The Return of Winifred

By Jareth

Chapter Eight: Foxglove to the rescue

Winifred looked down at the unconscious Rescue Rangers. She lifted her foot and positioned it over them. “Fare well, small fries.” Winifred began to slam her foot down on them, but stopped about one centimeter away. “Then again,” Winifred thought out loud, moving her foot away from them “my revenge would be even sweeter if these miserable little rodents actually saw me become a real witch. That way, not only would that make their failure complete, but the helplessness that they would feel…” Winifred picked up the nozzle on her vacuum, pointed it at the rangers, and with a flip of a switch, turned it on, sucking the rangers in. Monty got stuck at first, but after Winifred shook the vacuum a little, he went in. “Now,” Winifred said evilly as she mounted her vacuum “to finally realize my destiny! Ga ha ha ha!” With an evil cackle, Winifred took off into the night sky.

Meanwhile, not too far away, Foxglove was flying toward the drive in as fast as her wings could carry her. Even from a mile away, using her echolocation skills, she had seen (or rather, heard) what was going on and was now flying to the rescue. Zipper, who had been tailing Foxglove the entire time, had started to tire, but his determination gave him the strength to keep her within his sight.

Foxglove landed at the drive in. “Dale!” she called in a distressed voice “Where are you?!” Foxglove flew around frantically, trying to find at least a trace of him. When Winifred turned on the vacuum, the loud noise had temporarily reduced Foxglove’s hearing, making it impossible to use her sonar. “No,” Foxglove said sadly, sitting on a matchbox, burying her head in her hands, and beginning to cry, “I lost them!” Foxglove looked up at the blank screen. “I’ll bet that they heard Friddie had escaped and wanted to get her put back in jail without worrying me. They’re so kind, and I’m so worthless!” Foxglove began sobbing uncontrollably. After about five minutes, she started to let up, when she heard the sound of buzzing wings. “My *sniff h-hearing is starting to come back.” Foxglove said, still sniffling a little. “Maybe I’ll feel better if I have something to eat while I wait for my sonar to start working again.” With her quick bat reflexes, Foxglove whipped her wing up and snatched the insect that hovered above her. She was about the pop it in her mouth, when she heard it make a “Don’t!” noise. Normaly Foxglove would have just ignored it, but this one’s voice sounded familiar. She quickly looked down at the insect she was grasping, and instantly recognized it. “Zipper!” Foxglove yelled, letting him go. “Oh my god, I really am horrible!” Foxglove began to cry again, but Zipper rubbed her on the back, letting her know that she was forgiven.

Suddenly, Foxglove grabbed Zipper, hugging him tightly, and began to sob again. “Oh Zipper,” She cried, “I heard Freddie trying to kill everyone, but I couldn’t get here fast enough and now they’re gone! Plus now, because of Freddie’s vacuum, I can’t use my sonar to find them!” Zipper’s wiggling notified Foxglove that she was squeezing him and she immediately let go.

Zipper wasn’t sure what to do. He began to buzz around the area, looking for some kind of clue. At first, he could only find their signalers when suddenly, he saw a way to locate his friends’ captor. Zipper flew back to the depressed Foxglove and tugged on her wing to get her attention.

“What is it Zipper?” Foxglove said, standing up.

Zipper made an “Over there” noise and pointed upward. In the sky, a flashing trail of lightning bugs led away from the theater. Apparently, there was a small crack in Winifred’s vacuum.

“Zipper, you did it!” Foxglove yelled happily as she gave Zipper another hug. “Come on,” Foxglove said, taking off “Lets go rescue our friends!”

Dale opened his eyes. Everything was blurry. “Ugh, where am I?” He asked groggily. He felt as though he were floating. As everything came into focus, he suddenly realized that he was floating, or sort of anyways. Him, Monty, Gadget, and Chip were all tied together and hanging from a rafter by a long rope. “Guys! Wake up!” Dale yelled, wiggling desperately to get them awake.

“Crikey,” Monty said, trying to rub his head “I feel like I’ve been waltz’n Matilda at mach 3!”

Gadget and Chip began to wake up as well. “Golly,” Gadget said looking around “where are we?”

“I can’t tell,” Chip said in a sleepy voice “every thing’s a blur

Dale looked over his shoulder at Monty. “Did your eyes focus too?” He asked

“Nope, not— wait, there they go.” Monty looked around. “I’ve got a bad feeling about this mates.’ He said uneasily

“I can see now!” Gadget informed everyone.

