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Title: Project Nexus
Chapter: Chapter 5: Shadow of a Doubt
Rating: PG-13 / T
Characters: Critic, Chick, Linkara, Spoony, MarzGurl, Doctor Insano, Doctor Tease, Professor Celluloid, Nurse, SOI, Burton, Nimue, OCs. (Brief appearance of The Other Guy and Miles)
Pairings: None (At the moment)
Warnings: AU-ish, Violence, Mild Language a few OC villians. ((This chapter: Character Death (As part of an illusion), scary imagery.))

Disclaimer: All characters/borrowed concepts are property of their respective owners. Therefore I do not claim to own them, nor do I mean any disrespect toward either characters and concepts, or their owners.

Author's Note; Big thanks to EsaEnai of FF.Net for helping co-write a few scenes in this chapter!

A faint scrabbling noise echoed through the cavernous tunnels, a mangy-looking rat sprinting across the stone floor. It ducked left, dodged right, and let out a high-pitched squeak as it barely avoiding colliding with a blue-clad leg. Marzgurl flinched out of the way, shivering.

“Lovely,” she snarked.

The Rangers had found themselves inside a nightmare- long, curving passageways with almost no light. Condensation dripped from the ceiling, the dampness of the air making the hair stand up on their necks. And nicest of all, a weird, inhuman thrumming was echoing through the space, almost below the range of their hearing. They unconsciously drew closer together.’

“What kind of universe is this?” Chick muttered. “Charles Manson’s fever dreams?”

“Whatever it is, my brother is down here somewhere,” Critic answered shortly. “We need to start moving.”

Shoving down his misgivings, he began to walk and was slightly gratified to see his team following him. Their footsteps echoed oddly, mixing together and bouncing down the passage.

“This is just creepy,” Linkara whispered. “It’s like we’re the last people on Earth. Or… whatever this is.”

“I don’t think so,” Critic answered. He raised a hand to point down the way, and sure enough a thin figure could be seen shuffling towards them. They walked slowly towards it, with more than a few hands creeping unconsciously towards their morphers.

As they drew closer, goosebumps rose on their arms.

The man looked like he had lost twenty pounds that he couldn’t afford, as his clothes were soaking wet and pooling over his emaciated frame. All the pigment seemed to have faded from his skin, and light blue veins were visible in his face. His eyes were deeply set in his skull, blinking slowly within red, irritated eyelids. He walked with a limping gait, one leg dragging uselessly behind him.

The team stopped a few feet away, and the man ground to a halt. His mouth worked noiselessly for a moment, and then he was still. There was a long silence.

Critic stepped forward.

“Uh… hello.”  He said, tepidly

The man didn’t respond.

“Right….” He continued, “We’re…  we’re looking for someone. My brother is somewhere down here. About my height. Brown hair. Glasses.”

The man made a low, keening noise deep in his throat. The other reviewers took a collective step backwards.

“Critic, we should go,” Linkara muttered, eyes glued to the figure in front of them.

“Look, have you seen him?” Critic wouldn’t be deterred. “We could use some help.”

The man blinked lethargically, eyes taking on a new, hungrier look. “Help…” His voice was like sandpaper on rough stone, sending chills down their spine.

Critic swallowed against a dry throat. “Yeah. Help.”

“Help,” the man echoed, tilting his head to the side. He reached out a hand, gripping the sleeve of Critic’s jacket.

“Help,” he repeated, voice growing louder. “Help… Help.”

“Okay… thanks for everything. Gosh, it’s getting late,” Critic stammered out, attempting to wrench his arm away from the man’s grasp. “We really should be going, guys.” The man didn’t let go, dirty fingernails digging into Critic’s arm.

“Help,” he rasped, reaching the other arm out as well. “HELP.”

The Critic strained backwards, almost falling as Chick lunged forward and pushed the thin man to the side. The team took off running, the man’s frenzied cries urging them on. The Critic led the pack, sprinting. He flinched with every raspy plea, the voice seeming to bury into his ears.


They had been running for almost ten minutes before they slowed to a walk. It was thirty more minutes before they couldn’t continue- not from exhaustion, but because they could feel their minds beginning to crack.

The caverns were never ending, winding up and down with no pattern. Strange noises would resonate from all sides, reminding them of anything from the whines of an injured dog to the screams of children- sometimes, both at once. They had seen several more shadowy figures, but no one dared to approach them. At one point, a faint stroke of daylight had been visible up ahead, growing further away as they approached it.

