The effects of Black paint are truly recognized, and we're almost done the story.
“You have failed!” Other Numbuh one hissed.
Ingrid, who was standing near the back of the group, curled her hand over the handle of her problem stick.
“Ahh!” Lincoln screamed, as his double lunged at him. “Quit moving! I don’t want to make a mess” Other Lincoln said maliciously. Other Lincoln swiped again and shredded Lincoln’s jacket. “No! I loved this jacket! I had it since I was seven!” Lincoln screeched.
Other Lincoln sighed, and planted his foot in the middle of Lincoln’s chest.
“Farewell, Lincoln. May you die a slow and painful death”
Other lincoln pushed his foot forward and Lincoln toppled off the walkway.
“I don’t understand. How?” Cadel asked, trying to put some distance between himself and the humanization of all his past mistakes. “Because you’re an idiot, that’s why you don’t understand” Other Cadel smashed his fist down onto a circuit board, breaking it and sending sparks everywhere. Cadel flinched, and saw Numbuh two hiding under a nearby table.
Numbuh two slowly pointed across the room, to an area in between two machines covered in dials.
Cadel followed it and saw a short, squat cylinder sitting on the ground. Cadel squinted, and figured out immediately what it was.
His odds had just gone up.
Ingrid looked frantically around the hallway. There was no way that she could fight her way out. No way that they could outrun them.
Oh this’d be one for the books.
“EVERYBODY RUN!” Ingrid screamed and shoved them all forward.
Everybody stampeded and the Childcatchers were too slow to react.
“What the heck!” Other Numbuh five exclaimed.
“Keep going, and watch where you step” Ingrid ordered.
“C’mon! Let’s kill them all!” One of the Childcatchers shouted.
Other Lincoln laughed maniacally, almost perfectly too, like he’d been practicing. He stared at his hand, waiting for it to fade away and signify that his job was done.
Other Lincoln’s evil laugh degraded into a snarl. He shook his hand from side to side, as if it would finally work and clear it.
“It’s not an Etch-a-Sketch, my fake evil twin”
Other Lincoln looked down over the side of the walkway. Lincoln was about a jump below him, standing on another, parallel walkway.
“Surprise” He called.
The duplicate snarled angrily and jumped down onto the walkway.
Lincoln grinned. He wasn’t planning on going down without a fight.
“How could you’ve figured all this out?” Cadel asked, trying to look as non-threatening as possible. “It wasn’t that hard. You can’t do anything. Remember that one time that you almost drowned at summer camp? Nobody wanted to be your friend after that. Heck, nobody wants to be friends with you. You spend all your time holed up in your room tinkering with gadgets that you stole from all over your house instead of being outside!” Other Cadel seemed to be going into a monologue.
Cadel didn’t mind. He inched across the floor, headed for the cylinder that would win him the fight.
“You couldn’t even keep your parents together”
“Say that to my face” Cadel spat.
“I said, that you couldn’t even keep your par-”
“SHUT UP!” Cadel roared, throwing a rock from his pocket at his evil counterpart.
“Oh, you’re ready to fight now? Use that big kid intellect of yours for something other than plots and garbage weapons” Other Cadel asked, sliding out his nails.
Cadel faltered. He hadn’t planned for this.
Cadel dashed madly to the side, in between the two machines.
“Oh Cadel, don’t hide. That’s an icky way to go out” Other Cadel said.
Where was it? It was right here a second ago...
“Here I come! One step, two step, three step, four step..” Other Cadel singsonged.
Cadel pried the lid of the cylinder off with his fingernails, and turned around.
Other Cadel had raised his hand above his head, sure he would win.
Cadel tossed the contents of the Cylinder on his childcatcher.
Other Cadel froze, staring down at his formerly white shirt.
Black paint crawled up Other Cadel’s arm and down his leg.
“I don’t believe it” he whispered.
“Believe it” Cadel whispered.
The black paint spread over Other Cadel’s face and the collapsed in on itself, swallowing him as if he never was.
“Ingrid! Dead end!” Nigel shouted.
