Hank

TT4.81a: Mum’s The Word

PREVIOUSLY: Carrie vanished during the school talent show. Everyone has parts of the puzzle…

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PART 81a: MUM’S THE WORD

minibannernewHank Waterson opened his front door almost before his visitor had a chance to knock. “I’m sorry to have called you so early,” he apologized, opting to get straight to the point. “But I couldn’t sleep. I don’t know what to think about this, but her note mentions you, so I thought you might have more information. I don’t want to leave the house either, lest she come home…”

“It’s fine,” Luci assured him. “But like I said, I’ll need to see what Carrie wrote for myself.” She gestured to her companion. “And I hope you don’t mind, but I brought Julie along. She, um, specializes in cryptic Carrie notes.”

Julie gave him a quiet wave.

“That’s fine,” Hank said, beckoning them both inside. “At this point, I’ll take all the help I can get. From what I can gather, Carrie was last seen at the talent show? Is that why she insisted to me that I not be there? How far in advance had she planned her trip? Why didn’t she tell me about it, and when is she coming back?”

The two teenagers exchanged a glance, Julie offering Luci a small shrug.

“We’re not sure about any of that stuff,” Luci hedged. “Aside from yeah, she was last seen at the talent show. Maybe we don’t know that much more than you. Can we see the note?”

Unable to get any sort of read on their expressions, he nodded. “It’s upstairs, in her room. I left everything the way it was. I’d appreciate if you’d do the same, in case we need to open any sort of police investigation into her disappearance.”

“Why, do you think Carrie was coerced into writing whatever it was?” Luci wondered, as they ascended the stairs.

“I don’t know what to think,” Hank admitted. He let them into her room, gesturing at Carrie’s desk, over by the window.

Both Luci and Julie walked over, peering down at the note. Almost immediately, Julie turned to speak for the first time. “How long has Carrie been using this stationery? With the little pocketwatch in the corner?”

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TT3.68b: Woodlands Omen

Previously: Hank Waterson writes a story about woodland creatures with magical powers who have the names of Carrie’s friends. Raccoon Glen found evidence Fox Julie was a traitor.

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PART 3.21b: WOODLANDS OMEN 2

MiniBanner“Right, a fox got double crossed, I’m so sure,” Carrie retorted.

“Carrie, she should get the benefit of the doubt,” Clarke put in quietly. “If we persecute people based largely on their animal heritage, we’re no better than the humans.” Carrie blinked at the beaver in surprise, appeared to think about that for a moment, then with a frown, she released Julie’s tail.

“But, okay,” Laurie said, puzzled. “If this documentation IS fake, and Julie’s NOT the traitor… who else COULD it be?”

As if on cue, there was the sound of something breaking the surface of the earth less than a metre away. Everyone turned in time to see a groundhog poke his head out. “Oh, g-g-good you’re still h-here!” it said in relief, scampering out of the hole. Behind him, a squirrel peered out of the hole as well.

“Luci?” Frank said in shock. “Where have you been?”

“Covert work underground,” Luci explained. “Sorry that me and Tim are late, but he can’t conjure his flashlight any more and we took a couple wrong turns.” She jumped out of the hole and shook the dirt off of herself.

“We were able to translate a pertinent passage though,” Tim said, holding a sheaf of papers out towards Julie. “I think you’ll be p-pleased with the r-r-results!”

“Passage? Covert mission? What the devil is going on here?” Corry said.

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TT3.68a: Woodlands Omen

Previously: Hank Waterson writes a story about woodland creatures with magical powers who have the names of Carrie’s friends. … Roll with it.

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PART 3.21a: WOODLANDS OMEN 1

MiniBannerHank Waterson did a quick scan back over what he had written. His short story had thus far incorporated most of Carrie’s friends as woodland animals with human sentience. Along with them, he had now written in two actual human characters, whose mysterious conversation had implied that there was a traitor within the animal group. Who was it?

Hank rubbed his chin. He wasn’t quite sure which one of them to use, and thus he decided to simply see where the narrative took him.

***

Slowly, the woodland creatures came out of hiding.

“So… what do you think about that?” Frank wondered.

“Mindy’s got a nice back end, for a human?” Lee offered.

“Okay, pretty sure Frank’s referring to the fact that there’s totally a TRAITOR among us!” Chartreuse wailed.

Lee shrugged. “Trying to lighten the mood.”

“Don’t. Now is the time to get serious,” Corry growled. “Because if one of us is feeding these humans lies, and telling them things that will lead to us losing our powers within a week? That’s a MAJOR problem.”

“It can’t be one of us. Whoever the traitor is, they already knew about this clearing having ties to the magical effects,” Julie noted. “Remember, that Shady guy implied it was their dumping here that caused a neutralizing effect.”

“Hey, any of us could know more about this clearing than what we’ve said,” Luci said, glancing about suspiciously. “The question is, why would anyone want us forest creatures to go all mundane?”

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TT3.67a: Woodlands Detour

Previously: The time group fractured. Mindy used mental powers to get Hank Waterson to write a letter, warning his daughter Carrie about Glen.

