Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Nocturnal Behaviour part 47; Price of the Barrowed Time - part 2

Mickey and Donald were very worried. It was past ten p.m already and the kids were still outside, somewhere. They shoul've been home at eight already and they always followed that rule about home coming times.
Goofy came out just at the same time, as the children that came running to the yard from the broken fence of the old apartmentbuilding. All of the children looked pale and exhausted.
Goofy noticed right away that his son wasnt with them. He asked where the boy was, Clarabelles son was first to respond, as he was the oldest of the remaining children.
"We dont know, we havent seen him."
The other children were looking down at their feet, closing their mouths as they almost had revealed the terrible thruth.
Mickey and Donald shooed their small ones towards home and the others scattered on their way too.
Goofy stayed, standing in the yard, pondering about his sons whereabouts.

At home, when Donald was tugging his twins to bed for the night, he realised the siblings were acting odd. He was just covering his son when he burst out in tears, crying out hopelessly. He told the whole horrible story to Donald, and that Clarabelles son had told them to keep their mouths shut about the thruth. That no one would believe that such things had happened. The girl just shook in her bed, petrified in horror, nodding silently to every turn in the story, proving every word right.

Donald and Daisy called the other parents. After some interrigations, every children told the same unbelieveable story. Goofys son had not yet turned in either and no one had seen him. But that story.. it was just too fantastic to believe. Clarabelle didnt believe a word off it. Gladstone Ganger suggested that perhaps the kids had been playing in the dangerous house.. that maybe, just maybe Goofys son had fallen down through a floor. Everyone was horrified.
They chose Mickey to find the thruth out, as he was the smallest and the most resourceful of them. He would fit perfectly through smaller openings and if anyone could find him, he could.

But he could not find him. Not even the staircase that lead to the attic. But Mickey did feel the lingering, malicious presence in the abandoned theater. In a way Mickey had to just believe the story, as unpossible it sounded - since he too had heard the same stories as a younger mouse. That theater had been empty for a looooong time. Once it had been the jewel of the town, sold-out shows, countles star actors and endless reviews that phraised the shows. It had started out slowly.. accidents, odd misshappenings and tragic things that finally lead to the fact that no one wanted to work there. People were talking about evil forces, ghosts, hauntings, you named it, they talked about it.
Finally there was no point to put out shows, there were not enough people to work, not enough people to come and see the plays. They closed up the theater, boarded the doors and windows, forgot about it and left it all to rot and waste away, only the rumours lingered.
But there defeneatly was something. Mickey could feel it in his backbone and he was sure, it wasnt going to let him find that staircase and the way to the attic.

Mickey had to tell the bad news to Goofy, that was trying to convince himself that the boy was only lost in woods or had gone with the bigger boys and had lost himself to the backstreets of Duckburg. Mickey saw the desperation glowing in Goofys dark eyes and could not help himself.
"He will turn up, one way or the other, I will find him."
Mickey didnt want to tell Goofy that the boy was surely in that theater, that the children had told the thruth. The other grownups wouldnt believe. But Mickey.. he had been there, felt the place out. Mickey also knew, that he could not regard himself as a good friend unless he did everything in his power to bring Goofys son back home, even his corpse.

Mickey knew he would need help with this, that he was facing something supernatural, that the help would need to be the same supernatural origin.
When he was searching for knowledge he came upon some stories about a witchwoman, and old lady who lived in a forest between Duckburg and Goosetown. She lived in a cabin that was at a lakeshore.
Mickey got a ride from a nice guy who was delivering groceries to Goosetown. Alltho Mickey didnt know where exactly the witchwoman lived, he counted on his good luck.

Approximately halfway the road Mickey saw it. Something was glimmering through the trees and bushes in the middays sunshine, and he glimpsed a vague image of a narrow path just behind the bushes and smaller trees. Mickeys gutfeeling told him that it was what he was searching for. He thanked the driver and got out of the car. He went back the road and searched until he found the path.
The path snaked through the forest, leading him to the lake. An old, white haired lady was standing on the shore, next to a sittingswing. The lady was smiling invitingly.
"You must be Mickey Mouse, and you want something from me."
Mickey was speechless. The lady seemed harmless and Mickey sat to the swing, beconed by the woman.

Mickey was just about to start his incredible story when three middleaged women came from the forest to the lakeshore. They were talking happily, laughing and being silly and they gave large amounts of money to the old lady who took the bills, smiling approvingly.
"Are you here for the witch 101- course too?" The three ladies asked Mickey.
Mickey felt his heart sink to his stomach. The old witchwoman was hoax. This whole thing was utterly useless and ridicilous. Mickey wasnt going to get the help he needed. For some unknown reason he just nodded grumbily and stayed for the lesson. It was a whole lot of superstition and a whole lot of rubbish and he only paid attention halfheartedly. After the lesson the old witchwoman came to Mickey.
"Choose one rock of all these. And make an amulet of this for yourself. Every student needs to have an amulet." The woman was handing him a black bag full of different kind of rocks and an old, silver pocketwatch.