“Same here!” Followed Chip.

“We’re all tied up!” Dale said, as if it wasn’t blatantly obvious already.

“Really, you think!?” Chip said sarcastically. Dale began to wiggle around trying to free himself, but to no avail. All he succeeded in doing was making them rock back and forth. “Would you cut that out!” Chip yelled furiously.

“I’m just trying to help” Dale said defensively.

“You’ve helped us enough for today!” Chip snapped. “If it weren’t for you, I would have been there to stop Winfred when she stole the chief’s toupee, Gadget would have been there to stop Winifred when she got the elephant ear wax, and Monty would have been there to stop her from collecting the lobster lips! Honestly, if I weren’t tied up right now, I’d—”

“Well,” came Winifred’s voice from across the room “it looks as if you’ve all regained consciousness.” Winifred walked over to the Rangers. “Aw, what’s the matter? Don’t you want to try and stop me?” Winifred asked tauntingly. “Well too bad,” she yelled, “because you can’t! Ah ha ha ha!” Winifred walked over to the cauldron. “I think I’ll let you watch me complete the spell, then I’ll turn you all into mold and spray you with Tilex (gets rid of mold)!” Winifred started to turn away, but then looked back. “By the way,” she said, “don’t bother trying to wiggle out of the ropes. I’ve tied them so the more you struggle, the tighter they become.” With this, Winifred turned back toward the cauldron and began to adjust the temperature of the hot plate beneath it.

The Rangers didn’t know what to do. Without the use of their arms, they couldn’t do anything but move around, making the ropes tighter. Not a word was said. All they could do was hang their heads in despair. They had failed.

Winifred threw in the lightning bug bulbs. With a loud explosion, the liquid in the cauldron turned from yellow to purple. Winifred turned toward the Rangers. “Are you sure you don’t want to stop me? Oh, that’s right, YOU CANT! Ah ha ha ha!” With an evil laugh Winifred turned to face the cauldron once more.

“How do you think she got the bulbs off?” Chip asked in a depressed tone, not really asking anyone in particular.

“She probably used jewelers’ tweezers.” Answered Gadget. “Darn it!” Gadget yelled looking up “We can’t just give up like this! We’re the Rescue Rangers! Come on guys, we’ve been in tighter spots than this. Even if we can’t do anything, I’d rater die trying than just watch!”

“Gadget’s right!” yelled Monty, snapping out of his sadness. “Come on lads, let’s try to get ourselves outta this mess!” The Rangers all began pushing off each other, trying to widen the rope, but to no avail. A second explosion informed them that the toupee had been added.

Winifred held the moon rock over the cauldron and began her incantation. “Now, is the time—” Just as Winifred had begun, a loud crash made her turn to see Foxglove and Zipper, crashing through the window.

“Rescue rangers, away!” Foxglove yelled as Zipper did his trademark bugle call. “Hang on guys, I’ll untie you.” She called, swooping down.

“Forget us, stop Winifred!” Dale yelled

“What a guy ?…” thought Foxglove.

“You!” Winifred angrily shouted, pointing at Foxglove.

“Freddie!” Foxglove retorted.

That one struck a nerve. “So, you came to save you’re friends ay? Well it won’t do you any good, because I’ve anticipated that something like this might happen, and bought this to prevent you from mucking up my plans!” Winifred held up a large, convex metal disk with a handle in the center. “Do you know what this is?” Winifred asked holding the disk by the handle, above her head.

“A shield!?” Foxglove asked confusedly.

“No, you brainless dust rag!” Winifred spat “It’s a cauldron lid!” With that, She slammed the lid over the cauldron, making it impossible to drop anything into it. Winifred turned toward the Rangers. “Wow Dale, you were right, she has become stupider!” Winifred said mockingly.

“I would never say that!” Protested Dale

“Don’t worry sweetie, I know.” Foxglove replied.

“So, How do you plan to stop me?” asked Winifred as she began to walk slowly toward Foxglove.

Foxglove looked into Winifred’s eyes. “Like… THIS!” With every ounce of strength she could muster, Foxglove flung herself at the moon rock hanging around Winifred’s neck. Although Foxglove did not manage to grab it, she did manage to break the necklace, sending the moon rock flying across the room.