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PART 3.20a: WOODLANDS DETOUR 1

MiniBanner“This isn’t working,” Hank Waterson decided, after another twenty minutes of struggling with his novel. “I need to take a step back and get away from all this angst. Maybe… yes, of course. There was that collection of short stories requesting submissions before the end of the year. I’ll have another go at that.”

Hank closed his current document and reached into his desk drawer to pull out a small folder labeled ‘Woodland Creatures’. “Now, let’s see… I was superficially basing these new characters on Carrie and some of her classmates… I must remember to change the names later.” Hank half smiled as he browsed back over his character outlines, then began to write.

***

It was a bright sunny day, and Carrie was hopping merrily down the woodlands path, her long bunny ears jutting out cutely behind her.

“Did you want some barley to go with your hops?” chattered a nearby voice. Carrie turned to see a chipmunk watching her from a nearby tree stump. She immediately produced a huge croquet mallet from out of nowhere, using it to bonk Frank on the head.

“No rabbit puns!” the bunny girl accused.

“And stop watching Carrie!” came another voice, a smaller hammer coming down next to the mallet. “Remember, you’re dating me, not her.” Luci adjusted her skirt and twitched her long squirrel tail, after which both her and Carrie’s magical objects were dispelled back to the nothing from whence they came.

“I… I just thought Carrie might need some cheering up…” Frank protested, his eyes spinning around in a swirly pattern. “After last night’s date with Glen…”

“Hm. How DID that go?” Luci asked, scampering closer to Carrie. “Did you learn any more about him?”

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TT3.65a: Making the Rounds

Previously: Mindy was banished by Carrie, but left a warning message about Glen, via her father. Carrie was knocked out by an energy gun… in fact, most people were knocked out by something.

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PART 3.18a: MAKING THE ROUNDS 1

MiniBanner“Hey Phil! What’s new little brother?” came the voice of Clarke’s sister on the other end of the phone line. “Mom said there was some high drama at your school last Thursday. Something about a car crash?”

“Yeah, right into the library,” Clarke admitted, lying back on his bed as he held the phone receiver up to his ear. “But we’re… we’re all fine here.”

“You don’t sound sure of that,” Mary remarked. “Look, sorry I didn’t make it back for Thanksgiving – Doug wanted me to meet his family – but I’ll be making it up to everyone by coming to your first basketball game of the season in a few weeks. Okay?”

Clarke found he was unable to hold back a smile. “That’s great news, Mary! Just… just great!”

“Uh huh. Okay Phil, even if I weren’t majoring in psychology? I’d know something was wrong. Out with it.”

“What? I… uh…” Clarke shook his head. “I swear I’ll manage to bluff you one of these days! Though seriously, the family’s fine. School’s fine. The only issues are, well, between me and a number of my friends.”

“Yeah? You want to talk about it? I’m speaking as your sister here, not as the family shrink.”

Clarke passed his hand in front of his eyes. “Actually,” he sighed. “It seems like I’ve already spent this whole Sunday talking…”

***

It had made sense for him to visit Carrie first. She had been the last to regain consciousness the previous night, and she hadn’t spoken to anyone at Julie’s place, except to ask Glen to take her home. Yet even though she had looked normal at the time, blue eyes and all, Clarke was worried. Not only about Carrie herself, but also at the rift that was again forming between her and Julie.

Mr. Waterson answered the door when Clarke knocked. “I’m afraid Carrie is unavailable to speak with friends today,” he said immediately. “She’s been acting too irresponsibly of late.”

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TT3.64b: Banishment

Previously: When Mindy reappears, Glen and Carrie plan to banish her, while Julie and the others plan to capture her. Luci has discovered a “temporal gun” in Linquist’s safe.

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PART 3.17b: BANISHMENT 2

MiniBanner“Well?” said the voice Glen recognized as belonging to Luci. “Does it say the gun freezes people in time or not?”

“I d-don’t know yet! I can’t t-translate under these conditions!” came the reply.

“Steady on Tim,” Clarke soothed. “Here, I’ll hold the flashlight.”

Glen moved to intercept the four individuals. “Clarke!” he called out amiably. “Luci, Julie, Tim! Fancy meeting all of you here.”

“Glen?” Julie said. “Uh, didn’t Carrie tell you that this is an incredibly unsafe place to be right now??”

“Is it?” Glen said, blinking. “You should all be on your way somewhere else then.”

“Can’t,” Luci retorted. “We have some presents for Mindy, when she arrives here.”

“They can wait,” Glen insisted. “I really, REALLY think we should convince ourselves that it would be safer somewhere else.”

The four teenagers looked at each other. “G-Good enough for me,” Tim said, turning around.

“It does make sense,” Clarke agreed. “We should head home.”

“I’m not so sure,” Luci said, frowning. “Yet I’m thinking of a lot of places where I’d rather be.”

“No. No way. There’s nowhere else I would rather be right now,” Julie murmured, her body starting to shake. “Not after what I’ve caused.”

“Julie should bring you back to her place and serve some hot chocolate,” Glen continued calmly. “It’s getting cold out here and you’re all thirsty.”

“It IS cold,” Luci agreed.

“And I am thirsty,” Clarke added.

“Aren’t you guys coming?” Tim wondered, already three steps away.

“Why… what… why…” And Julie’s gaze focused in on Glen. “My God. YOU’RE ONE OF THEM!”

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