Lincoln faces his own horrors. And stuff. Kind of badly written.
Lincoln ruined the moment by running into a tree.
He followed it up with a string of curse words.
“Be any more unprofessional?” Holly asked, looking back at him. “This is why we don’t let the blind people on the Hoverboards” Malcolm quipped. “Shut up!” Lincoln snarled.
Everybody giggled but didn’t say anything.
The Menagerie sprung out of nowhere, a mass of dark shapes in the black sky. Lincoln started to take deep breaths.
“Chill, dude. We’re here” Numbuh five said, coasting up beside him.
Numbuh one shifted his weight forward. He loved Hoverboarding. You couldn’t go very high off the ground but you went fast. Numbuh one leaned forward more and pulled away from the group. “Careful. If your board overheats from you going too fast, the engine will melt and your Hoverboard will catch on fire. If you burn through your board, then you don’t get a new one!” Ingrid called. Numbuh one slowed down.
The shape of tents and rides popped up like a picture book.
“Sort into teams. Cadel’s with me” Numbuh 59 slowed down and took one foot off her Hoverboard. Malcolm grumbled a bit, but took Numbuh 5 as backup. Numbuh one took Ingrid as his backup, and Lincoln said he was perfectly adept by himself, thank you very much.
“Let’s go this way!” Ingrid called. The Menagerie was dark and eerie, and any small movement could be hostile, but Ingrid’s incessant chatter helped fill the silence.
“Shh!” Numbuh one hissed, but glided after her on his hoverboard down the maze of tents.
There was a stage in the middle of the path. On the stage was a glass box full of unnaturally blue water.
Ingrid eased her hoverboard up the stage and looked into the box.
“Nigel! Nigel come see! It’s Creepy!” Ingrid called.
Numbuh one got off his hoverboard and ran over to the Box. Cupping his hands around his eyes and peering in, he could see what Ingrid was talking about.
A girl with black hair floated in the box, hair streaming around her like a mermaid’s. She wasn’t breathing, and her loose green clothes billowed in the water like an open parachute frozen in time.
Green. No. Not good.
“Numbuh three!” Numbuh one gasped.
“Dude. You know her?” Ingrid asked.
“She-she-she’s on my team! Sector V! We’ve got to get her out!” Nigel yelled, pounding on the box.
“Watch what a Little Cherry can do” Ingrid said, pulling out a bright red Cherry bomb. Ingrid fixed the bomb to the glass. She pressed the center of the bomb and backed up. Numbuh one followed suit.
The entire box exploded, even better, even cooler than Numbuh two’s 2x4 technology. Cadel was awesome. The murky water shot everywhere and evaporated instantly.
Numbuh three lay in the middle of the wreckage. Ingrid flew back on her hoverboard and shook Numbuh three awake.
“Huh? What? What just happened?” Numbuh three slurred as she snapped out of it. She looked around at the stage and the broken glass, at the Menagerie, and at Ingrid and her hoverboard.
“What’s going on?” Numbuh three asked finally.
“Relax, child. Welcome to Havoc. It’s an alternate universe that exists inside a comic book. You are not insane” Ingrid pulled Numbuh three up onto her hoverboard, adjusting her own weight so that the board would hold two of them.
“Oh. Kay.” Numbuh three said slowly.
Then from on the other side of the Menagerie, something blew up.
“That was easily the most amazing thing I have ever seen ever!” Numbuh two screamed. “You could’ve blown us up, Cadel! Whot were you thinking?” Holly screeched. “I was thinking that showing off wouldn’t hurt. It’s just a couple Cherry bombs, Holly. You detonate those all the time” Cadel wiped dirt off his face. Cadel had simultaneously blown up five cherry bombs purely because Numbuh two had dared him to do it. Cadel had found Numbuh two locked in an empty cage under the biggest tent in the centre of the Menagerie. Holly grumbled something about being surrounded by idiots, but let the two techo-geeks have their fun.
