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Week 293
You are on Week 294
Week 295

Every week we will be starting a new Story Telling competition - with great prizes! The current prize is 2000 NP, plus a rare item!!! This is how it works...

We start a story and you have to write the next few paragraphs. We will select the best submissions every day and put it on the site, and then you have to write the next one, all the way until the story finishes. Got it? Well, submit your paragraphs below!

Story Two Hundred Ninety Four Ends October 13

*ZAP!*

Samara cranked one eye open and glanced down. She breathed a sigh of relief at the sight of her familiar Usul paws, which remained unaffected (apart from having a more pleasant blue and pink tinge). So far, so good. She cranked open the other eye and glanced behind her. Her bushy tail was still there, also pale blue and pink.

"So I'm a striped Usul now," she said aloud. "Not too bad."

Without warning, a body slammed into her from behind, knocking her off balance. The Scorchio in charge of the Lab Ray was suddenly there, shoving the Usul into a side room before she could even manage to realise what was happening.

"WHOOPS!" he screeched from the other side while locking the door.

Samara gaped as she glanced at all the Neopets in the room staring back at her.

"What... what did he do that for?!" she cried, as a sense of indignation overcame her shock.

"There must be something wrong with you," said a small Bori to her left.

"There is nothing wrong with me!" Samara huffed crossly.

"There must be," the Bori replied. "That's the only reason he'd lock you up in here..."

Author: Mutant Editor
Date: Oct 6th
"...where he hides his mistakes."

Samara looked down at herself again. Still her own paws. Still her own tail. Still the new pastel stripes. "I don't see anything wrong with me," she said. She eyed the Bori. "I don't see anything wrong with you either, for that matter!"

He ducked and twitched his tail, but didn't answer. Samara looked around. "I don't see what the mistake is," she said a bit crossly. She felt more than a bit cross, but thought it was probably not really justified to take it out on the other Neopets who had probably suffered the same fate as her. Whatever that was. "Aside from imprisoning us, you know."

"You'll figure it out before long," predicted a blue Scorchio gloomily.

Samara rubbed her forehead, frustrated. "I don't--"

She stopped. That had felt really weird.

She moved her paw cautiously across the center of her forehead a little more. It felt remarkably like...

...like...

...like rubbing....

"An eye," said the Bori, softly and sadly, as Samara blinked and squinted and opened her new third eye for the first time.

"Okay," Samara said slowly, swallowing hard as her stomach turned over. "I guess I see now."

There was a general silence.

After a moment the Bori said reproachfully, "That was a terrible pun."

"I know." Samara patted him on the back and discovered that his shell was much softer than it probably ought to be. He smiled ruefully at her. "Well," she said briskly, trying to focus on the pressing part of the situation, "I guess you've all tried the obvious ways to get out before, but what are they?"

They stared at her. "Shouldn't you be a little more freaked out?" the Scorchio asked.

"Other Usuls have survived with three eyes... I want to get out of here, so I figured I'd ask."

"Um...." There was some shuffling. Eventually the Bori said, "I don't think there is any way out except the door, and that's got him on the other side of it."

"Okay," Samara said, "so you've tried jumping him when he pushes somebody through? Wedging it open?"

She wished they'd quit staring at her like that. She stared back grumpily with all three eyes.

"He's scary," the Scorchio ventured after a moment.

"Have you ever seen what happens if he wants the Lab Ray to do bad things?" the Bori added.

Samara thought of sitting down and putting her paws over her eyes, but didn't have enough paws anymore. After a moment she did it anyway and used her tail for the extra. "Well, how about trying it anyway?"

* * * * *

To her surprise, they agreed, and they waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Samara began to wish she'd asked for some idea of how often he made a mistake, but by this point she was too embarrassed to ask. She'd almost forgotten the idea, lethargic with hunger and boredom, when she heard a thump and the door opened to admit an enormous, struggling Darigan Grarrl. "Hold the door!" Samara shrieked, lunging toward it.

