In just a matter of days, the Tiger General's regime had assumed full control over the town. Around the perimeter that had established a blockade consisting of barbed wire, chain fences, bases, guards, and even landmines. Within this blockade, the town was completely unrecognizable. Where once stood suburban houses, colorful buildings, plains of green grass, flowers and trees, had been reduced to a half-destroyed wasteland. The once clear blue skies had been turned to a grayish red, and only a few buildings remained, and even fewer were all in one piece. Through every street and corner, platoons of tiger soldiers marched side by side, along with tanks and jeeps, searching for Flippy. Since the takeover, the towns citizens have been randomly picked out and tortured/killed indiscriminately. Under the Tiger General's rule, the surviving townsfolk have simply tried to survive by hiding, searching for food scraps, or just trying not to look suspicious.
Just that day, a couple of soldiers were dunking Lamby repeatedly into the lake as penalty for tossing a rock at them, though she claimed it was Mr. Pickles.
Later that day, Nutty was shifting through the wreckage of his favorite candy store, desperate for something with sugar to eat. He hadn't had candy in almost two days. The candy that was usually stuck to his fur was gone, consumed by him and desperation. His fur was all messed up, both his eyes were bloodshot, his fur was completely unkempt, and he was shaking more violently than usual. Suddenly, his face lit up as he saw something in the rubble.
"OOOOoooh!" He cooed, and he dug out what he thought was a piece of candy, but was in actuality a laundry pod. He laughed manically and tossed it into his mouth, chewing it rabidly and then swallowing. It tasted kind of strange to him. Suddenly, he started to violently hack soap bubbles and blood. Once that was all over, he stuck out his tongue to see that it had been turned completely white. Recovering, he simply sat down sad.
Just then, Handy came along and found him there
"What are you doing? Let's go!" Handy said, ushering Nutty to get up and follow him.
The two friends made their way across the ruined town, making sure to stay out of sight of the occupying forces. Finally, they arrived at what used to be Cuddles house. Arriving at the front door, Nutty stepped up and did the secret knock. The mail slot opened and Russell peaked out with his one eye, nodded, let Nutty in, and shut the door. Handy walked up next to do the secret knock, but then he remembered he had no arms, and simply grunted in frustration. He simply kicked the door with his foot. Russell looked out and let him in anyway.
Inside, all of their surviving friends were taking shelter from the chaos outside. Most of them were congregating. Over by the table, Toothy was sitting at the table in complete anxiety. The Mole was searching and shifting through the cabinets for something to drink. Being blind, he found and took out a jug of dish soap, thinking it was root beer. He took it over and poured it in Toothy's empty cup, prompting a smile from him. Just as he was about to ingest it however, he heard Sniffles call him to go get Giggles, who was in Cuddles old room.
Putting down his drink, he went through the hall over to the door, and lightly knocked on it twice.
"Hello?" He said. Before carefully opening the door. He looked in to see Giggles sitting on the side of Cuddles old bed. She was facing the counter which had various pictures of Cuddles and Giggles together. Also by the side of his counter was his skateboard. Toothy came over to her to see that she had a miserable look on her face. In her hands was one of Cuddles pairs of pink bunny slippers.
Cuddles was Toothy's best friend, and he understood the way she felt about losing him, especially in such a horrific way. He simply sighed sadly and gently put her hand on her shoulder. She looked over to him, with tears in her face, and the two of them shared a sad hug.
"Come on," Toothy said, and he took her hand and led her back to the living room.
The Tree Friends were all gathered around the living room. Many were either scared, arguing amongst each other or both. Why them? What were these maniacs doing here? Why were they doing this to them? What does it have to do with Flippy? What did anyone in this happy-go-lucky town do to deserve this? Things do... occasionally... go wrong, but what was happening to their home was a nightmare.
Among all the disarray, Handy called out for everyone to calm down. They had to do something about this situation, otherwise they would all be dead within a week. But none of them had any clue as to how. They were just innocent woodland townsfolk, not fighters, none of them ever could have imagined they would be in a situation like this. If anyone could help them.
As things seemed more and more hopeless, everyone just wished that Flippy was here. If anyone had any chance to help liberate their town, it was him. He did have a great deal of combat experience. Unfortunately, no one knew what happened to him or where he was, or had any way to contact him. His house has been abandoned for a month, the army already searched it from top to bottom. If he was anywhere near here, they would have found him already. They didn't want to think about what would happen if the Tiger Army found him, but they all agreed that they needed their friend now more than ever.
Giggle's mostly kept quiet the entire discussion. She was the only one who knew where he was, but she promised not to tell anyone. However, the situation had become dire, and she knew that they had to bring him back. Giggles raised her hand and revealed that she knew what happened to Flippy, much to everyone's shock. She knew that she was breaking her promise to Flippy, and that he probably wouldn't forgive him, but she told them everything she knew. She told them how he left to join a monastery after his episode at the supermarket, and how he told her to keep it a secret. Many of them couldn't help but feel bad that the way they treated him may have caused him to leave. What they had to do was obvious, they had to find him. But how? The borders of the town have been tightly secured. No one could possibly hope to get in or out. All communications have been cut, which didn't even matter any way since the monastery Flippy was at had no technology of any sort. Their only hope was to try and get past the blockade to escape from the town to get to where Flippy was. The group, led by Handy and Sniffles, the two smartest people in the room, got together to form a plan.
