Hans glowed with pride over his work as each pair of gloves took on a life of their own. In every proper toon cascade he knew about always had toon gloves, though he wasn’t sure about the cause and effect relationship here.
Every completed pair flew off with what Hans knew was deliberate purpose, he could feel it , most of them flew to push out the edge of the ink’s influence. The more adventurous gloves assumed control over the flailing costumes making each set of clothing stand up with energized agency, now with the whole unit seeking a suitable guest to continue their work.
Finally out of pairs of gloves and other numerous handwear to dip in ink cans and some clear failures at creating it from scratch, Hans stepped back from the growing stack of empty tins with a huff of accomplishment. His focus, now free, darted around the now very different cargo space, faint streams of light strained through thick canopy of leafy trees. A lazy stream flowed through the space that felt much larger than it did not more than 15 minutes ago.
Han’s trance with backdrop was broken by distinct discordance with the set. He felt someone moving through his little forest for more definitely woodland creatures only. The only things that could be in his tiny forest were toons, with this in mind he grabbed a tin of ink and scrambled into the foliage to stalk his intruder.
Soon Hans found the trespasser, bearing yellow and black high visibility uniform marking them as an engineer, a dragon creature of some sort with black and copper scales.
The dragon was clearly a bit agitated as they clambered through the dark with their light, the refracted light highlighting themselves with the visibility strips on their uniform, as they try each set of light switches in the hold.
Finally the dragon gave up with a huff with the lights, “fine, FINE, the error must be affecting the lights,” they hissed, wings fluttering in frustration they stormed forward deeper into the hold. They stormed right past Hans, who was just pressed around the edge of a box, who simply grinned at the dragon as they passed. Hans tailed the increasingly agitated dragon.
“What is this?” the crewman stuttered out as they encroached on the border of toony trees, he reached out with a clawed hand to push the branches away to peek in. Painted landscapes, swirling water and an open sky. “Impossible.” is all the dragon could muster. What the dragon didn’t take in was the Marten sneaking up on him.
“It’s great, that’s what it is!” yelled said marten as the dragon was shoved into the forest and tumbling into the warped space and down the grassy knoll.
The dragon finally came to a stop, face first, in field of flowers. He pushed himself out above the tall stalks of flowers trying to take it all in. The scene was literally picturesque, everything he examined had the artificial tinge of paint and ink.
“See! The scene is great!” squeaked Hans, “I really did a great job with this one!”
The dragon turned towards the weasel as they pranced down the hill. “What is happening?” the crewman demanded.
Hans came up not too far from the dragon, “Adding you to scene, a background is pretty but it needs a bit more life in it!” Hans gave the dragon a good look over, “but you clearly don’t fit in yet,” spotting the increasingly panicked looking dragon’s name tag, “Jencen right? You’ll do great!”
Jencen bolted to the side past Hans and clawed up the hill back towards the leafy border of the toon sphere, “No, no!”
“Oh Jencen,” Hans said, without turning to follow the dragon, “but you are made for this role, why do you want to go back to your old job already?” Hans snapped his fingers sending animated gloves to chase after Jencen.
The gloves raced after the dragon, who was pressed against the leafy wall trying to claw their way through, they grabbed the ankles of the dragon and pulled them along the same path they fled along leaving deep claw marks . Jencen came to a stop in front of Hans with one last yank to make him face Hans. Jencen struggled against the gloves futilely which only made Hans roll his eyes and oblige the dragon’s attempt. Finally the dragon gave in to predicament and asked “Role?”
“I thought you’d never ask!” Hans grinned, “you get to be the canvas that I make the bee for the whole toon ink event!”
Jencen gasped now that he had the whole picture, that he was about to be illustrated into a role against his will, “Can I opt out?” he offered.
“Don’t worry busy bee, I’ll let you get back to work once I am done,” Hans retorted. Again Hans snapped his fingers and another set of gloves came at his command. “But first you are not toonish enough, close but not enough.”
Jencen felt a new set of gloves press into his back between his wings, the pressure builds before bursting like a water balloon, but instead of flowing around the release of liquid flowed into the dragon prompting a yipe.
“There you go, some proper ink will jumpstart the process! Besides you need to be able to make a hive,” Hans said as he sized up the dragon between his hands. He watched as the dragon’s features round out and take on an artificial exaggerated hue. “There we go, welcome to toon-dom. But you are a bit on the large size for a bee.”
Jencen’s expression moved to a clear note of worry as Hans, by his perspective, grabbed the corners of space around the dragon and pushed in the edges, squishing and squashing Jencen until satisfactory size was met, about two thirds the size of the already shorter than normal Marten.
With Jencen smaller more than half of the gloves flew off but the ones that remained iron clad.
Hans hopped forward to hold Jencen’s head in his hands. “Now letsee, we don’t need these horns,” He plucked off the horns straight off Jencen’s head, “and your snout really doesn’t need to be this long,” squishing Jencen’s face down, “though we can’t make your face too flat, and how about mandibles?” Hans mused.
A couple beats later, “I know, I’ll do this, you’ll still be able to emote fine like a proper toon you are.” He pressed the dragon’s jaw together and smoothed it out into a beak before splitting the top half with his his claw tip.
Jencen looked simply bewildered and dazed by everything happening, giving Hans a cross eyed look.
“You’ll be on the up and up in a moment Jencen,” Hans declared as he pulled out a polishing cloth and rubbed at the dragon’s eyes, turning them large, black and reflective, but retaining a white pupil for those ever important comic eye reads.
Hans stood up and walked around the dragon, looking at his work. He paused to grab the dragon’s tail and blew into the tip of the tail, inflating it into the thorax of the soon to be bee. He gave each wing a swift snap turning them transparent and bug like, wiping all draconic features from him.
