The Return of Winifred

By Jareth

Chapter Thirty-two: A severe mismatch

Foxglove stared, her delicate blue eyes locked in to Winifred’s piercing electric green. She was afraid to move, afraid to speak, afraid to breath. She was afraid that any sudden movements might instigate an attack. Foxglove’s eyes darted around, looking for something, anything that could help her. Nothing. The only things she could see, were the wrecked Human Hunter 8000, the edge of the platform, and the funnel cloud in the distance. She looked back at Winifred again, only to see that she was no longer looking at her. Winifred’s eyes seemed to be fixated on the floor. Foxglove was not quite sure why Winifred had her attention diverted to the floor, all she knew, was that the floor was becoming unusually warm. Hot in fact, painfully hot, blisteringly hot. Foxglove took off just as the floor beneath her burst into flames, her fur getting mildly singed. She looked below; the entire platform had been engulfed in flames, like a giant torch. The only spots not engulfed in flames, were the spot Winifred was standing, her eyes now back on Foxglove; and where the wreaked Human Hunter 8000 lie.

Suddenly, Winifred made her right hand into a gun-like shape, and slowly began to raise it, aiming it at Foxglove.

It was then, that the purpose of igniting the floor became clear. If Foxglove was in the air, Winifred had a clear shot at her.

With that, Winifred fired a flash of red light from her finger, directly at Foxglove. Using swooping techniques that one would normally use when hunting insects, she barely managed to avoid it.

Winifred began to raise her other hand into the ‘gun’ position, and fired both at once.

Again, Foxglove swooped and dived, just barely avoiding them.

Winifred frowned for a moment, until suddenly, her frown disappeared. With an evil grin, Winifred put both her fingers together and in one shot, unleashed a barrage of red lights.

Foxglove saw the rapidly approaching lights. There were so many, they resembled a small cluster of stars. There was no swooping away from a shot this wide. The only way to evade it, would be to find the largest gap in the cluster, and fly right through it. Foxglove concentrated on a small ‘V’ shaped gap in the cluster, and with incredible gracefulness, attempted to Dive through it…
Attempted to. If only echolocation was able to pick it up, she would have noticed the single speck of light dwelling in the ‘V’ shaped gap that, to the naked eye, had appeared to be clear.
Foxglove let out a yell of pain as the single shot pierced her wing. She tried to pull out of the dive, but the pain of wind rushing through the newly cut hole in her wing was too great. It was no use; she was going to crash into the flaming floor below.
Foxglove braced herself as she landed and came rolling to a halt, winding up face down against the cold, hard, floor. The inferno had gone out.
Summoning all of her strength, Foxglove propped herself up, only to see Winifred standing directly in front of her. She had no time to react; with a terrible force, Winifred brought her foot into Foxglove’s face, flipping her onto her back and sending her sliding backwards. Foxglove didn’t even have a chance to slide to a halt, before she felt Winfred’s fist slam into her stomach, stopping her in mid-slide. She coughed; the taste of blood was in her mouth. She wanted to get up, but now found herself lacking the strength to even lift a single leg. Foxglove did the only thing she could, and looked up. Winifred was hovering twenty feet overhead.

Winifred had her hands positioned in front of her; pulled back, as if she were about to push something heavy. With an evil grin, Winifred shoved her right hand outwards, at Foxglove.

The pain was indescribable. Foxglove felt as though she had just been hit by a wreaking ball. The wind was forced out of her lungs, her body was forced into the onyx, and she was certain that something inside of her had been crushed. Foxglove opened her mouth and attempted to scream, but was unable, as the wind had been knocked out of her.

Winifred smiled at the results of her attack. Eager to see Foxglove experience this level of pain, She withdrew her right hand and harshly extended her left.

Again, the wind was forced out of Foxglove’s lungs, as her body was crushed under the invisible force. She shut her eyes tight, trying to withstand the pain.

Winifred was very pleased with the results of the second attack. Foxglove seemed to be in slightly more pain than the first. With that, Winifred began alternately extending and withdrawing her left and right hands, watching Foxglove’s face for tears. She continued to perform this devastating attack; ten times; still no tears. She was growing angry. Suddenly, she had an idea. With a loud “HA!”, Winifred extended both hands at once.

Foxglove had thought she was dead… until she felt this. This blow had twice the strength of the other twelve. The force was so great, the ground around her cracked. Foxglove’s eyes burst open, her pupils as small as periods. Only one physical condition seemed out of place; No tears. After all of this, Foxglove had yet to shed a single tear.

“What is your problem?!” Winifred yelled, exploding into vapor and reforming next to Foxglove. “Why won’t you cry?!”

Foxglove didn’t answer.

“CRY!” Winifred shouted, shoving both her hands at Foxglove once more.

Foxglove closed her eyes, gritting her teeth in pain, but did not cry.

“Why won’t you cry?!” Winifred yelled. “Can’t you feel pain? Don’t you know when you’ve lost.”

“I… I…” Foxglove croaked.

“You what?” Winifred asked roughly.

“I… I haven’t lost yet.” She finally managed to choke out, coughing a few times. Gathering all of the strength she could, Foxglove began to prop herself on her feet.

Winifred paused, dumbfounded by Foxglove’s persistence. “GET DOWN!” She commanded, slapping Foxglove across the face with such force, that she flipped over onto her belly.

Again, Foxglove began to attempt to stand up.