The team sat in disarray, curled up to the side of the cavern. Chick and Marzgurl had their arms wrapped around their knees, shivering. Linkara knelt, scratching a line into the dirt on the floor. And furthest away was the Critic, furiously rubbing at his arm. He could still feel the man’s thin fingers wrapped around his wrist.

Chick cleared her throat, voice oddly thick. “I want to go home.” Five simple words, but her empty stare said so much more.

Marzgurl nodded slowly. “Me too.”

Linkara straightened up, glancing at the two girls. He couldn’t help but think that if Spoony was here, he’d know what to do. What to say. Some quip to lighten the mood, or a perfect cheesy joke to make the Critic groan while the others laughed. But he was gone. And all Linkara could think to do right now was agree with them. He pushed up his sleeve, starting to tap the buttons on his morpher.

“Put it away.” Critic’s tone was dangerous. His eyes were fixed on the wall, fingernails tearing at his arm.

“This is hopeless,” Linkara argued faintly. “We can’t stay down here any longer. We’re going to lose our minds.” His gaze flicked down to the older man’s forearm- the nails were tearing it red and raw.

“We’re not leaving without my brother,” the Critic answered, “We can’t. Not when we’re so close.”

“Close?” Linkara could feel a little force returning to his voice, “We’re not close- we’re not anywhere. We can’t take any more of this. If we stay down here, we might end up like them.”

He pointed in front of him, as down the hallway a new pale figure slumped into view. Linkara swallowed hard, but the next volley of words died in his throat as he got another look at the new figure.

A familiar profile.

A porkpie hat.


Critic followed his gaze, eyes widening in recognition. He pushed himself up, heading towards the figure. The rest of the Nexus team followed, slower. As they approached, the figure raised his head to meet their gazes. His skin was significantly paler than before, and his eyes bloodshot and deeper within his skull, but there was no mistaking him.

The Red Ranger swallowed hard, taking a step forward. “Rob?”

The Other Guy’s head tilted slightly, but his face remained impassive. His eyes held no hint of recognition. Critic stepped a bit farther forward.

“We came to get you,” he said in a tone none of them had ever heard him use. “I know you might not remember us… but we’re taking you home.”

The Other Guy swayed a bit on the spot. After a long minute, he raised a thin hand in front of him. Linkara thought it looked like he was shielding himself, but the Critic’s face relaxed slightly.

“Do you remember me?” He asked as raised a hand to meet his brother’s.

And that was when everything- quite literally- started to fall apart.

The Other Guy’s fingertips blackened, and started to crumble, falling apart like dry sand. His face remained impassive, but his eyes widened slightly in apparent panic. The darkness spread up his arm, and the man started to fall apart, piece by piece.

The Critic panicked- his eyes wide, he reached out both hands to his older brother but grabbed nothing but black dust. With a low, keening groan, The Other Guy dissolved. The last to go was his face, eyes piercing them in sheer terror.

And then he was gone, and everything was quiet.

The Critic made no noise; he didn’t move. His hands were still held out in front of him, stained with black dust. He took a shallow, trembling breath. And then he took another breath.

A scream- angry, animalistic- erupted from his throat, and with no warning he threw himself forward and slammed a fist against the stone wall nearby. He swung wildly over and over, blood soon starting to trickle down his knuckles. All the while, he screamed, stopping only to gasp for breath.

The Rangers didn’t move. Marzgurl’s wide-eyed gaze was fixed solidly on the ground, arms wrapped around herself; she was shaking. Chick’s unblinking stare, on the other hand, was only on her boss and counterpart, flinching slightly with each punch. But Linkara’s eyes were closed, trying to block out what had just happened. He couldn’t take any more of this.

He couldn’t.

And then, from the back of his head, a small voice spoke to him.

Open your eyes.

He jumped slightly as he recognized the voice; faint, girlish, comforting. The Girl in the Gun was speaking to him. But why did she sound so strained? Why was her voice so quiet?

Open your eyes. Partner. Friend. Open your eyes.

But he couldn’t. Not when all that was waiting for him was stone and blood and death and madness. If he opened his eyes, he’d lose his mind.

Open your eyes, The girl laughed at him, See the truth.

And somewhere, deep in his mind, something clicked.

The sinking feeling he’d gotten once he landed; the almost unnoticeable drain on his energy. The atmosphere of the cave? Or someone tapping into the magic in the area? Crawling around, unbidden, in his head?