The Grarrl roared. Samara collided with a hard-muscled belly and bounced off. Fortunately, however, once the Grarrl was no longer caught in the immediacy of surprise, the mad scientist was having some trouble with his bulk too. The Grarrl planted his feet and dug his claws into the door.

The Lab Ray Scorchio lunged at him with surprising strength.

The door ripped loose...

Author: schefflera
Date: Oct 9th
...There was silence for a moment. Samara and the other pets stared from the scientist to the Grarrl to the ex-door hefted easily in his claw.

The Grarrl was the first one to recover partially from his surprise. Turning to the Scorchio, he fiddled with an irreparably twisted hinge before offering, foolishly, “Oops.”

As if this was some kind of signal they had all been waiting for, all parties involved leaped into action. The pets inside the room surged forward into the main body of the lab, led by Samara and the soft-shelled Bori, while the scientist scrambled back toward the control panel of his Ray. “Get back, all of you, or I’ll fire!” he screeched, but the Grarrl, seeming to have finally grasped the situation in its entirety, would have none of it. Dropping the door, he placed one brawny shoulder against the side of the Ray and heaved - hard.

Samara winced at the incredible crash that followed, and her third eye shut itself involuntarily against the cloud of dust and debris that had been thrown up by the impact; when she looked back, it was clear that the Lab Ray would not be fired at any pet again, willing or not, for quite a while. Turning to her fellow escapees, and ignoring the enraged shrieks of the Lab Ray Scorchio, the Usul began to speak, feeling as though she should make a speech of some sort. “All right, well, that was simple, I guess... Does anyone have anything they’d like to say before we leave?” she added, feeling very silly.

As the scientist fumed and spat in his vain attempts to right his most prized invention, the group gave this some thought. Remarkably, they were not as desperate to leave as she had expected; seeing their captor disarmed seemed to suggest that they could afford to take their time. Eventually, a brown Korbat with abnormally large ears, even for her species, spoke up. “Well, I’d like to thank you, miss! We never would have gotten out of there if it wasn’t for you.”

Samara furrowed all three of her eyebrows at this. “Um... well, thanks, I guess, but it wasn’t exactly difficult, you know? I’m sort of surprised you hadn’t tried it before.” There was a general shrugging and nodding at this. “But if that’s it, I suppose we should all be going now.”

Was that really it? The whole thing was a bit anticlimactic, she thought... but then again, it was probably better this way. Her Meowclops would tear apart the house if she wasn’t home on time to feed it, and there was a sale on at the book shop that she’d really wanted to–

“WAIT! Hold it right there!”

No, of course not, the Usul reminded herself. Nothing was ever that conveniently simple. With a long-suffering sigh, she turned to the Lab Ray Scorchio, who had apparently given up his endeavor to budge the Ray from its current position and now stood pathetically in its remains. “What is it now?” she asked, trying to convey through tone of voice a mixture of irritation and impatience. The sooner she was out of there, the better; he’d already been enough of a bother. Not only had he locked her up against her will, but he’d single-handedly rendered useless every single pair of sunglasses that she owned.

Collecting what was left of his dignity, the Scorchio drew himself up and, unexpectedly, grinned at her, with an infuriating look of ‘I-know-something-you-don’t-know’ plastered across his face.

“I wouldn’t go out there if I were you...”

Author: _vespa
Date: Oct 10th
...Samara sighed. Simple; she'd give both her eyes for just one occasion of "simple," and the extra one besides. It occured to her to wonder if the Faerie Queen ever had moments like this. Then it occured to her that seeing as her own chances of being put in the Faerie Queen's position were obscenely bad, wondering it in the first place was merely wasting time. She had places to be. She had a booksale to get to.

"Why not?" the Usul asked wearily. Though she did her best to be polite, her eyes drifted of their own accord to follow the retreating backs of the other prisoners down the laboratory corridor.

