Original post date: 19/11/2013. Updated post date: 29/07/2017
Thank you very much to: The High School Hero, AHeartForStories, Guest, BlackPetals23, sonicxblazey, KumarKitty24, The Shadows Rider, Zgirl101, Waveandcipher, DoubleEclipse, Chaotic Reflections and aesthetic umbrella! Thank you for your support, everyone! It really inspires me, especially at this early stage!
The High School Hero - Aw, thank you very much, FFN BFF! :D Yeah, Bartleby is in this story but I think you'll like Sonic's reaction to him in this chapter ;D Ah, well, I won't spoil anything about the Silvamy elements — it shall develop in future chapters. And we'll see more of the mystery as the story unfolds :D
AHeartForStories/ Guest - Already hooked? Thank you very much! :3 That really made me smile! :D
BlackPetals23 - Haha! :D Ah, sorry about that! xS Well, hopefully you'll remember the switches but there will be different relationships between all the characters, which should make it different from Timelock House. And I shall be adding more characters!
sonicxblazey - I'm afraid not :(
KumarKitty24 - Aww, thank you very much! :D Yeah, Tails and Cream should be interesting 'spiritual ones'! Ah, well, there will be a bit of flirting between Silver and Amy — but I will place warnings in particular chapters if anything major develops, to warn people, and it won't affect the plot :) Aw, no problem! Thank you for reviewing! :3
The Shadows Rider - Ah, well, don't worry — there aren't any references to Timelock House. Oh, nope, you're not meant to understand it yet! ;D Actually, a few people have commented about the pairings. Basically, the major pairings are Knouge and Silvamy — but there are romances all over the place which can be ignored and taken for friendship. This story is focusing more on the mystery side of things rather than romance :D
Zgirl101 - N'aww, thank you so much! :D
Waveandcipher - Ha ha! Aw, thank you! Well, I hope you're not too scared yet because I plan for it to get a lot scarier than this! (Probably more gory and creepy than Timelock House). Thank you very much for your awesome review! :3
DoubleEclipse - Thank you very much for your review! I have to say, I completely agree with you — after I read about the technology thing, I sat and groaned about how the years would work better if they were swapped around, but specific events are assigned to years and characters, so it would be difficult to change. In the edit, I have used your review and more research to make this story more historically accurate — I've changed movies to drive-ins in '67, specifically looked into what sweets were popular in the 60s and texts were slowly becoming common in '94 ;D I'm really glad that you're enjoying it so far! :3
Chaotic Reflections - Thank you ever so much, Chaotic! :') I'm so glad and flattered that you're enjoying it! :D
aesthetic umbrella - Thank you so much! :'3
The news shocked Blaze more than she would have imagined.
"How can they have disappeared? W-Where were they when they vanished?!"
"They went out to play, near the woods. Vanilla specifically told them not to go in, though, and you know how placid Cream was. I find it hard to believe that they'd go in and not come back for so long."
Knuckles rolls his eyes, "They're kids. They decided to chance going in there and got lost. They'll come back in a couple of hours, I betcha."
"Knuckles, not all kids break the rules like you do. And, besides, Vanilla has already trekked through every inch of that place — they're not there. They've literally disappeared into thin air. There's nothing to suggest where they might be."
"Nothing. And, regarding your theory, they've already been missing for a couple of hours. They left at around ten and were meant to come back to Cream's house, at noon, for lunch."
"There must be something. Muddy footprints, snapped twigs, I dunno! One person wouldn't be able to look through that place by themselves," The red echidna snapped, scratching the back of his head.
"When Vanilla came back from searching, they sent out a whole group of people and they still found nothing!" Rouge lashed out, "For God's sake, Knuckles! There isn't anything!"
"Then why did you tell us this like you wanted to go and find them?"
"I didn't! Would you rather that I hadn't told you?!"
"I never said that!"
"Knuckles is right. There must be something," Blaze calmly retorted, loosening the collar of her shirt and surprising Knuckles and Rouge into silence. The three of them were entering the very woods that Tails and Cream had vanished from — it provided a quick path from their school to Lilliwell, rather than going around, using the roads. Admittedly, their parents had never been content with the idea of them strolling about in the woods' darkness. But Knuckles always said that he would protect and accompany the girls and Blaze highly doubted that anyone would kidnap them, around here.
But that didn't explain the disappearance of Tails and Cream...
"Maybe we should have a look around, while we're here. We might find something," Blaze suggested, scanning the area for a moment before dropping to her hands and knees. She dug around in the dirt before leaping up and checking another area.
Knuckles shrugged, kicking the mud around and glancing through the branches.
Rouge didn't look impressed, "This is stupid. They couldn't find anything, Blaze! What makes you think that we're going to find something?"
