AN: I'm back! And with another long one to make up for all the time I was gone! I've got a few others in the works, since these next few are inspired by my funtimes at camp, but this one got so long I decided to post it independently. Thanks for all the reviews! It was really nice coming back to that.
You may notice that the wildlife here is different from what you would expect in Michigan (it seems to be generally accepted that Metro City is somewhere in Michigan) but that's just because I'm Texan, and it's a ton easier to write what you know. Not to mention Texas is awesome. ;) It shouldn't effect too much except for what the wildlife looks like, so please don't worry about it. Leave a review and tell me what you think, and what you'd like to see next!
"I can't believe they left us! Well, I mean, I'd believe that Musicman left us, but Minion? Treachery!"
Though Roxanne rolled her eyes at Megamind, she was pretty irritated too. After dinner, the four of them had wandered off to the archery range for and "ultimate showdown" between Megamind and Musicman, which she and Minion had watched with amusement. Megamind had won by a landslide, and had been so obnoxious about it that it was impossible for Roxanne not to challenge him.
She and Megamind had spent the next four hours giggling and shouting dramatically at each other as they shot arrows across the field. Minion and Musicman had gotten bored and wandered off to get ice cream or something. They were supposed to come back and get the two before it got dark, but it wasn't until they could no longer see the targets then they realized it was past time.
Roxanne's flashlight was cheap and dim, and only lit a tiny bit of ground in front of them. She held it up at a high angle so they would be able to see any snakes stretched out across the path, sucking up the last bit of heat from the gravel. "Don't you have your flashlight?" she asked.
"Minion has it," he said, the shadow of his head turning nervously. "You don't think… someone's gonna try to jump out and scare us, do you?
Biting her lip, Roxanne held a hand out to stop Megamind as she did a quick search in the trees around them with her light. Those scraggly, strange, dried-up desert trees. "I don't think so," she said quietly.
"Well good!" Megamind said with deliberate volume. "Because I would TOTALLY PUNCH THEM."
A long-legged lizard zipped across the path in front of them. Roxanne and Megamind both jumped and grabbed one another's arms.
"Right," said Roxanne sarcastically. "I feel so safe."
"Yeah, well," Megamind brushed himself off. "It's not lizards we should worry about- it's snakes! So keep that flashlight straight, my dear!"
She held the flashlight high and aimed down as she walked quickly, trying to avoid the sharp shadows. She could sense Megamind's nervousness as he elbow as he hung close. "The snakes should hear us coming before we actually see them," she said. "We'll be fine. Wanna sing a song?"
"Sing?" he asked. "Why?"
"The louder the better. You pick one. Go ahead and start."
Stepping quickly, she heard him hesitantly sing, "do, a deer, a female deer…"
Roxanne smiled encouragingly and joined, "ray, a drop of gleaming sun,"
They turned along the road, away from the lights of the camp, towards the woody path that led to their cabin. The colorful wildflowers that lined the gravel during the day now appeared alarmingly bristly and thorny.
"Me, a name I call myself," Megamind slowly gained confidence.
"Fa, a long long way to- STOP!"
Megamind jumped and shouted. Roxanne grabbed his shoulder and yanked him back, pulling him close. Her other arm was straight and tense, aiming the flashlight down.
The light had cast a line of shadows on the stony ground. Roxanne stared for a moment and then breathed in relief. "I'm sorry," she laughed. "I thought I saw a snake."
"You- I- c-calm down, you crazy lady! Ugh, you scared me so bad!"
She rubbed his shoulder gently, trying to calm herself down as well. "Sorry! It was just the shadows!" She laughed as he jumped at her touch. "It's okay, Megs."
She heard his heavy breathing. She could see his eyes turned towards her, reflecting yellow like an animal, but she was pretty sure his nightvision wasn't much better than hers. He groaned in distress, looking at her flashlight.
"You wanna hold it?" she asked, offering the light in an outstretched hand. "Would that make you feel better?"
"No, I'll be fine. How about next time you think you see a snake, you don't shout at the top of your lungs?" He sniffed and grumbled, "that would provoke it anyway."
Roxanne remembered something they had seen together on Doctor Who. Mischieviously, she whispered, "And let's not forget to count the shadows…"
Megamind lost it.
"NOPE. Nopenopenopenope let's go back, we are going back, we'llsleepinthemesshallthere'slightsinthere…"
He tried to grab her flashlight, and Roxanne cried out, pulling it away from him. For a moment, they were cast into darkness, and Megamind wailed.