His eyes rolled to stare into the midst of his head, veins strapped across their whites like harness straps. He spoke to no one, and she listened because she was just an Usul with three eyes and groceries to buy, which is nearly as good as being no one at all.

"Mess not with the forces of the born, lest the mother should chance to see! We are all her children. Curfew dawns, and the eraser descends! How many brushstrokes are too many? How many are enough? Smile for me, begged the artist; draw me a picture."

A few sentences in, Samara was already striding in hot pursuit of the other former prisoners. But at every step, she could feel the mad scientist's eyes menacing her back like dagger handles.

"Why do you always speak in half-truths, in foreign tongues!" the Usul burst at last, when she could no longer keep the question from welling in her heart. "Why can't you say something useful, just once?"

And as the passage swallowed her whole, the Scorchio smiled. The darkness of it followed at the heels of her mind, long into the light of the setting sun.

"Because I am a scientist, and no scientist in any land or form ever told anyone the truth if they could avoid it."

Sometime later, the mad scientist picked a scrap of metal from the scattered ruins of his creation, and began to build again.

* * * * * *

He's mad, Samara continued to reassure herself, sloped miserably beside a single lick of candleflame hovering above her desk. Petra, the Meowclops, lay wedged snugly between her feet. The warm bundle was a comfort, but the silence was not. He's mad, and doddering. It's no wonder his Lab Ray hasn't worked. He may once have been a genius, but he's lost it, probably forever.

Ah, but who can say his Lab Ray hasnt worked? Oh the treason, the treachery of a mind! The wicked thoughts, they wouldn't let her be. Who can say something with no purpose does not work? Perhaps its purpose would be to have no purpose, and then it would have worked very well.

The walls of her house seemed to listen, to move in.

Suddenly, the warmth disappeared from between her feet as Petra shot into the shadows that the candle hurled, spitting as though branded. The Petpet looked back once, briefly, then bared its fangs to her and fled into the bathroom.

"Petra?" Samara wondered, blinking her third eye in question. Strange. She's usually so calm. Better see what's wrong.

She levered herself from the chair, and promptly fell over. Samara glanced down, bewildered, before hauling that same gaze upward in a hurry. She hadn't seen that. No, she hadn't seen anything wrong, anything at all. She hadn't seemed the shriveled, scale-shocked legs that had taken the place of her own...

Author: missjessiegirl
Date: Oct 10th
...Samara struggled silently, helplessly, for a moment; the voice in her head that screamed vehement but entirely empty reassurances did nothing to stop the panic that caught in her throat. She hesitantly lowered her eyes, as if taking in the damage would be easier to bear if revealed slowly. Her teeth clenched.

Across her middle cut a ragged gash, like a doll that had been ripped apart and sewn together again, but without heart or purpose. The soft fur ended abruptly to become venom-hued scales that clung to one another like a suffocating armor.

A wound that had healed a broken scar.

Just as the Usul -- perhaps no longer -- began to work past her protective denial, her attention was drawn elsewhere. The upper right corner of her vision began to distort, blurring and shifting the contours of the candlelight that fell across it, and at that moment her rationality came to her; before anything else, the full extent of her condition must be assessed.

Of course, both (and in fact, more) of her eyes were still intact, and she failed to win that occasion of simplicity. She made to stand, but the unfamiliar muscles below her jerked and twitched, and with a sharp cry she was forced back down to the earth. She was not to be outdone, however. The Usul hissed between her teeth in frustration, grabbing a fistful of carpet and using it as leverage to drag herself forward, her hind limbs still kicking uselessly.

After a short bit of practice, her motion became more fluid, coordinated. Samara could soon manipulate her legs to push off the ground, and the distance to the bathroom was quickly consumed.

She met there, quite literally face to face, a growling Petra. The Meowclops backed into one of the corners with rising hackles, its escape cut off. To see her pet trembling, terrified of her, hurt Samara more than she could admit or even acknowledge.

