Ingrid leaves. I apologize to all her fans.
“Hate to break it to you, Ingrid, but your birthday was nearly 3 weeks ago” Numbuh one said quietly.
“I missed my birthday?” Ingrid asked almost silently.
“Yeah. But, hey, at least you got to kill some alternate universe monsters and stuff” Numbuh two lightly punched Ingrid’s arm, trying to cheer her up.
“So now that I’m a teenagery adolescent person, I can’t join?” Ingrid asked Numbuh 362.
“I’m sorry, but there’s no evil teenagers allowed in the Kids Next Door”
Numbuh 362 said.
“Bing’s not evil. Well, not much” Cadel said.
“C’mon, just once? Can’t you just break the rules for me ONCE?” Ingrid asked. Ingrid looked like she was about to cry.
“Sorry. But this is how it is” Numbuh 362 said.
“Does that mean that she gets to get Decommissioned? I mean, she technically never joined” Holly asked.
“I don’t think so, 59. Even if she did go running off to the TND, she wouldn’t be able to tell them much about us” Numbuh 86 said.
“Can I at least get a lift back home or something? I left my spaceship back in Havoc” Ingrid asked, staring at the floor.
“It’s okay, Bing. We’ll get you home” Lincoln said.
“I’m r-r-really gonna miss you guys!” Ingrid howled and burst out crying.
“Hey, Bing Bang, don’t cry. It’s okay” Cadel gave her a hug.
“I-I’m sorry that I spit on you” Ingrid wiped off her face with the heels of her hands.
“No big deal. You probably just advanced my immune system” Cadel joked, trying to cheer her up.
“I guess so” Ingrid hiccuped.
Ingrid looked at them all. “I’ll never forget you, Ingrid Michelson” Numbuh one promised, shaking her hand. “Right back atcha, my good man” Ingrid gave a small smile. “Bye, Ingrid. I’ll see you around, I guess” Holly said.
“Yeah, but you won’t see me, because I’ll be-”
“Deadly serious next time!” Both girls finished and laughed at their inside jokes.
Ingrid followed Holly to where the spaceship was. Ingrid fell behind, running her fingers over the walls of the moon base, which were all knobbly with pipes and wires.
“Ingrid? Where are you going?”
Ingrid turned around. Malcolm was standing in the middle of the hallway, looking at her.
“This is how I’ll remember him. Alone. Sad. Not quite getting it.” She thought.
“I’m leaving. I can’t join because I’m too old” Ingrid explained.
She turned to leave, but Malcolm caught her hand.
“You can not leave! Ingrid, I just feel so dark, sometimes, and I do not know exactly what I am doing because it is too dark to tell, like when I was strangling you? I did not know. I could not see you. You can not leave, because you are bright, you are so bright, and when you are around me, I can see, I can remember. You can not leave because I can not go back into the dark” Malcolm gripped onto Ingrid’s hand, not wanting to let her go.
“Love of mine, one day you will die, but I’ll be close behind. I’ll follow you into the dark” Ingrid recited.
“That is beautiful.”
“Why thank you.”
“I can’t, Malcolm. I can’t.”
Ingrid let go of Malcolm’s hands and left the KND. Malcolm watched her go, unsure of what to do or say. He glanced down at his hands, surprised to see that he had taken Ingrid’s problem stick out of her hands.
“Where were you?” Holly asked her when she saw her.
“Nowhere” Ingrid said.
Holly landed her spaceship at her clubhouse in sector VX. “Shame you can’t stay, really” Holly commented as she opened the door.
“Yeah. See you on the flip side, kiddo” Ingrid left without waiting for a reply.
Ingrid walked down the street, hands in her pockets. She felt around, looking for some money. She produced some coins. Ingrid counted them and then looked around.
A phonebooth sat across the street, looking tired and more worn out than she was.
Ingrid carefully crossed the street and got into the phonebooth.
She inserted her money and stood on her toes to press the numbers carefully.
The phone rang once, twice, three times.
Midway through the fourth ring, the other end picked up.
“Hello? What time is it? Who is this?” A sleepy voice on the other end of the phone inquired.
Ingrid leaned against the wall of the phonebooth.
“Hey, Trav. It’s me. Bing Bang. You ever hear of a comic called Havoc?”