Linkara took a deep breath, focused, and opened his eyes. He squinted immediately, shocked at the bright sunlight surrounding him. After a moment, he looked around, and his stomach sank.
The cave was gone. Everything was, in fact. The stones, the darkness, even the hideous black dust that had been previously drifting through the air. The reviewers were standing in an empty space, in what looked like a desert. The air was dry and the sun beat down uncomfortably, and dust coated every inch of their clothes.

In front of him, his teammates stood in the same positions, unmoved. The Critic was swinging wildly at empty air, howling in unintelligible rage. Marzgurl and Chick didn’t move, eyes staring, unseeing, into the distance. In front of all of them, perched casually on a boulder, was a feminine figure, smiling widely. His eyes widened as he took in the birdlike features, the unabated interest she had in his suffering friends in front of him. Linkara bit the inside of his cheek to keep himself from cursing.

As he watched, the woman raised her wrist to her mouth, and tapped a few buttons.

“Come in, lizard-head.” A burst of angry-sounding static erupted from the commlink. Linkara couldn’t make it out, but the girl smiled cheerfully, “Phase One of the plan is complete!”

“Such language!” she teased, “You might change your tune when you hear this.” She skipped lightly off the rock, and walked towards Critic, who stared right through her as if she weren’t there.

She held her wrist towards him, as he let out a fresh burst of hatred. There was a short silence, and then a shimmering nearby formed into a familiar shape. Tegon faded into view, brow furrowed in irritation. He blinked, unimpressed at the Rangers, eyes snapping to the girls, to the Critic, and to Linkara. Feeling the eyes on him, Linkara sunk to his knees, holding his arms over his face as though he couldn’t bear to watch any longer.

The lizard man looked at him for a moment longer, before striding forward and tracing one, menacing claw along the Nostalgia Chick’s face. A small line of blood dripped down her cheek.

The Pink Ranger didn’t bat an eye.

Tegon turned to the bird-girl, looking even more irritated than usual. “Good work, Retsukagi.”

She batted her eyelashes at him.

“Now how did that make you feel?” she asked

“Like I drank poison,” Tegon spat. He snapped his fingers, and the dirt ground around him erupted into four golems of mud, forming themselves quickly into Synthspectors. The bird-girl shivered dramatically.

“Cree-pyyyyyyyyyyy….” She drew out in a long whine, and Tegon growled low as the Synthspectors moved around the group, surrounding them on all sides.

“Devafen,” Tegon barked into his commlink. “Six to transport.”

Linkara felt a hot stab of panic erupt in his stomach, and he frantically punched a few buttons on his morpher. A burst of static, and then the muffled voice of Insano was audible.

“Linkara? Whe-”

Linkara slammed his hand over the speaker, hissing into the mouthpiece.

“Stop talking. Stop talking now. Did you load Spoony’s coordinates into the Nexus mainframe yet? Yes or no?”

“What? Yes, of course. I haven’t forgotten him; the smug bastard still has my-”

That was all Linkara needed. He began furiously typing at the morpher, as quietly as he could. Nimue was still the controller of the mainframe, and she had always had a decent grasp of difficult situations. Of course, Insano would probably be concerned why his transporter was operating without him, but there was no time to worry about that. He had to get away, and there was only one other person on his team that could help now.

He flicked his gaze upwards to check on his friends. Critic had run out of steam, and was kneeling on the ground, slumped. Retsukagi was walking in a circle around Marzgurl, who had sunk down to sit, crosslegged, on the ground, hands over her face. Chick was pacing back and forth, staring down passageways that existed only in her mind. Tegon was typing away, but seemed to feel eyes upon him- his gaze snapped up, and met Linkara’s.

“Nimue, now! Do it now!” Linkara snapped, standing up and backing away. Tegon snarled, and Retsukagi’s eyes snapped up, her focus broken.

Immediately, the Critic’s head snapped up, eyes wide as he looked around in disbelief. Marzgurl jumped, letting out a shout of surprise, and Chick stumbled like someone had pushed her. Synthspectors closed in, gripping them tightly and painfully. One moved in to grab Linkara, but he disappeared in its grasp.

In a flash of ozone, the Green Nexus Ranger was gone, leaving his team behind.

Linkara wasn’t sure where he’d landed when he woke up, blinking wearily.

Brown. Brown everywhere. Every inch he could see was covered in a thick layer of dirt.  He stood up, dusting himself off.

He was standing in the middle of a ghost town. Every building seemed to be deserted, and nothing made a sound. As he watched, an empty hamburger wrapper made a sad loop in the wind before being snatched up by a rail-thin cat.