She smacked his shoulder, pulling the light back between them. "Watch it!" she warned. She grabbed his shoulders and held him still. "It's okay, Megamind, I'm sorry, I didn't think that would scare you so bad..."
"NOT scare me!" He grabbed at her hand desperately. "You, ma'am, are evil! EVIL! Weeeeh, I wanna go home..."
"Sh sh sh! We've already covered a lot of ground, we might as well go the rest of the way. Come on, it's okay…"
Megamind groaned and covered his face.
Roxanne's light began to flicker.
"Alright," she grabbed his hand. "Let's sing another song,"
"You sing another song. I'm done."
She dragged him along, and tried to think of something else to sing. She couldn't remember any lyrics to any songs. She broke into a jog, and she could barely hear Megamind's breathing over her own.
"Why are you running?"
They reached a fork. Roxanne took a right. She was pretty sure they were supposed to take a right. The tiny circle on the road made the pebbles look like crawling beetles, bubbles in a boiling pot. "It's okay, come on, it's okay. The faster we get this over with, the better, right?"
He started to jog with her, and the crunching or their feet on the gravel started to make a consistent pattern that reminded her of the pattern of a horse's hooves. He let go of her hand.
The light flickering
"I'm trying not to think," he panted, "of every creepy pasta I've ever read, heheh!"
She had thought he was running behind her on the left, but his voice was coming from the right.
"And the uh, dark alley assaults, and all those things you hear in prison about what happens to people when they're at the wrong place at night."
"I'm gonna have to stop you there," she gasped.
There was a long shadow in the road. It snapped out of their path, slithering out of sight in the blink of an eye. They pressed on.
"I'm sorry I scared you before."
"No, sorry, it's not your fault. I'm… not familiar with forests, I guess."
"Did you see that snake?"
Roxanne slid to a stop, and Megamind's footsteps faded to silence.
Another fork. She didn't recognize this one. The road was crossed perpendicularly at a T, and in front of them stood some small watertower.
His footsteps behind her paced from her right to her left. His breathing by her ear, "What's wrong with your light?"
The backtracked, and the gravel seemed less stable than it was before. Rocks rolled, and She heard Megamind trip behind her.
"I'm okay!" he was right behind her. Right behind her.
"Who else is there!" she hollered, and turned to shine the light right into Megamind's face. His eyes reflected it back, red in his pupils, yellow in his irises, wide with terror.
He ran right into her, and they both fell over.
The light went out.
A tangle of hot limbs and stones and dust and bugs, and Roxanne screamed and shoved him away. She could hear him wheezing and struggling, and that was probably her screaming. She snapped her jaw shut and covered her mouth with her hands.
"Oh no," that was his voice, full of fear. "Roxanne, t-turn it back on…"
She whimpered and pressed the button again. And again and again.
"It's the battery…!"
Two strong hands snatched the useless flashlight from her, and she could hear it being scraped open, and the batteries slid out. Something large and sticky crawled across her hand, and she shrieked, jumping to her feet. Clicking.
There was a flash of light, and she could see Megamind's blue face lit up in that familiar look of concentration, his eyebrows tight, and his tongue curled up around his lip. Then it was gone.
All that was left was a distorted afterimage, which slid up and down her vision.
Click, the flashlight closed, and he grabbed her hand. He gave her the flashlight, and turned it on.
"It won't last long. We'll have to run."
She pointed it at him as he stood up. The light bounced off the shine of his leather suit, and his long-fingered hands opened to shield his face as he squinted. Behind him, where she could see nothing but the water tower. And his long shadow.
They ran. Roxanne focused on her breathing, and the pattern of their footsteps, and the crickets.
The rattle of a poinsonous snake.
"Watch it!" He grabbed her hand. She panted and stared at the coiled serpent, and let him guide her around, giving it a wide berth. Diamondback. "Slowly. It's okay…-!"
Suddenly, Megamind shrieked.
It raised its head and opened its mouth. The glint of fangs!
"Shh! Megamind, come on!"
She tightened her grip on his hand and slowly took the lead, going around the snake, getting away. She sped up again.
"Sorry! Something really big was crawling on my neck."
"I felt something like that too, earlier," she said.
The light began flickering again.
"I can't save the battery again, we have to run the rest of the way!"