Monster, the voice in her head whispered.

Samara clutched the sink and managed to claw her way into a standing position. Her new limbs wobbled, but held steady. The reflection she faced in the mirror solved the enigma of her sight.

A new eye had grown into the side of her head, but it was half-formed; the slick surface was clouded with a milky white, pupil-less and deformed. Samara clapped a hand over it in horror, and immediately the imperfections in her vision dissolved. Her third eye blinked serenely.

Samara fought to keep her breathing calm, casting about wildly for any solution to her dilemma. Each train of thought took her to the same location, though, and as much as she detested it, she knew there was only one place she could go...

Author: keikala
Date: Oct 11th
...It was hard to travel; she couldn't get the new eye to shut, and it constantly muddied her sight. Her new legs were weak and didn't seem to connect and respond to the rest of her body properly. And the looks she got... well, the less said about those, the better.

But she reached the island with the Lab Ray again at last and staggered inside the compound, hoping she would make it out again, preferably not as a sort of slithering slime.

The warping of her senses meant that it took a little while for her to register that no one seemed to have responded to her arrival. In fact, there didn't seem to be anyone around.

That was odd. She knew it was called a Secret Laboratory, but it really wasn't that much of a secret; there were usually plenty of Neopets in and out. There had been a whole line before; there had been all the Neopets in the room with her, and all the ones she'd warned off....

Had the warning been more effective than she realized? Or was there an out-of-order sign she'd missed?

She reached the room with the lab ray and realized that perhaps word had just gotten around that the thing was still broken. It was partly rebuilt, although (she squinted) she didn't think it was going to look quite the same when it was done.

"Hello?" she called at last. "I give up, I give in, I've come back. Why am I turning into a total freak, and can you fix it?"

There was a desperate rattling and pounding from a door on the opposite side of the room from the one she'd been locked into. "Help! Help me, please, for the love of Fyora! Let me out!"

Someone else trapped? Samara hurried over to the door (as best she could hurry on these legs, anyway) and managed to get it unlocked.

And backed away in alarm as a yellow Scorchio with swirly-mad eyes, heavy eyebrows, and a shock of white hair staggered out. "Thank you so much! Now, if you can help me catch that maniac--" He stopped, looking her up and down in sudden horror and sympathy. "Oh," he breathed. "What has he done to you...."

"Um," Samara said nervously. "He?"

"The imposter!" The yellow Scorchio paused, then took her by the arms and scooted her away from the door and over to a chair, where she sat, unwillingly grateful to get off her shrively legs. "I should explain."

"Definitely," Samara agreed.

"Quickly." The Scorchio looked around nervously. "Two weeks ago I was surprised and overpowered by a... a... a raving lunatic. Possibly a frustrated poet of some sort, from his phrasing. At any rate, he seems to have a grudge against science in general, or possibly just me, and has been running the lab ray entirely unscrupulously, with no regard for informed consent, systematic observation, or maintenance... the first of which is most appalling and the last of which is what has given rise to the problems you have, erm, experienced."

"You know," Samara said slowly, "I'd think you would be kind of hard to impersonate."

The yellow Scorchio grimaced. "He has stolen my coat, I'm not sure what he did to his eyes, and he would be wearing a wig except," and here he waved the odd device he'd been brandishing when she let him out, "that I managed to cobble together a small invention to give it a static charge and make it run away from him. We need to hurry, before he gets back."

Samara blinked three eyes at him, slowly, dizzily, and a bit out of sync. "Hurry and do what? ...Can you fix me?"

He stopped and gave her a sorrowful look. "I don't know," he admitted, the words sounding like a knell of doom to her ears. "I hope so. But that uncertainty, I'm sure you will agree, makes it all the more imperative that he be stopped before he finds a way to claim any more victims."

Samara gulped and started to nod, when a voice rang out like victory bells from the opposite side of the room.