The Green Ranger’s head was swimming, and he looked down at his morpher. The lights were dark; he was alone, with no way to get out of this… well, shithole if he was being frank. Dizzy, he staggered over to nearby pile of cardboard and slumped down to think.


A loud voice startled him alert, and he was pushed bodily to the ground. The cardboard was occupied, and out of it emerged…
Linkara blinked in surprise.

“What the hell?! That was my house! “ A dirty looking man in tan jacket yelped, “I’d just gotten the new bathroom retiled! Do you know how hard it is to tile the floor of a cardboard bathroom?!”
Linkara stared at him in disbelief. Chester?”

“How do you know my name?” The Bum cocked his head to the side, curious. Are you from the govern-na-ment?”

Linkara shook his head, and the Bum’s eyes widened as though seeing him for the first time.

“Say… that’s a nice coat.”

Linkara looked down. His coat was torn, bloodied, and burned from his fight with Malachite’s forces. “Uh… yeah?”
Chester nodded fervently.
“Uh-huh. HEY! Lester!” Behind him, a new figure excavated itself from a pile of garbage and slumped over. Linkara’s mouth fell open; it was him. As a Bum. What the…?

“Look at this guy’s coat,” Chester was saying, and Not-Linkara’s mouth opened wide enough to see all thirteen cavities.

OMIGOSH, that is the nicest coat I’ve ever seen in my life!”

“Where?” a new voice asked, and yet another figure waddled over. Familiar eyes stared him down, framed by greasy pigtails. “Ooh! Fancy-shmancy!”

Linkara figured if his mouth fell open one more time, he was going to get lockjaw. “Chick?”

“Hey, mister,” Not-Chick asked craftily. “What would it take to get that coat from you?”

Linkara thought fast. “Welllll….” He said, “Do you guys have someone in charge?” The three of them nodded.

“You’ll get the coat, if you take me to your leader.” He blinked, laughing slightly, “I have always wanted to say that.”

Chester and Lester nodded, but Not-Chick folded her arms.

“Coat first.” She said, holding out her hand,

After a brief internal struggle, Linkara shrugged off his coat and tossed it to them. Not-Chick lunged for it but her much taller companions got there first. The two Bums each held a sleeve, tugging at the coat until- to Linkara’s horror- it ripped loudly in half.

The Bums didn’t seem worried, happily pulling on their own half over one arm before waving him after them down the street. Not-Chick wandered away, grumbling loudly about coat-thieves and fluoride.

Linkara followed the Bums, trying to avert his eyes from the legions of homeless that seemed to populate every street corner. Wide eyes begged him to stop, and more than once the cry of “Spare change?” reached his ears.

Eventually they reached a liquor store with broken windows, shelves long empty. The Bums stepped casually through the window and waved him inside.

 “Your High-mi-nuh-ness!” Chester called out, “ We bring you a stranger with a nice hat!”

From the shadows in the back of the store emerged a figure. A familiar figure, wearing a dirty Burger King crown and a humorless smile.

“Hey, Linkara,” Spoony said. “Welcome to my kingdom.”

Linkara and Spoony retreated to a back room, where a few cartons of flat beer still resided. Spoony slumped down in the center of a pile of empty cans, cracking a new one open. He offered it to Linkara, who didn’t move. He merely stared around the room, taking in the scarred walls.

“What is this place?”

Spoony smirked. “The Bum Universe,” he replied, “Poverty at an all-time high. Around ninety percent. World-wide. Basically, the closest thing to our own universe I could think of.”

Linkara felt his stomach sink. “So that was-”

“You as a Bum.” Spoony took a swig of beer, swallowing with effort. “They call him Lester, or something. Spooky, huh?”

“And you’re their king?” Linkara couldn’t help but grin, “That’s gotta be a huge boost to your ego.”

“Yeah, as if my ego wasn’t already the size of a planet,” Spoony grinned back, “Pecking order is based off of money, here. I’m the richest person they’ve met in years; they crowned me in minutes.”

“How much do you have on you?”

Spoony smile slipped. “Seventeen dollars and twenty-three cents.”

The tension that perfumed the silence in the air could have knocked out an elephant, as the two stood, their eyes focusing on everything but each other. They felt as if the two had a wall of glass around them.  It was as if they knew their words would be like throwing stones, crashing the fragile crystalline barrier until every emotion they’d kept bottled within came spilling out.

Yet, at the same time, both of them wanted to be the first to break that barrier for the sheer fact that, once it was broken, they wouldn’t feel as if they were drowning anymore.

 “You realize that everyone hates you right now,” Linkara said bluntly, “Insano thinks you kidnapped his son, dude.”