Lincoln muttered curses as he cut the final string.
Numbuh four fell to the ground. “Ow! Who’re you?” he asked, staring at Lincoln. “You know who I am, Ignorant child. I am Lincoln Pierce, your cousin’s boyfriend” Lincoln smirked. “No! Really? No! Seriously?” Numbuh four followed Lincoln. “Psych!” Lincoln yelled. “Don’t do that!” Numbuh four said, laughing.
“Lincoln? Is that my unfinished puppet? You’re a horrible child then, and you’re even worse now”
a creaky voice called, with a dragging sound behind it.
Lincoln’s face went from joking to fear. He put a finger to his lips and pulled Numbuh four down behind one of the many tables that was in the Puppet master's tent. Lincoln looked down the row, and after seeing it was clear, did a tuck-and-roll to the other side. Numbuh 4 copied him.
“What’re we-” Numbuh four started to say, but Lincoln punched him and shook his head.
A hand landed on Lincoln’s shoulder, and another hand clamped over his mouth.
Numbuh four was relieved to see the short blonde pigtails of his favourite cousin.
Lincoln was less than pleased.
“Two friends, Lincoln? Matilda would have been so happy. Where are you, my puppet?” the voice called again.
“Go” Holly mouthed at them.
Lincoln shook his head. “I’m not leaving you here” He mouthed back to Holly.
“I’ll be fine. Go. Just go” Holly mouthed and gave Lincoln a small shove.
Lincoln looked sadly at Holly “Holly, I really want you to know that I am-” Lincoln whispered, but Holly punched him.
“There you are” the voice called.
Holly gave Lincoln and Numbuh four a final shove and the two of them fell out of the tent.
Lincoln stood up and started to walk away from the Puppet Master’s tent. He stared down at his feet and walked slowly.
Numbuh four watched him. “You can’t leave my cousin there!” He called.
“Watch this” Lincoln called back.
“You’re not giving up, are you?” Numbuh four ran to catch up.
Then something howled, followed by a screech of metal-on-metal.
“Clearly, somebody in a high position of power hates me” Lincoln muttered.
“Whot was that?” Numbuh four asked, shaking.
“Something that loves to eat children. I’m not leaving Holly here. I’m not leaving you here. We’re all in this together, even though I probably just gave myself an allergic reaction from that Cliché” Lincoln said, pulling out his whip.
Numbuh four grinned. He liked violence.
The two boys snuck back to the Puppet master’s tent.
Numbuh four could hear humming.
Lincoln looked like he was going to be sick.
Numbuh four dived into the tent.
Near the back of the tent, a wooden figure sat on a bench, hunched over a table. “My pretty puppet, you’re much better than Lincoln was” it crooned.
Lincoln took a step back.
Numbuh four glared.
Lincoln took two steps forward.
“Put her down” Lincoln snarled, ready to spring.
The wooden figure straightened up.
“Lincoln. I never finished your eyes. It’s so nice of you to come back so I can finish them” it said.
“Shut up!” Lincoln snarled.
“Matilda loves you” it whispered.
Lincoln swore and launched himself at the Puppet Master.
Lincoln knocked over the Puppet Master and Numbuh four finally saw what he looked like.
The Puppet Master looked like a puppet that had been held underwater too long. It’s face was warped, with sunken holes where the eyes should be. It’s fingers were knobbly and warped, bunched over each other like claws.
Lincoln stood up and ran to the table. He lifted up what the Puppet Master had been working on.
“Get me a knife!” Lincoln screamed.
Numbuh four grabbed a knife off a nearby table and handed it to him.
Lincoln sunk the blade into the puppet’s face, slitting out eyes, and then a mouth.
The puppet breathed.
Numbuh four tried to get a look at whatever it was.
It was Holly.
Her pigtails had been undone, and she was wearing a pink dress and pearls.
She looked at Lincoln, at her cousin, then down at herself.
“Why am I in a dress?”