"Ahaha, back again, I told you not to leave," said another crazed-looking yellow Scorchio. "No, no, he can't help you. Nor can the mother and nor can the born," he singsonged. "But I can..."

Author: schefflera
Date: Oct 11th
..."Grab him!" the yellow Scorchio urged softly as Samara turned. She looked backwards only once; enough to see the pleading in his whirlgig eyes. All semblance of dignity had fled to huddle in the corners of the laboratory, waiting for sunlight to come. "Grab him now! We can still fix you! Hurry."

The Usul looked from one Scorchio to his reflection. Original, imposter. Imposter, original. And again.

In a whisper that could have been the shush of the Laboratory Ray's beam slicing sweetly past, she said, "Yes. We will fix something."

In a movement too swift for two bodies sewn into one, the disfigured Usul slammed the original Scorchio to the laboratory floor. He gazed up at her, aghast, all words still twisting within the breath she had knocked from his lungs.

"You," Samara murmured, too tender. She menaced the scientist's chest with a talon. Faintly, she could hear the newly-arrived Scorchio humming madly in another language, but she did not turn. What did he matter now? "Imposter. Madman. Shabby planner."

He pleaded with her, quivering as her nails traced patterns across his coat. "What are you saying?" His eyes were bright with a feral fear. "He'll destroy us both, and all the others-"

"Don't you remember your mistake?" The Usul jabbed the blunt end of the instrument a bit further into his neck, watching the skin surrounding it pale as his blood fled from the cold hiss of iron. At her back, a sigh rose from the roulette of machines and gadjets; did they see it too?

Below her, the yellow Scorchio writhed, and gulped, and refused to look her in the eye. "What are you talking about?" he warbled. "Let me go, we have to stop him!" Ah, an hour ago, the tremolo would have suckered her like seaweed to the broad of a boat; but she knew better now.

The Usul mutant smiled. Perhaps it was merely the reflection of the mad scientist flittering about his projects, but for a moment, their knowledgeably crazed smiles were one and the same. "You called him a bad poet," Samara told the being pinned below her talon. She laughed, and the machines laughed with her. "You fool! He's always been a bad poet! I can't remember a day I've come in here that he hasn't bombarded me with some sonnet about Warfs, or cheeses, or both. Why do you think everyone hurries from this place so quickly after they've been zapped?" Once more, she jabbed him with the nails bestowed to her at his request. "Know your prey, else your prey knows you."

"And then who knows what happens when the mother turns her back!" chattered the scientist who now weaved among his creations, touching each as lovingly as a shepherd of his flock. But locked in a battle without words, neither of the other Neopets paid him any mind.

Eggshell eyes met destructive spirals. Neither would look away.

When at last Samara spoke, she could not have sworn that the words were her own at all; they might have been the machines'. "Show me who you really are."

At once, the pseudo scientist was upright and away, while the true scientist sat and grinned benignly at everything, and nothing at all. Samara watched as the doppelganger landed sweetly across the room, which shook with an impact that a mere Scorchio could never create. It had no eyes for its original; only for its experiment, whom it addressed as the scientist's image peeled from around it like a second skin. "Smart girl. But does knowing me shield you from what I truly am?"

And with that, its guise fell away to reveal...

Author: missjessiegirl
Date: Oct 12th
...a being undefined by words.

Perhaps it could have been given a name once, but its identity had long been rendered indistinguishable. The creature stretched its many limbs in an almost leisurely fashion -- a flurry of movement in itself, an animation of countless colors and disfigured shapes. The ghost of a predatory grin darkened its ragged face.

Samara's breath froze in her lungs; immediatly she saw herself in it. The same stitchmarks cut into its flesh, the same patchwork pieces twisted, grotesque and misshapen, to make it whole.

"You..!" she hissed, but the horror laced in her voice said everything for her.