"We're kids. We might understand where they've gone," The cat reminded her, still scrambling about on all fours, "Knuckles, when you were younger, where did you go to play?"
"Hm," The echidna frowned, picking up a loose branch and waving it around for a moment, "The lake. It's more fun there. When I was a kid, I'd always play there."
"We're not going to the lake!" Rouge huffed, waiting for the other two to see sense and back down, "Come on, guys, your parents will be worried. Besides, it's drive-in night! What do I have to do to persuade you?! Knuckles, you can choose the food! I'll even eat those disgusting sherbet Dip Dabs that you like! And Blaze, that western movie is showing tonight, El Dorado! You wanted to see that, didn't you?"
It was true. A part of Blaze would rather be passing up Knuckles' gross sweets and watching gun slingers on a screen in the stifling heat of Rouge's car. But that wasn't the point. She needed to try and help these kids. It wasn't their disappearance that scared her. It was the fact that she knew these children. She knew them.
"If you want, you can go back, Rouge. I don't mind. But I'm going to try and find something," Blaze called out to the bat, leaping up and running ahead, "I'll be at the lake!"
"Blaze! Wait!" After fruitlessly yelling, Rouge glanced at Knuckles, who was staring at her with a stony expression, "Fuck. We can't leave her. She'll get into trouble. She could even get kidnapped. Something grabbed Tails and Cream; it could get Blaze. She's just a kid, after all."
"You're right. I'll go with her. You can go back home and tell our parents that we stayed behind at school. It won't be dark for a while. We'll be okay."
"No way. I'll come with you. If you two are out here, I'm not going to just swan off home, am I?" She huddled further into her denim jacket, as she followed after the lavender cat.
"Thanks," He muttered, walking alongside her, "But, you know, you give Blaze less credit than she deserves."
"What are you talking about?"
"She's a kid, but a smart one. If anyone can find Tails and Cream, it's her. Besides, she's only eight months younger than I am. She's only a year younger than you."
"C'mon, Knuckles. She's so naive when it comes to the real world! She thinks that it's like the worlds in her books; she doesn't know what it's like. She doesn't know what kind of messed up people are out there! I couldn't bear it if something happened to her. That's why I'm coming."
"So that's the only reason?"
"Yeah. Well, that and to spend some alone time with you," She winked at him, suggestively, making his throat clench and his stomach whirl.
A blush developed on Knuckles' cheeks, "W-What?"
"I'm only teasing you! God, you blush so easily, Knuckie. I'm embarrassed for you."
"Yeah, right, sure. Whatever," He grumbled, picking up speed, as the bat began to jog after Blaze, who was heading down the path towards Lake Brightwitch.
"Shads, get a grip. The car will be fine. Stop fussing."
"Call me that again and I'll eviscerate you. And I don't want to leave my car somewhere for it to get vandalized!"
"It won't! Look, we're going to be late. Just lock up and leave, already! I promise that it will be fine! If it isn't...I'll buy you a new one!"
"Really?" This exclamation was starting to interest Shadow. Then again, it wasn't out of character for Sonic to yell something so dramatic in his moments of desperation, "Do you swear?"
"On your mother's life?"
"I swear on my mother's life."
"On your brother's life?"
"Can we just go already? It's getting late. We're going to miss it, if we're not careful!"
"Of course. I don't think that ghosts like being kept waiting."
Sonic struggled to keep a smirk off his face, "People are dying, Shadow. Not exactly the best time to be telling jokes."
"Lighten up, you sour-hog."
"You, of all people are telling me to lighten up?"
"Heh, you can watch my blue behind as I beat you in another race, slow-poke!"
"Not this again..."
"I clearly won that race!"
"I distinctly remember crossing the line before you."
Before their dispute turned into something major, Sonic and Shadow heard the sound of footsteps coming into earshot. As soon as he saw his brother, Manic the Hedgehog's face lit up in glee.
"Bro!" The brothers embraced, patting each other on the back as they laughed, "I've missed you, man!"
"Me too, dude! It's been quiet. I've missed the sound of your drums."
"Ah, shame, bro. I'll put on a concert for you, after we've sorted all of this out."
Sonic chuckled, scratching the back of his head, "I'll hold you to that! Anyway, I'd like you to meet someone. This is Shadow the Hedgehog."
Manic's eyes widened as Sonic pointed towards the ebony hedgehog. Shadow straightened up, leaving his car and holding out his hand, "Hello."
"Uh, 'sup," Manic shook Shadow's hand, nervously eyeing him up, "I've heard a lot about you. Sonic really values you as a friend."
"Don't get all mushy on me, Manic," Sonic interjected, blushing in embarrassment.
Shadow smirked, enjoying the look on the Blue Blur's face, "Really? Well, he never said."