Meanwhile, Lumpy was still at the mercy of the General. He found himself strapped by his arms to a metal chair, in front of what looked like a dinner table. There was still smoke coming from his antlers from a few nights ago. On the table there was an assortment of different foods, from roast beef, to steamed lobster, salad bowls, freshly cut bread, and even a ham sandwich, Lumpy's favorite. All of this made him salivate. At the other end of the table sat the Tiger General. He was putting a napkin around his neck with a picture of a skull and crossbones on it. He ordered Lanky to undo the restraints of his chair. Lanky did so and Lumpy rubbed his free arms. He looked across to the General, who gestured for him to eat. Lumpy didn't hesitate or question it for a second, he grabbed the sandwich and chomped down on it.
"MMMhhh," He went, as his eyes watered in contentment. The General then took out his picture of Flippy and passed it over to Lumpy, who didn't seem to notice as he was too busy scarfing down all the food in front of him
"Ahem," The General went, getting Lumpy's attention, and he pointed to the picture, getting Lumpy to look at it. Upon seeing Flippy's face, he got a little nervous, and stroked his neck around where Flippy strangulated him a month ago. The General asked him, calmly and politely this time, unlike before, for information on this bear. Once he gave him what he wanted, all this torture would be over.
Lumpy naively went "oh," and chuckled, not really understanding what they would want with Flippy, and he told them everything he knew, although it was very little. He told them about how he has lived in their town for years and become a respected member of the community. He has lived a relatively normal life in the town, but every once in a while, he had psychotic episodes that caused him to attack his friends. As he was speaking, Lanky was sure to write everything down, though he seemed to be struggling to keep up. He was a turtle after all, speed wasn't really what he was known for. The General then asked the moose where he was hiding. Lumpy simply shrugged as he had nothing for him. He told him that he left town a month ago and no one has seen him since.
The General was very disappointed with the information he got, and looked over at the stupid moose with a scowl. He's had him prisoner here for about two days and he was already starting to really hate his stupid demeanor. His intense scowl turned back into a light smile however, and he asked him to try the bean & cheese burrito. Lumpy looked over to it and happily obliged. He took the burrito and took a giant bite into it. However, as he swallowed, throat became overridden with searing burning pain. He opened his mouth to see that his tongue and the rest of his mouth had been severely burned. He looked into the half-eaten burrito to discover that it wasn't a bean & cheese burrito, it was a rivet & cheese burrito (all the beans had been replaced with hot rivets).
The General then ordered his soldiers to take Lumpy back to his cell. On command, two of his men grabbed the moose and took him away, even as he stupidly attempted to continue eating the burrito. The General laughed to himself manically and took a drink of his milk. Just then, his eyes went wide and he spit it out in disgust. He tipped his glass and poured out the expired and chunky milk onto the table. He angrily through the glass at Lanky, which shattered against his head and made him fall over in pain. He demanded to bring him fresh milk.
Back at Cuddles house, Sniffles and Handy had managed to formulate a plan to escape. As everyone else sat down around the living room, Sniffles and Handy set up a diagram of how they would get past the soldiers.
While Sniffles pointed, Handy explained the plan step by step. They find a vehicle, and Sniffles would then rig it with special rocket boosters of his own creation. Once he is finished, one of them would create a distraction, diverting the army's attention, and a group of them would escape the town in the vehicle. Once they were far from the Tiger General's reach, they would go and find Flippy.
There was just one problem, where were they going to find a car? Most of the cars around town had either been destroyed or taken by the Tiger Army. Without a vehicle, their plan couldn't even begin.
Suddenly, they heard a noise from outside the House. Even Nutty, who was just about to drink the glass of dish soap, heard it and put it down. Everyone scrambled to find a place to duck and hide, fearing that it may be the soldiers. Russell carefully peaked out the window, but he couldn't see anything. So, he and Disco Bear cautiously went outside to investigate. They looked in every direction, but there was no sign of any soldiers. Suddenly, the heard it again. It seemed to be coming from the trash bins at the side of the house. Russell signaled Disco Bear to stay behind him as they approached them. There were three large bins, whatever made that noise could be hiding in any one of them. So, Russell to out his small little pirate sword and went over to the first one, he cautiously and carefully penetrated his sword through it, all it hit has junk. Then, he went over to the middle one and put his sword through that. Once again nothing. Finally he went to the third bin, stuck his sword through it, and slowly pressed it through
"Ack!" He heard, causing him to quickly retract his blade. He looked over to Disco Bear and nervously stuck it in again in a different spot.
"YOW!" and he took it out again. He repeated to pierce the bin in several places.
"WAH!" "OOOH!" "DOOHH!" "AAGGHHH!" "OOOFFF!" "AIGHEEE!" "YAAAGHHH!"