The grin widened. "You," it said, simply. "Or at least," it continued, in a practical manner, "what you'll become, given the time."

"Why?"

It was all she could manage.

The creature seemed to pause at this, lifting a pale tentacle. It writhed and flicked with a mind of its own under its master's gaze. "I didn't mean for it to happen like this, of course."

Its voice softened. This was important to it; it was important to explain.

"When it did, I tried so many things. Tried to fix it. Eventually, the manifestations of my new science became too... numerous to reassure safety during my tests. I needed new subjects."

He gave her a very plain look that said quite clearly, 'you.'

Samara shook her head, closing three of her four eyes. Before she got a chance to voice the very insistant thoughts in her head, her advisary began again.

It made a motion forward, and its actions were suddenly sinister. "Don't worry," it assured her in very noncomittal way, "as soon as I discover the cure, you'll be allowed it as well. I'm sure you'll agree your best interest resides in complying to help me with my work."

It was then that Samara realized exactly the dangerous situation she was in. But before anything could be done, the creature discovered a complication in its plan, and Samara remembered that her plague was not unique...

Author: keikala
Date: Oct 12th
...The lab ray’s mistakes were returning, slowly filing back in through the cold metal doors of the lab, drawn as one to the only place they knew that might have the power to reverse the errors made, in more ways than one, by the ice-hearted mixture of creatures that represented Samara’s future.

“What is that thing?” a Bori said in alarm as he saw the cruel being. He was unmistakably the same one who had earlier escaped along with the many other experiments gone wrong, but something was different from when she’d last seen him. His shell, which had formerly been merely soft, now appeared to be almost oozing off his skin in a melting lump. And what had happened to his tail? It was a twisted rope of ridged skin covered in mean-looking spikes.

The jumbled would-be scientist recovered from its surprise, and a smile crossed its horrifyingly pieced-together face as it watched the deformed pets moving slowly into the lab, some looking humiliated, some frightened, others annoyed. Samara could see in the creature’s gleaming mismatched eyes that it was planning on making them all into subjects, testing on them time and time again until they all descended into freaks patched together from countless parts, becoming harder to cure the more they searched for one.

How many more transformations would they go through? What frightening, unearthly monsters would they emerge as at the end of it all? How could they go on any longer this way?

There must be a cure -- but Samara didn’t think this muddled patchwork creature was going to find it.

“No,” she said defiantly, looking into its wretched face. “If you went through so many experiments and found nothing, why should you force all these pets to undergo countless more, so they might all end up like you? Why should we surrender to your fate when we might still be able to save ourselves? I may end up turning into nothing but a giant eyeball, but --”

Her brave speech was interrupted by the real lab scientist exclaiming in glee, “My child! Return to your mother; play with the lightning!”

The misshapen creature hissed. Samara followed its gaze to the yellow Scorchio, who was standing in the broken pieces of the partially-rebuilt lab ray. “Look what Mommy found in the closet!” he laughed, lovingly stroking a familiar-looking silver machine.

The Lab Ray. The real Lab Ray.

Two scientists. One mad, one even more crazed. Two scientists, two machines.

The truth began to dawn on Samara. “Tricking the innocent lunatic into doing your experiments for you?” she spat at the multicolored being before her.

Its many tentacles, arms, legs, and tails shuddered in anger. “My ray was better than his,” it seethed.

Two scientists, two rivals.

“It always was! Mine was unique; no result was the same. His was sickeningly dull. Mine only needed a few tests, perhaps a few adjustments to ensure the safety of it… but his inferior ray got all the fame, all the money, and I was left in the cold, unable to afford any subjects to experiment on, and in too fragile a state to do any more tests on myself. It was frustrating... frustrating,” the contending scientist whispered. It grinned maliciously. “But I know you’re willing to help me rebuild my ray and get it running again. The effects of its earlier zap on you won’t be wearing off anytime soon.”