“What is wrong with you?!” Winifred shouted, now thoroughly confused as to Foxglove’s motives. “Don’t you realize that you can’t win?!”

“Y…Yes.” Foxglove said, now on her knees, beginning to stand.

“Than why are you even bothering to get up?”

“Because…” Foxglove began, now standing once more “Because… I won’t lose to you.”

“…What?” Winifred asked, surprised by Foxglove’s answer

“I won’t lose to someone as evil as you. Not when my friends are counting on me. Not when Dale is counting on me…” Foxglove pointed an angry finger at Winifred. “I will beat you! I don’t care if I have to die to do it; I won’t let you hurt my friends!”

“Feh.” Winifred laughed. “Friends? If they’re such good friends, than why aren’t they up here, aiding you?”

Foxglove didn’t answer.

“Don’t you understand? Friendship is nothing more than a group of people, herding together to avoid loneliness. Your “friends” only care about their own well-being; otherwise they’d be up here with you, fighting the “good” fight.”

“You’re a bad person.” Foxglove whispered, her strength lessening again.

“Am I?” Winifred asked nonchalantly. Suddenly, Winifred brought her hands upward, as if she were conducting an orchestra into a crescendo.

Foxglove gasped as her body was lifted off the ground. It was as if some invisible force had lifted her body upwards, and was holding her suspended in midair. She was unable to move, as if she had been frozen solid in a block of ice.

“I’m not the one who left you to die. Your “Friends” as you refer to them, are no better than I am” Winifred walked right up to Foxglove, to the point where their noses touched. “Doesn’t that make you want to cry?”

“No.” Foxglove answered firmly. “My friends believe in me. That’s why they trusted me to fight you alone.”

Winifred frowned, turning away from Foxglove and turning her attention towards the city. The funnel cloud was still going strong. She sighed, apparently lost in thought. “To think that I could kill every man, woman, and child here in the blink of an eye if I wanted to. The power of death is truly intoxicating.”

“You’re going to start killing people to try and make me cry… Aren’t you?” Foxglove asked nervously.

“No.” Winifred responded casually. “No, I won’t, because something has just come to my attention.”

Foxglove tried to turn her head towards Winifred, but was unable to. She was completely frozen.

“I can’t believe I didn’t think of this earlier.” Winifred continued, raising her right hand. “The key to emotionally destroying you does not lie within causing you bodily harm, nor does it involve in killing the ignorant population of the world.” Winifred walked into Foxglove’s view once more. “The key, lies in a certain chipmunk, whom, as I speak, is debating in his mind, whether or not to come and help you.

Foxglove’s eyes widened.

“Are you curious as to what I meant by “The power of death”?”

“NO!” Foxglove shouted, struggling to break free of Winifred’s psychokinetic hold.

Winifred moved the fingers on her raised hand into a snapping position. “Raise your hand if you want it to be so.” Winifred instructed gleefully.

Foxglove felt her wing being raised. She tried to stop herself, but found she had no control over her actions. Her wing had been raised.

“*Snap!” Winifred snapped her fingers, grinning evilly.

The fight against Darien had turned around once again. What seemed like only moments ago, Monty completely had the upper hand. Now, Chip, Dale, Gadget, and Zipper could do nothing but watch in despair as the seven Dariens bounced Monty around like some kind of living volleyball.

“Come on Monty!” Dale yelled. “Fight back!”

“He’s trying to,” Answered Gadget “but seven against once is too much for even Monty to handle.”

Monty stumbled backwards, having just received a kick in the chest from one of the Dariens. Another began charging him; the other five watched. “Good.” Monty thought to himself. “Only one’s attack’n; I can ‘andle that.” With that, Monty prepared to block or dodge, depending whether Darien chose to lunge or charge.

Darien lunged.

“Perfect!” Monty thought to himself. “I can kick him away, just like a wallaby. ‘E won’t see that one come’n.”

However, milliseconds before impact, the Darien jumped aside as a previously hidden one jumped off the other’s back, elevating it’s trajectory.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your gender), Monty had no time to change his mind, and ended up kicking the slightly higher Darien right between the legs.

The other Dariens winced as their better seventh fell to the ground, groaning in pain.

“Oh… um, sorry ‘bout that.” Monty said apologetically. Being a veteran fighter himself, he knew very well how dishonorable kicking someone in the family jewels was.

Dale burst out laughing. Being a fan of slapstick, he really couldn’t help it.

“Dale!” Chip protested.

Dale tried to stop laughing, but to no avail.

Chip sighed and turned away to watch the fight, as the six Dariens continued to fight while their fallen friend recovered.

Dale continued to laugh… Until suddenly, his laughter began to die down.

This caught Chip’s, Gadget’s, and Zipper’s attention. “What is it Dale?” Gadget asked with concern. It wasn’t like Dale to just stop laughing like that.

But Dale didn’t answer. His face slowly morphed from a happy smirk, into a horrified expression, his eyes becoming empty, and without a single word, proceeded to collapse onto his knees, and from there, onto his stomach.

Chip, Dale, Gadget, and Zipper gasped in horror. Even Monty stopped momentarily to look… right before being head butted in the chest by two Dariens at once. Gadget rushed over to feel Dale’s neck for a pulse. She looked up at her mortified and confused friends, giving them an equally mortified and confused look. There was absolutely no doubt about it; Dale was dead.

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