“Something’s missing...Oh duh.” Hans said has he hopped to in front of the bee, Hans dipped his tail in ink from his gloves and drew two exaggerated attenna on the bee and they snapped to attention, in what Hans knew was Jencen’s new role. “Are you ready Busy bee?” Hans asked.
Jencen’s eyes snapped to focus as the transformation settled in “Bzzt Bzzt, I’m ready!” Jencen gladly declared as the gloves flew off him, his uniform now a cartoonish set of overalls, the rest of his body taking on buggish traits fit of all the other changes to him. He flapped his wings swiftly, no longer giant huge gust catching wings into far shorter blades ready to cut the wind, sending a pleasant breeze over the flower patch. Pollen bellowed from the flowers, attracted and attaching itself to the excited bee in thick layers of yellow fuzz. And he lunched with a poof, flying with great energy towards the once solid green wall of trees and was gone.
“He’ll do great,” Hans said with confidence, “but now I need some more actors that will actually hang out here, for some more tame roles like...I guess a doe or two would be good.”
Vapourized toon ink spread out throughout the ship through the hijacked vents, every duct carrying invisible specks of ink. Saturation spreads bringing the ship itself and the people on board to a less reality restrained state, willing or not.
The dark room’s phone rang as Shale and Zenti stubbornly tried to ignore the interruption to their night. The two slatepaws wiped out from the long day events on the cruise had no interest in the late night events. Shale groaned as he turned over and moved over, away from zenti’s side, finally he pulled the phone off the receiver and was met by a recording.
A professional but clearly in crisis control voice spoke, “Attention all passengers, the ship is currently in emergency lockdown. There has been a toon cascade event on the ship. Please remain where you are to allow the crew to deal with the emergency. Please remain calm.”
“What was it?” Zenti yawned.
Shale set the phone back on the receiver as it began to repeat the recording, “Ship is in lock down, something about toon cascade.”
“That shouldn’t be too bad unless there was an incredible amount of toon ink on board.” she shrugged.
They both jumped as a scare cord’s screech filled the room in reply to Zenti.
“What was that?!” Shale flailed around the edge of the bed trying to find the source.
Zenti ran through the possibilities and finally settled on the most likely, “It is already outside the control of the crew, there is an obnoxious amount of toon ink loose if there is sound effects and worse if we heard it.” Zenti clapped her hands sharply switching the room’s lights on, “We are already contaminated.”
They locked eyes as the light flooded the room, they were both indeed far more exaggerated in features. Still weaselly in body type with long ears with the small set of horns, though each feature was simplified.
“Should we be worried?” Shale asked checking his paws and whiskers, which were stubbier and fewer in number respectively.
“Well yes, if it is this far already then the best we can do is ensure that we’ll be safe,” Zenti replied hopping off the bed towards her emergency box. Pulling from the case some special chalk she wrote on each primary wall a single glyph.
Shale gave the first glyph a hard look after Zenti finished it, “Okay that is protective ward but for the…” Shale forced himself to recall what he knew of spell craft, “mind?” he hazard a guess.
Zenti launched into full lecture mode as she worked, “Correct, a toon cascade first affects people with ink, but they then codify them by creating a psychological pressure to conform. By restricting this psudo-telepathic influence we should be fine.”
“So the glyphs are tinfoil but in the shape of the room?” Shale replied completely following everything Zenti said.
“I guess?” Zenti replied, defeated by the simple analogy. Zenti finished the last glyph and jumped back onto the bed with Shale, “that is probably the cruise shot though, and this stuff always happens on halloween.”
“Well we still have each other,” Shale offered.
Zenti jumped at Shale and they plopped in a pile snuggling, “That might just be enough.”
They laid together for about 15 minutes before boredom started to take over, “Boo,” Shale growled, “this is insidious, this is quantifiably less patience than I normally have.”
Zenti had to agree, she probably had only 2 more minutes before she would have outbursted herself, “Do we still have tv?” Zenti asked.
Shale stood up and grabbed the remote and flicked on the television, “I guess Late night film and Chill will work,” he said glad for the stimulus.
“And Chill?” Zenti said looked Shale up and down, “I think we are lacking the assets for something so extreme.”
Shale taken slightly aback looked Zenti and himself over, “Ah, And...making out?”
The film was solid a solid b movie, but the rest was fine.
Hans looked over his quickly filling out forest. He recently got a couple more wandering actors to add in, they were acting perfectly in role. He had several deer jumping majestically through the scene and someone playing a woodpecker to fill out the ambience.
Though his perfect scene was off, there was this annoying buzzing sound coming from somewhere. Just before he went to investigate he felt something fundamentally wrong. Like a rug being pulled out from under Hans he fell unto his back. The whole forest shook as the control of the scene was wrestled from him.
“That is not good,” Hans said, the first time concerned for the night since the toonification.
Something much stronger than him took the scene as their own, their actors flowing through the cracks opened up in the trees. Bees, still true to the design he gave them, rushed into the scene. They grabbed his actors and pulled them deeper into engineering. Hans couldn’t think anymore as the scene became industrial and hive like. A pair of bees came and collected him.
His thoughts swirled and eddied as the bees pulled him deeper, he found himself conflicted between his project, not wanting to work and oddly really, really wanting to do something all productive like. The buzz of industry and machinery working together. Soon Hans was completely enamored with the idea of the buzz of bee. “Bzzt?” he asked in his stupor, but he knew the answer already, he already was going to work for them.
Welcome back to Chapter 3 of my 2017 Halloween story
It again contains many people, thanks for everyone who let me use your character!
If you want Chapter 4 be sure to click the NEXT link that will appear below shortly!