“I can fiiiix yoooou!” the Lab Scorchio sang in a high, off-key voice. The brown Korbat with abnormally large ears (which seemed to have doubled in size since Samara had seen her last) cringed.

Samara stared at the unreal creature standing before her, abstractly thrown together from bits and pieces of other beings and held together by those flimsy stitch marks. A fragile state, indeed; if the twisted creature’s body changed one more time, it seemed as though the whole thing would collapse.

It loped ungallantly on its varied limbs to the partially-built machine it was so obsessed with. “Come, step before the ray,” it beckoned Samara.

“Suppose you test it first!” In a sudden burst of energy, the four-eyed Usul rushed forward and shoved the sickly creature in front of the mouth of the unfinished machine, yanking the ray’s lever as she did so. The tip of the machine glowed, and fired...

Author: nut862
Date: Oct 13th
...and with a powerful explosion of sound and light, the machine produced the horrible, laser-thin beam that each one of them had stood before.

But this time it was different. Rather than focusing on the disfigured creature and expanding to engulf it, as it had so many times before, the partially repaired machine gave a hiccup-like click of gears and projected its image onto and around the monster.

The pseudo-scientist stood engulfed, bewildered, as the light surrounded him, rippling with pictures and sounds. Samara gasped as she recognized the Bori and the Korbat and the others -- not after they'd been zapped, but before, when they'd been healthy and whole. She even saw herself, a perfectly formed yellow Usul, and heard her voice, "Will this take long?"

The last thing she'd ever said as a true Usul. And how long it had turned out to be!

The images flashed faster and the sounds rose in pitch as if looping upon themselves, growing, changing. The voices became patched and distorted, the images swollen and combined onto each other to create horrible creatures of myriad limbs, features, colors. To create them.

Amid it all, the scientist stood slack-jawed and unmoving. He seemed unable to tear himself from the images, or to move from the light. Frowning, Samara saw that he was staring at something. Following his gaze, she gasped. The creature was staring at himself.

Or how he'd been once. A handsome young Draik stood before them. The creature had not been a Scorchio, not like his rival -- that had only been a disguise. There he stood, a smile of glittering arrogance dancing in his dark eyes, with slender, muscled arms clutching a contraption of shining metal.

It looked almost like the second Lab Ray.

Time seemed to stop for a moment as the two faced one another -- the Draik of the past and the monster of the present. Neither moved, neither breathed. In the space of a heartbeat, Samara seemed oddly aware, oddly conscious, until--

*ZAP!*

The Draik in the image fired the Lab Ray onto the monster scientist it had become. The roar that followed shook the entire room, throwing all its residents to the floor. Samara drew up her paws to protect her ears, her eyes burning with tears that marked the impact, and she thought she heard a voice call on the air -- perhaps part of a poem, or a song long forgotten, then...

Silence.

Trembling, she opened her eyes. Nothing stood where the broken Ray or the twisted monster who created it had been moments before. Nothing except a pale circle on the ground that glowed faintly, as if catching the light.

The true scientist was the first to break the quiet. His laugh bubbled out, rich and good and gentle, and he said, "The mother has her children once more. Come, child, and we will play with fire. Be quick and you shall not be burned." He pointed to his Lab Ray -- the first ray, the original, and smiled.

One by one, the creatures approached him. "I will fiiiix you!" he singsonged as he pressed a button that looked as if it had been newly installed. One by one, the light penetrated them, and engulfed them to fade, leaving them blissfully normal.

"Come, child, the fire is hot," urged the Lab Scorchio. Samara started, realizing that she was the last one left.

*ZAP!*

She glanced at her paws. They were pale yellow, like they had been once long ago, before she had ever set foot into the domain of the scientist. "And I was getting attached to that striped color, too," she muttered, smiling.

The other restored creatures looked at her in surprise, and she shrugged. "Oh well -- there's always the paint brush!"

The End

Author: laurelinden
Date: Oct 13th



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