"Probably because you never listen to me. And, besides, we don't want your head getting any bigger than it already is," Sonic rolled his eyes, mockingly.
Shadow didn't look impressed, "Thanks."
"Ah, my second brother-in-law," A yellow mink suddenly stepped forward, prompting Shadow to narrow his eyes in suspicion. He didn't look like your average mobian. With springy yellow hair that seemed to be curled and a long, red trenchcoat which gave him a 'regal' appearance, Shadow presumed that this must be the Lord Bartleby which Sonic had told him about, "How...lovely...to see you again."
Sonic didn't seem to notice Bartleby's unenthusiastic greeting, "Yo, Bartlebutt. How's Sonia? And the kids?"
"They're fine. In light of the recent events, I suggested that they stay with your mother. I couldn't bear it if something happened to them."
"I hate to say it, but that was a good call. You made the right choice. Anyway, Bartleby, this is Shadow the Hedgehog," Sonic stepped back, allowing Shadow and Bartleby to glare at each other.
The conceited mink simply sniffed, "Who? Look, Sonic, I don't have the time to meet all of your little friends. In case you didn't know, we are being savagely attacked! Who knows who could be next? It...It might even be me!"
"Jeez, I don't know how Sonia puts up with him," Sonic whispered to Manic, though he didn't entirely bother to lower his voice.
The green hedgehog nodded in affirmative, "Yeah, true, man. But, then again, I have to live in the same place as him with nothing in return. At least Sonia gets some benefits out of it."
"Not like that, you idiot."
Ignoring Sonic and Manic, Shadow sourly stepped forward, "Listen. I'm no little friend of Sonic's. If you want to survive this, you'll need assistance. Insulting me isn't the way to get me to help you."
"...Apologies," Bartleby lowered his head, almost guiltily, "I shouldn't have tarnished you and Sonic with the same brush. Perhaps you're different. Anyway, you'll help us, then?"
"Depends. I'm still a little confused about the whole situation. Shall we go somewhere and discuss the matter?" After receiving a nod from Bartleby, Shadow turned to Sonic, "Are you okay with this?"
"Uh, sure, whatever. Where should we go?" Sonic stepped forward, shooting a small glare at Bartleby and feeling partially jealous that Shadow had managed to earn the mink's respect, "What about yours, Bartleby? No point in going back to the inn, and Manic's house is further away."
"Very well. Follow me, then," Lord Bartleby took the lead, navigating the hedgehogs through the market square in front of the town hall. Manic marched at the back, allowing Sonic and Shadow to converse without being heard.
"Well, I'm glad to see that you've made a new friend," Sonic huffed.
Shadow gave him an innocent yet hardened look, "What is that supposed to mean?"
"You. And Bartleby. Shall I make you two matching friendship bracelets? Are you going to visit him every weekend, drink rosemary tea and discuss the fashions of society?"
"What the hell are you on about? Are you jealous?"
"Of course not!" The blue hedgehog muttered, ignoring the knotting feeling in the pit of his stomach, "I just can't help but notice that you two are getting particularly cosy."
"Hmph. I can assure you, I'm not getting...cosy...with him. I am simply using him to find out what is going on. Don't you want to help? I thought the whole point of this trip was to stop whatever is happening here."
"Yeah, it is. I just don't like the thought of you and Bartlebutt becoming BFFs."
"BFFs? What? Look, Faker, I think you're making something out of nothing. Let's just get this over with. Try and place nice."
"Play nice? I do play nice! He's just such an egotistical, arrogant, hoity-toity—"
"That's not playing nice."
They had now left the countryside, leaving the city with a hearty wave and a shroud of smoke. The endless rolls of grass and trees seemed to last forever as they passed several rickety fences. The sheep were grazing and lying down, simply enjoying the sunny splendor of the day and basking on the glory of a picture-perfect sky.
Amy was sitting with her back in the direction of the train's movement; Silver was seated opposite and could see where they were going. He gave her a broad smile as she glanced at him. His camera was neatly hung around his neck, ready to quickly snap a picture of anything he fancied. Amy knew how he felt, because she always kept a notepad and pen in her bag, in case she suddenly came across a possible interview or a new story.
"We should be at the next stop in about an hour. Silver muttered, stretching in his seat, "Do you want a coffee or anything?"
"Uh, okay. A coffee would be great, thank you," Amy leant towards her bag to get her purse, when the train suddenly slammed to a halt, tossing its passengers to one side like rag-dolls. Silver was pushed further back into his seat, whilst Amy was flung across the carriage. She smashed into Silver's chest, groaning as her face brushed against his chest fur. She blushed at the photographer when the situation dawned on her.
"Sorry," She mumbled, hiding her red cheeks behind her pink quills, as she stood up and sat back in her own seat.