“Noooooo!” Winifred shouted, scrambling toward the rock, but Foxglove had already passed her and was now swooping down on the moon rock.

“I did it!” Foxglove thought as the rock drew closer. That was the last thing Foxglove thought before she felt something big and furry crash into her. It hit her with such velocity, that Foxglove almost lost consciousness. She hit the floor very hard, landing just out of reach of the moon rock. “what in the world was that?” Foxglove asked dizzily, looking up. Upon looking up, Foxglove came face to face with the largest bat she had ever seen. It was a flying fox!

“Don’t worry master, I’ve stopped her.” The bat said in a David Bowe-ish voice.

“Excellent Jamba!” Said Winifred as she finally reached the spot where the rock lay. However, Winifred’s congratulatory tone suddenly became the ungrateful tone that Foxglove had heard more than enough of. “And just where were you before?!” She yelled, hitting Jamba.

“For give me master,” Jamba replied calmly. “I had simply gone outside to get some fruit to eat.”

“Well,” Began Winifred, calming down a bit “now that you are here, hold this little traitor down until I tell you different.” Winifred bent over, reached down, and picked up the moon rock that lay next to Foxglove. “I’ll take that!” Winifred said, picking up the rock and walking back toward her cauldron.

Jamba looked down at Foxglove. “So,” he began, speaking in an eerily calm tone of voice that made Foxglove shiver. “I take it you’re Foxglove.”

Foxglove couldn’t respond. She felt as if she would faint at any moment and on top of that, Jamba had knocked all the wind out of her.

“I’ve heard so much about you,” he continued “you betrayed the master and aligned yourself with her enemies.”

“Where did you find flying fox?” Gadget asked angrily as Winifred walked back over to the cauldron.

“I stole— er that is, rescued him and another animal from the zoo today. Who do you think stole the chief’s toupee?!” Winifred asked as she uncovered the cauldron.

Winifred held the moon rock out over the cauldron. “I take it there will be no further interruptions?” She had spoken too soon, for at that moment, holding a peanut, Zipper dive-bombed Winifred's potion, letting go of the peanut and flying away from her as fast as he could.

“That’s me pal!” Monty cheered.

“Noooo! Winfred shouted as she watched the peanut plummet closer and closer towards her potion.

It seemed as if the Rangers had really won this time, but at the last moment, another creature made his presence known, as an orange blur streaked across the peanut’s path, hitting the peanut away from the potion and toward Zipper. Zipper had just enough time to turn around, before the peanut hit him, knocking him out cold.

“Zipper!” Monty yelled, struggling to get to Zipper’s aid.

A red fox landed on the opposite side of the cauldron.

“Excellent work Darien.” Winifred said as she petted the fox on the back.

“I live to serve you master.” The fox responded, in a voice similar to Jamba’s.

“And don’t you forget it!” Winifred snapped as she walked back up to the cauldron “Now that you’re all out of commission.” Winifred said, beginning to sound agitated “I can finally become a real witch!” Winifred held the moon rock over the cauldron and began the incantation. “Now, is the time whenst all things regine, and the netherworld’s energy, addst to mine” anos ononus, dodonrecair, send me to the netherworld, empower me there!” With that, Winifred dropped the moon rock into the cauldron, causing an explosion of red sparks.

“No!” Thought Foxglove, struggling as much as she could to escape Jamba’s grip “I have to do something.” But it was no use. Being several times Foxglove’s size, Jamba was just too much for Her.

“Incredible!” Winifred shouted in an amazed voice as she stared into the cauldron. The liquid inside had now turned from a murky purple, to a bright, shimmering silver.

“What now?” Asked Darien, looking at Winifred.

“I’m supposed to climb in.” Winifred said uneasily. She stuck her finger in, expecting it to be boiling hot, but despite the fact that it was over a large hot plate, it felt strangely cold. Gathering her courage, Winifred lifted a leg over the side and climbed in. She stood there for a moment. “Well, wasn’t this a compleate waste of ti—” Winifred began, but stopped, as she noticed that she was now somehow sinking.

From the far end of the room, Foxglove watched in horror as Winifred’s head sank below the water line. “Please!” Thought Foxglove “Drown! Let something have gone wrong! Please let something have gone horribly wrong!”

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