“Nobody stepped on any black tiles, right?” Ingrid asked.
“Ingrid, you are, officially the second coolest person Numbuh five has ever met” Numbuh five proclaimed.
“First being yourself, right? It’s good to know you’re humble” Ingrid joked.
Other Ingrid finally rounded the hallway. Black paint was spreading up her leg, but she didn’t notice. “I finally caught you. You’re cornered” She hissed.
“Right” Ingrid said.
“Where’s everyone else?” Numbuh one asked.
Other Ingrid looked behind her.
“Father painted the tiles with black paint, thinking that we’d be stupid enough to walk on them. You fell for it, but we didn’t. I feel really cool right now” Ingrid explained.
Other Ingrid looked down, and saw that the black paint had spread over her legs and had reached the bottom of her ribs.
“What’re you going to do with yourself, Bing? You can’t go home, not to pageants and the safety of normal life. You love living here, even more than earth, and what’re you going to do when earth rejects you?” Other Ingrid hissed. The black paint had spread up her torso.
“What?” Ingrid asked.
“You heard me. You can’t face getting up day after day to so the same boring thing day after day and this world is different. You could die at a moment’s notice, and you love that. You love knowing that there’s no repetition” Black paint flowed into other Ingrid’s mouth and poured out her tear ducts.
“Yeah, well when I leave, I’m not coming back, so there!” Ingrid shouted.
“We’ll see about that, won’t we?” Other Ingrid whispered, and then she was gone.
Lincoln got hit in the face.
It hurt a lot.
Other Lincoln opened his mouth wide, preparing to bite down on Lincoln’s neck.
Not this time.
Lincoln sank one of his fingers into Other Lincoln’s uncovered eye.
Other Lincoln howled in pain and let go.
Lincoln fell back to the walkway and tried to ignore how high up he was.
He backed up, trying to formulate a plan that didn’t involve him dying.
Other Lincoln looked up. His eye was in bad shape.
However, Lincoln mused, it was probably better than his left eye.
“What’re you grinning for? I’ll give you something to smile about!”
“Oh, is it a joke? I like jokes!”
“You’re a joke.”
“Technically, since you’re part of me, that makes you a joke as well” Lincoln countered. So this is what it felt like to be Cadel.
Other Lincoln ran fast up the walkway.
Lincoln spotted another walkway below the one he was currently on.
He closed his eyes and counted the seconds to impact. He got to four before he landed.
Lincoln misjudged his landing wrong and turned his ankle.
Lincoln swore and struggled to get back up.
He felt Other Lincoln land on his back, his face slamming into the grille of the walkway painfully.
“This time, Link, you’re not getting away” He heard Other Lincoln hiss.
Other Lincoln flipped him over and reached into a pocket in his jacket.
Lincoln tried to make sense of the situation, tried to focus. The pain is his ankle was making everything hard to focus on.
“Holly?” Lincoln murmured.
“Dead.” Other Lincoln stated.
No. No way. Not his girlfriend.
Other Lincoln found what he was looking for and pulled it out of his pocket.
It was a sewing needle, with black thread looped through it.
“Don’t! No! Don’t! Stop it! I’ve already lost one eye!” Lincoln shrieked, trying to fend off his Childcatcher.
“Hey. Don’t worry. It’ll only hurt for a second. Then you won’t feel anything anymore” Other Lincoln jabbed with the needle, trying to hook it into Lincoln’s skin.
Lincoln knew that if he let this happen, he’d become like all the other puppets. Never feeling anything, never needing to eat or sleep or tell the difference between hot or cold.
He’d lose Holly.
Lincoln reached for Other Lincoln’s throat. He caught Other Lincoln’s windpipe in his fist and squeezed.
Other Lincoln sputtered and dropped the needle, sending it clattering through the slats of the walkway.
Lincoln threw Other Lincoln over the walkway.
Other Lincoln landed on a new shipment of comics. He looked to his side, at one of the pages.
There he was, and in the next panel, it showed something heavy and mechanical.
Other Lincoln looked up just in time for the binding press to land on him.