thought as he continued to charge, this time without slowing. However, instead of jumping backwards, Darien simply jumped to the side. “Oh noooo!” Monty yelled as he slammed face fist into the barrier, collapsing onto his back.

“Monty!” everyone yelled again.

“I don’t understand,” Sparky thought to himself. “How did Darien know what he was going to do?… AH!” Sparky suddenly had the answer. “Monterey!” he called. “Darien’s psychic! Strategy won’t work! You’re going to have to execute random maneuvers!”

“What?!” Monty called back, standing back up.

“Random attacks.” Sparky repeated.

“Random!?” Monty exclaimed, looking over at Darien, who was now cleaning his silver fur. “Suites me just fine.” He thought to himself. With that, Monty lunged at Darien again, preparing to punch or kick, depending on whichever limb was closer. However, instead of trying to dodge, Darien charged headfirst into Monty’s stomach, knocking the wind out of him. “Uuuugh.” Monty groaned, collapsing to his knees, gasping for air.

Darien looked distainfully at him. “You’re faking it.” He said casually. “You want me to approach you, thinking you’re gone, than at the last moment, strike. Am I correct?”

Monty starred, dumbfounded. “um… no.” He managed to say.

“You’re not being random enough!” Chip yelled.

“I don’t know how to fight randomly like that!” Monty responded, getting back to his feet.

“Just think Dale!” Suggested Chip.

“Yeah,” Agreed Dale “just— HEY!”

“Dale, eh?” Monty said to himself, closing his eyes.

“Dale?!” Dale shouted to Chip. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Do you really want me to answer that question?” Chip asked sarcastically.

“…What?” Dale asked, apparently having forgotten his own question.

“Dale, Dale…” Monty thought to himself. Monty opened his eyes and looked toward Darien. Suddenly, Monty began to run forward, swing his fists wildly at blinding speeds, yelling as he did so. However, with incredible swiftness, Darien began jumping, ducking, and dodging, avoiding every single strike. “No way!” Monty yelled as he continued to throw random punches and kicks. “You can’t possibly avoid all ‘o these!”

“Oh YES!” Darien yelled, jumping into the air and kicking Monty with his hind legs, sending him flying into the barrier, and onto the luminescent floor from there.

“Agh.” Monty groaned as he got back on his feet. “How?’ he asked. “How did you…”

“I am an expert hunter.” Darien explained, a touch of pride in his voice. “I’ve studied the movements of mice for several years.” Darien gave another Evil smile. “I know how your mind works; there’s not a single move you can make that I cannot predict.”

“Oh no!” Exclaimed Gadget, “What’s Monty going to do now?! I knew he shouldn’t have thrown me out.”

Zipper made an “Oh noooo! Monty!” noise, and proceeded to fly up to the barrier, banging on it.

“There’s nothing you can do.” Darien said calmly. “you’ve lost.”

Winifred looked out over the city. From her tower, she could literally see everything that was happening below. A scraggily haired man was pouring gasoline on a parked police car, some adults, dressed in torn business suites were beating a blond girl senseless, a bald midget was running around with an Uzi, destroying shop windows… “It’s amazing how stupid humans are.” Winifred thought to herself, turning away from the city “They’ll do anything to save their own skins… But no matter, once Foxglove is here to see me do it, I’ll annihilate them all.” Winifred’s entire body quivered with delight. “Oh yes, revenge is truly a dish best served hot!” With that, Winifred released an immense blast of red energy into the air, temporarily blinding anyone who was looking towards the tower at that moment. “Ha ha ha ha haaaaa!” She cackled.

“Actually,” Came a familiar voice. “It’s supposed to be served cold, but nice try.”

Winifred spun around; only to see someone she had not seen in a great while.

“Hello sister.” Professor Nimnul said slyly.

Next chapter

Back to the storie