There was definitely someone in there, probably a Tiger spy. He was probably waiting for when their defenses are completely lowered, in which case he would capture and kill all of them. Disco Bear had an idea on how to deal with them. He grabbed a garden hose from the side of the house.
"Yarr..." Russell said quietly, smiling that he knew what he was getting at. Quickly, Disco Bear opened the lid of the bin slightly and put in the end of the hose. at his signal, Russell turned the crank on the faucet to full power. As the bin filled up with water, they began to hear gargling noises and desperate splashing. Once it was filled to the brim, with water pouring over from the top, Russell kicked it over, with garbage and water pouring all over the grass. However, instead of a Tiger spy, what came tumbling out of the bin was Lifty and Shifty, filthy, wet, and covered in cuts from Russels sword. Russell and Disco Bear simply looked down at them confused.
Afterward, the two raccoons were taken inside. They were both briefed on what the group of friends were up to. As luck would have it, they needed a car and the two of them had one Unfortunately, it was taken to the impound after they were arrested.
Later that night, Lifty and Shifty, followed by Giggles, Mime, and Handy, snuck across the ruined town to what was the police impound. They hoped that the brothers van was still there.
Walking through fields of wrecked cars, the group made sure to keep their eye out for what they were looking for. The smell was absolutely unbearable, causing Toothy to hold his nose closed.
Finally, after hours of searching, Shifty lit up as he spotted their van. The group went over to find it perfectly intact. Unfortunately, both of the brothers checked themselves to see if they had the keys, only to find that neither of them had them. So, they resorted to breaking the window of the door and opening it from the inside. Lifty got into the driver's seat and took a screwdriver from his pocket. He attempted to use it to turn the ignition on, but the motor kept stalling. Lifty simply looked to Shifty and shrugged. Shifty called for someone to check the under the hood, so Handy and Mime went over to the front and popped the hood open. Handy tried to work on the motor, but once again, he had no hands, so he shrugged in frustration and asked Mime to reach in. He happily obliged and reached his hand into the vans inner mechanisms.
As Mime was feeling his way around, and Lifty was trying to get the car to start, Handy walked around the car. His eyes then caught the exhaust muffler, he noticed that there was a pinecone stuck in it.
"A-ha!" He exclaimed, and he signaled Giggles over to help him pull it out. Giggles grabbed the end of the cone and yanked on it as hard as she could. Finally, it came lose, causing Giggles to stumble back fall, and hit her head against a disused double-decker bus. On top of the bus was a tool case, which got rocked off the edge by the force of Giggles vibration. All the tools fell out, right onto Giggles head. First, she got hit with a hammer, then a full unopened paint can, then she got hit by the handle end of a saw, then a stapler, which left a staple in her head. Finally, a electric screwdriver fell right into her right hand be the nail end, nailing it to the ground. She screamed in pain, while Handy helplessly watched, as he had no hands and couldn't really help her. She attempted to yank the power tool out, but she just accidentally turned it on, causing it to drill deeper into her hand, causing even more pain. Once it reached deep enough, the handle itself began to spin around, whacking Giggles several times in the face. She resorted to yanking her hand right from the tool wailing in pain as her hand began to tear apart. Finally with one last rip, she got her hand free, but it was completely ripped in two, bleeding everywhere. She squealed at the sight and searched for something to stop the bleeding, finding a disused car towel.
Once handy was sure Giggles was alright, Handy called to Lifty, "Try it now!". On his Command, Lifty turned on the gas, successfully starting the car. Unfortunately, Mime's hand was still in the hood, and it got caught in the gears, crushing his arm. His face made an expression of screaming in pain, but since he never spoke, nothing came out, so no one could hear his pleas to stop. Lifty and Shifty hi-fived each other at getting the car to work and Lifty put his foot on the pedal, causing the gears to grind Mime's arm in even more and causing him even more pain. Lifty revved the engine more and more causing the van to eat more of Mime's hand. Finally, Mime yanked at his arm, his body to tear loose from it. Mime fell to the ground with a big thud. He got up to see a bloody hole with bone sticking out where his arm used to be, and looked horrified. When he touched the bone, it sent a surge of unbearable pain through him. He watched helplessly as his arm got eaten by the motor.
Neither Giggles nor Mime had the luxury of recovering from their injuries at the moment, they were on a clock that was ticking fast. All 5 of them piled into the van and drove off back to Cuddles house, making sure the headlights were off, as to make sure the Tiger Army didn't spot them.
Aw man... I am so sorry it took so long to continue this story. My workload at home has been pretty intense for me lately. Also I kinda felt that I had to go back and add some things to the previous two chapters before I could start on this. To know that I actually got another chapter done, really gives me a sense of accomplishment.
Also as a side note, you probably noticed that no one has actually died in this chapter. I can assure you however that their absolutely WILL be death in the next one, and I am pretty confident that there will be death in every chapter after that.
Anyway, thank you for being so patient with me. I'm gonna try to get Chapter 4 started real soon.