Mickey drew a deep breath and chose a palm-sized, black and slim rock and hung the pocketwatch to a measuring tape he found from his pocket and put the pocketwatch with that around his neck. The old witchwoman smiled approvingly and the three ladies clapped exitedly. Mickey was pissed.
At last the lesson was over and the three ladies went on their way back to Goosetown. Mickey turned to leave but he helf turned back to take a final look of the old woman. He saw her opening a calendarbook and scribing something in there. On this day, which was wednesday, the woman wrote MICKEY MOUSE with big, black letters, drew a black line through thursday to friday and drew a upside down cross there.

Mickey could feel his heart sinking even lower this time. He understood it right then. The old woman wasnt a hoax, he understood the meaning of the cross.
On friday Mickey Mouse would die.
The witch looked up to him, grave look on her wrinkled face, sad look in her eyes.
"You are going in to meet your opponent, arent you?" The witch asked him.
Tears were running down Mickeys face when he turned to leave.
"I have no choise."
The witch shook her head, not saying another thing and closed her book.

Mickey lifted back to Duckburg, squeezing the black stone in his hand. He had to believe it had some meaning, it all.

It was thursday evening when Mickey got back home. There was no sign of Goofys son still and Goofy himself was a wreck. His son was all he had left, with his mother dying to childbirth and all.
Mickey watched his sleeping son, with a aching heart. He had made a promise and he was going to keep it, even at the prospect of making his son loose a father.
Mickey grabbed Minnies hand at the door and told her not to follow him. That she should just wait for him to come back to her.
He closed the door and started at the theater.

The whole theater was dark when Mickey got there. The evil in there, the malicious presence had changed, now it was more present and alive. The whole place seemed to wake to a unholy life, breathing and moving in the shadows. Mickey was terrified, but the memory of Goofys face, tearstreaked and stressed was enough to push him on.
He was going to find that staircase, he was going to find Goofys son.
He lost all track of time in there, but he finally found it. The stairs rose steep to the darkness that loomed up ahead. Just at the last second he remembered the two broken stairs, escaping a fall into the unknown dark in the nick of time. He stopped to catch his breath, heart pounding in his chest. The walls seemed to tremble lightly, warning him not to proceed. He could almost hear a windlike voice, barely reminding a laughter travelling through the space.
Mickey climbed the stairs stubbornly.

Mickey crawled to the small room under the collapsed doorway. The pressure in the air was a horrible weight on Mickey, but he knew he could not give in. He had to solve this. At least Goofys son wasnt in this room.
Mickey glanced at the old painting suspectingly. The eyeholes seemed to stare at him looking almost hostile as he got closer to it.
Mickey took a peek through to the dressing room.

The room was in perfect disarray. It looked like there was a hard wind blowing through the room. The real-sized marionette doll was spinning in its strings wildly, its terrible eyes staring at Mickey helplessly. The dolls mouth was moving slowly, altho it was moving so fast, singing the same melancholic song.
Mickey was squeezing the stone in his hand in terror and a booming, nearly demonic voice rang through the theater, hurting Mickeys ears.
The marionette stopped its spinning, but its head kept on going round and round, squeaking rustedly. Marionettes mouth was now wide open and a narrow, barely heareable screaming rose from its maw. The milky glasseyes wept streams of blood down the wooden, worn face.

Suddenly Mickey felt something icecolf grabbing his legs, pulling him down to the floor, through it, down to a gap that travelled throught the buildings walls, down down down, he fell, unable to slow down, the horrible noise ringing in his ears.
Finally he fell to a musty, old basement. The disgusting smell seeped even through his hand and made him gag. It was heavy and heedy. He could see the shape of Goofys son in the corner of the room and he stumbled to him. The boy was alive, but unconsious.
Miskey took a glance around the small space. There was no other way out than the black hole in the low ceiling.
The room was filled with filth, dust and mounds of old clothes. At first he didnt see it, but then he saw the gaping hole that had been dug through the cementfloor. At the base of the pit was scattered with human bones and rags and one skull.
The whole room vibrated with a low growl that rose from the skull.

At first Mickey thought that the voice came from the skull. He creeped closer to the skull, fear pounding in his head, his hand squeezing the black rock as hard as he could. He grabbed the skull and pulled hard.
It rose amazingly light, and Mickey fell on his back.
The terrible smell lashed him and Mickey wretched. The skull revealed a narrow, just handsized hole under it that went into a darkness that oozed such a mindblowing, disgusting evil that you could feel the pressure in every cell.
Some distressed figment of Mickeys intuition told him to put the stone into the hole. As soon as the thought passed through his head, a voice rose from the hole, curses, threaths, pure, verbal evil in work.
The hole pushed out also a pressure, first sucking the air in, then pushing it up and out, trying to keep everything out of its way. Mickey grasped the first things possible, bones and rags and started to grind them to the hole with violence. The urgency in that panicstricken moment had no real room for fear he probably should have felt.
He was fighting the energy from the hole, pushing stuff down the hole, trying to get the stone inside as well. The voice grew suddenly even louder, and black pus started to ooze through the hole, stinking so vile and unimaginably grose Mickey wanted to scream. Black pus sloshed with hostility from the edges, staining his hands.
With some luck Mickey managed to grind the stone to the hole.