He bore a grin, as he rubbed the back of his head, "It's okay. You alright? No injuries?"
"No, I'm okay. Thanks. Are you?"
"I'm good. I wonder what happened?"
"Let's go and find out!" Amy leapt out of her chair, grabbing her bag and pulling Silver along by his wrist. He made a faint sound of confusion, but he didn't struggle and seemed just as keen to investigate.
The two of them headed towards the carriage door, turning the handle and stepping out onto the earth. The doors of the train, which would have been locked if the train was about to move, were loose and easy to open. The steam from the locomotive train (which was the only form of transport in the area, because the mainline was down) was billowing out and the smell of coal was foul and thick. Silver coughed, clutching his camera and wafting the air around his face with his free hand.
"It looks like it's broken down or over-heated," Amy pondered aloud, marching towards the train and tapping one of the conductors — who was observing the train — on the shoulder. Silver scurried after her, feeling a blush form on his cheeks at her confidence.
The conductor turned around, revealing himself to be a large, grey albatross. He frowned, looking confused and tired.
"Yeah?" His question was snappy.
"We'd like to know what's happening," Amy jutted out her chin, remembering to stand tall when she was feeling intimidated, "The train just stopped, without warning."
"I know that. If you can also tell me what's going on, then be my guest. The train just stopped. For no reason."
"The machinery is all intact?" Silver stood by Amy's side, relying on his faint knowledge of mechanics, "Nothing's broken?"
"How stupid do you think I am? Nothing's broken! My boss is checking it over again, but nothing is wrong! It should be as clean and working as a whistle. We have no idea what's happened. It could be a while before we fix it."
Amy's shoulders slumped, "How long is it until we get moving again?"
"STORM!" A female voice yelled out to the group, followed by the figure of a purple swallow striding towards them. The albatross rolled his eyes, towering over her.
"What? I'm talking to some passengers!" He barked back.
"I need you to move something in the train. Jet will tell you what it is. He can't lift it. We need your...muscles."
Storm's glare turned into a look of delight, as he took the opportunity to flex his arms in front of Amy and Silver. Mainly Amy.
"I guess I better go then," He called out, jogging off in the opposite direction, "Ask Wave any questions!"
"Sucker," Wave muttered, treading carefully towards the reporter and the photographer, "I see you have questions. My name's Wave. How can I help?"
"Well, we were wondering how long it would take for the train to be fixed?" Silver replied, smiling at her, warmly, "We're both on a tight schedule. She's getting off at Gupton and I'm getting off at Lyphenthorpe."
"Gupton? Lyphenthorpe?" Wave sucked in her breath, pessimistically, "No way. Well, you're not getting there today. It's about an hour by train. God knows how long by walking."
"Do you know how long it is by car? I have a friend who could take us there," Silver offered, making Amy's face light up in a grateful and hopeful smile.
"Good call, but I heard something about a tree being down on the main road. I'm afraid that you're not getting to Gupton or Lyphenthorpe today."
Amy felt her heart sink in disappointment, but she forced a cheery grin and gave the grey hedgehog a small hug, "Thanks for the offer anyway, Silver."
"No problem," He mumbled, faintly blushing.
"So, what are you going to do?" Wave asked. She wasn't really too bothered, but she wanted to look like she was interested in customer satisfaction.
"I guess we'll have to head back. But I live miles away and it'd be a waste to turn back now," The photographer moaned, more to himself than to the girls.
"Well, there's a village nearby, around here. You could go there. I'm sure that they have an inn or a hotel or something. I could come and collect you when the train is fixed. We're not going anywhere until I get this baby moving."
"You'd really do that for us?"
"Sure. Call it part of the service."
"Oh, thank you!" Amy squealed, pulling Wave into a tight hug. The swallow grimaced, but patted the excited hedgehog on the back.
"No...worries..." She wheezed, after being let out of Amy's vice-like grip, "You two should get going. Sun-down isn't that far away and I need to get back to work. I guess you two are stuck with each other now. I'll come to get you as soon as we're fixed."
The swallow sauntered off, in the other direction, leaving Amy and Silver to grab their bags and get going.
"Well, it's a pleasure to meet and be working with you, Amy Rose," Silver grinned, cheekily, holding out his hand for her to shake.
Amy snickered, as she shook his hand, "Likewise, Silver the Hedgehog."
Wave glanced behind her to see the two of them head into the carriage and come out again, with their bags, before strolling down a little dusty road.
She smiled, "Still, it's weird. We checked the train this morning. It was fine. Finer than fine. And now it's like it just decided to stop working. And that tree that fell down...no storm, nothing. Weird."
"Hey! Wave! Stop talking to yourself and get over here! We need you!"
Oh well, she thought, back to work.