Their footsteps were fast and loud, consistent in pattern, and long lithe shadows of snakes and lizards and bugs sometimes flickered on the edge of the circle of light. They slowed down when appropriate, and Roxanne felt Megamind's hand squeezing hers.
The gravel road straightened out, trees and cacti on either side forming strange bodies.
The light flickering.
Roxanne felt a stitch in her side. She began to slow down, and Megamind looked back at her, only the shadow of his face visible. "We're almost there…"
"I'm fine, just… what's that?"
There was a sneaker in the middle of the road.
Megamind stopped, crouching ahead of her. "A shoe? What on earth? Do you know whose-?"
"I dunno," Roxanne gasped, pulling him around. "Keep going…"
"But why would someone leave their shoe? There's rocks and snakes and bugs out here!"
Megamind was… probably just freaking himself out. Afraid to let go of his hand to smack him, she squeezed his hand hard instead. "A suitcase probably fell open or something."
"Or he was running from something…!"
They both jumped as something mechanical buzzed by the road behind them. Megamind broke into a sprint, and Roxanne cried out in protest as he pulled her along.
"What's wrong? What was that?"
The loose rocks slid out from under his feet, and he screamed, releasing Roxanne to save himself from falling on his face. "Megamind!" Roxanne cried, shining her light on him.
"Ow, ow, my hands…"
She grabbed him under the arms and yanked up up, pulling him forward behind her.
Something sharp touched her back, and she screamed.
He shouted in fear, and rocks scraped under him as he leapt to his feet, and she felt his hand snag hers as he bolted, dragging her with him. She cried out, barely able to keep her own footing.
Megamind scraped to a stop, gasping, the shadow of his head changing shape as if turned to check the road. "It's further than I thought…"
"The light's about to die," Roxanne gasped.
He moaned in fear and tried to take the light from her, but she snatched it back. "I got it."
"We have to go fast…!"
He ran, and she ran with him, and they let go of their hands.
The light went out.
"No kidding!" shouted Roxanne, turning her flashlight off and on again frantically. She grabbed for Megamind's shoulder but realized with terror that she couldn't find him. "Megamind!?"
"Roxanne!?" He was too far away.
"Don't leave me!"
"I can't find you!"
Something touched her. She screamed.
"Ah. Heh. Found you."
She wrapped her arms around him and groaned. "Don't do that!"
"Hmm, at last, you scream for me."
She scoffed and buried her head in his chest. She felt his arms around her shoulders, lighter than usual without his gloves. They were both breathing heavily, but he was chuckling.
"This whole time you've been trying to scare me on purpose haven't you?"
"Did it work?" he whispered.
"You evil little turd."
"Me? Evil? Miss Ritchi, you insult me. I'm obviously your protector! And that Vashta Nerada reference earlier? You're clearly the villain here. Shame on you."
She shuddered. "Can we not talk about that while we're in the dark?"
"Oh, I'm sorry. Shame on me. Weeping angels."
She slammed her shoe into where she thought his shin would be. He yelped, then scoffed, and he stepped back out of her arms. She heard his footsteps take a circle in front of her.
"Megamind! There's still snakes out here, and we really need to get to the cabin. Can you fix my light again?"
"No, I told you, I can't. Your batteries are well and officially dead now."
"Then what are we gonna-?"
Suddenly his face was lit from underneath. He grinned evilly at her, as though telling a favorite ghost story.
"You had it the whole-! I am gonna strangle-!"
"She's at a loss for words!" He exclaimed, and then released his head back in a familiar evil laugh. He walked over and took her hand, aiming the flashlight at the ground in front of them. It was much brighter than Roxanne's had been. "It's alright, my dear, I'm sorry. I couldn't help such a perfect opportunity. Do you want to hold it? Would that make you feel better?"
She snatched it from him, stuck out her tongue, and began leading the way back to the cabin again.
"So whose shoe was that?" she asked, starting to smile a little herself.
"Psh, I have no idea. I was shooting arrows with you this whole time, remember? Just had to improvise for maximum scare effect."
She hummed and squeezed his hand. "It just occurs to me that if you really wanted to scare me, you could have set up a machine of some brainbots or something and had some weird little haunted forest type thing going on."
"Hmm, over the halloweens we've been through together, I've found that that usually doesn't work on you.
"Ooh, somebody's finally catching on."
"And I'm finally figuring out what does work," he purred, grinning wickedly.