The stone fell into the abyss and the whole building shifted. And began to shake. Mickey ran for Goofys son, grabbing him and throwing him over his shoulder and he begun to climp up the hole in the ceiling, fighting his way up to the attic with the dead weight of the kid with him. The whole theater was shaking and trembling wildly and the demonic sound was screaming out in pain. Mickey could smell the smoke in the air and he knew that there was a fire somewhere in the building.
He barely made his way with all the shaking going on and managed to push through the trapdoor at the floor of the atticroom.
Flames were licking the walls in the attic and the whole building creeked and howled in agony. Mickey knew there was something terrible going to happen and soon.

He barely managed to push the boy and himself through the collapsed doorway into the frontroom and was utterly confused to see Minnie there. She was crying and howling and Mickey recodnised that sound. It was the same sound he had heard when the marionette had been screaming. That had been Minnie all along. The reason why Minnie had followed was a total mystery and just as indifferent to him. He had to get Minnie and the boy to safety.
Minnie was pointing at the window in distress.

Mickey lunged to the window and was shocked to see the whole theater building was shaking itself from its bases, rising to air. Flames were licking the outer walls of the building now too. He could see Donald, Daisy, Goofy and all the others down at the street, hollering and waving to the neighbours to bring covers and sheets. Mickey understood what they were trying to do.

Mickey started to rip the board off the windowsils, ignoring the sharp nails that tore his hands open. He broke the glass off the window with a plank, making it safe to pass through. The whole building was high in the air already. Donald and gang were streatching a large cover between them down in the street. Gyro was signing them to jump. Mickey threw Goofys son first, and the boy fell like a stone through the air, landing safely on the cover. Minnie didnt want to jump but Mickey didnt take no for an answer, he half pushed her through the window and Minnie fell flailing wildly and screaming as she went.. she fell.. fell... fell... and the others catched her.

Mickey took a breath and breathed it out. He had done what he had promised. The whole building started to rattle and flail around madly, and Mickey could hear the demonic sound screaming that it was going to take him with him to its doom, as the last evil act, as the last sacrifice.
Mickey glanced down.
The theater had moved further, away from the street, to an unknown destination. The figures of his friends had grown small, he could barely hear them. Mickey didnt want to die with the evil of the theater. He also knew the fall would kill him. Mickey looked to the horizon. The sun was rising up. It was friday already.
Mickey jumped.


At the same moment as Mickey jumped, the whole building started to crackle and shake, absorbing into itself, into a dimensional portal, where Mickey had pushed the stone in. The whole huge, burning building vanished into itself with loud creeking and bursting. If Mickey would have doubted even a second it would have taken him to its demise.


It would be a perfect ending for a story. But it wasnt.
Mickey jumped and landed to a mound of packing boxes behind a warehouse, and survived. He got away with the fall with some broken bones, dislocated shoulder, the cuts in his hands and a concussion.
When Mickey woke at the hospital he asked for his amulet, the old pocketwatch. The watch had stopped to the exact moment that friday morning when Mickey had jumped. The amulet had worked, Mickey was living on a barrowed time.

It would be nice to hear that everything was fine after that. That the characters in the story lived happily ever after, but that wasnt the case at all. Mickey got a second chance, life on barrowed time but the price was high.
The black pus that had oozed through the hole had seeped into Mickey, corrupting him. Mickey became a dark person, depressed and an alcoholic, even violent. Mickey knew, that what he'd done was heroic, but he still lived his life unhappy and tormented. He tried his best as a father and a husband, but Minnie suffered just as well. Seeing a man he loved suffer so was a unbearable pain, as it was for their son also.

It would have been nice, if Goofys son would have gotten away with the events. But as it was, he was scarred with the traumatic events also. He became a troubled teen, hard to handle, if not impossible. The sorrow he cause for his father was hard. He drinked and brawled, caused trouble in everywhere he went.

Would they have survived with less pain if the evil in the theater would have been able to keep Goofys son as the last sacrifice? Goofy would have suffered, but time would have healed his wounds, and same would have gone for the others. Now the friends had to live with the consiquences of Mickeys actions. The promise that in the end included so many people in it. And the witchlady?
Oh she knew the price of the possibility she made possible. Why wouldnt she had? She did ask Mickey, if he was going to fight. Mickey had the freedom to choose. Even as he didnt know the true cost of his decisions.


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