Spoony whistled, and from a stack of empty crates emerged a dirty-looking SOI. He chirped happily at the sight of Linkara, bouncing over and burrowing into his neck.

“He’s fine,” Spoony smiled. “He made himself a nice little fort over there.” SOI purred in agreement.

The room fell silent, until Spoony cleared his throat. “Where’s everyone else?”

“Captured,” Linkara said, only a little bitterly.

“What?” Spoony gasped, choking on beer.

The story didn’t take long, and Spoony stared off into space, shaking his head.

“Shit,” he whistled. “I’m not even gone for a day and you guys lose it. I knew it.”

“Not funny.”

“I know.”

There was another long silence. Finally, Linkara swallowed and started to speak.

“Spoony…” he said, “I’m sorry for what Critic and I said. You-re not-”

“Yes, I am,” Spoony interrupted. He crumpled the can in his fist and threw it over his shoulder. “A coward. I’m a dirty coward, and an asshole, and a dickish dick. So don’t apologize; you had it right.”

 He paused, then let out a dark chuckle.

“You know why I really picked this place? I thought it would make me feel better about myself. A king among paupers. But Jesus… this place is like living in one of those sad Sarah MacLachlan commercials with the sad puppies. It started making me miss Oreo even worse. I mean, look out there.”

Linkara risked a glance out the window. Across the street, a five-year-old in a too-big shirt was trying to eat a rock. Nearby was an old man, staring into space. Linkara winced, pulling away from the window.

“God Almighty.” Linkara sighed, “this is just….”

“I know,” Spoony said, “And you know what I realized? That’s us, or worse. This is our universe if I don’t stop feeling sorry for myself and get off my ass. So don’t apologize to me.”

He paused, and then murmured. “I’m sorry.”

Linkara felt a smirk pass over his face.

“Good,” he said, “Keep saying that. But, for the record, none of us were right about any of this. Maybe we both should have been a bit more careful. I mean, tensions are high and we’re both terrified—”

“Hey now,” Spoony winked, “Let’s not turn this into some after-school special, hurt/comfort fic, okay?”

The two looked at one another, barely able to keep themselves from laughing.  Soon, their laughs filled the dirty, run-down room with warmth that both of them felt had been gone far too long.

 “Now,” Linkara asked, “how do we get out of here?”

“I believe I can help with that.”

The raspy voice made them turn in shock. General Vanmir stood in the doorway, helmet tilted casually to the side and arms crossed.  SOI let out a screech and ducked behind the two Rangers as they stood up.  In one swift motion, Linkara drew his Magic Gun, aiming it at the General’s helmet.

 “You have five seconds to piss off,” Spoony growled, “before I shove a hammer up your shiny metal ass.”

 “Just tell us what you want,” Linkara said, still aiming at the General, “And leave. In case you forgot, we’ve got a few friends that we’ve got to rescue because of you and you’re little group.”

“Easy there,” The General said, holding up a hand, “If I was going to kill you, I’d have done it already. You want to help your friends, right? Then listen carefully.”

The two, though still not convinced of the man’s trustworthiness, they lowered their defensive stances just slightly.

“I’ve heard that you’ve been up against Retsukagi’s illusions before,” General Vanmir said, looking over at the gamer, “Right, Spoony?”

Spoony nodded slowly, suspiciously eyeing the masked man with uncertainly. What exactly was this man getting at, he wondered? Of course he’d fought against it, he thought—he’d fallen for it a little too easily.

“What do you remember about it?” The General asked.

“Hmm,” Spoony bit his lip, “I remember it being really dark whenever I was running around. It didn’t seem like it had any affect once I got up on the roof.”

Immediately, the gamer’s green eyes sparked as an idea came through his head. It was as if suddenly as if he had been only looking at half of the picture before. The answer seemed painfully obvious to him, now that he thought about it.

For what felt like the first time far too long for the gamer, a smile spread across his lips. This smile, didn’t weigh heavily on his face as if it were only there as a barrier for less happy thoughts that he’d rather not express.

“Linkara,” the gamer said, grabbing the comic reviewer by the arm, “I think I know how to get everyone out of this mess.”

“That’s great,” The Green Ranger replied, “But, would you mind sharing with the rest of the class, please? Some of us don’t operate on the same wavelength you do, remember?”

“Sorry,” The Yellow Ranger said, jerking his thumb in the direction of the General, “But, I still don’t trust Heavy Metal over here not to snitch on us to his buddies. No offense, pal.”

The General said nothing in response, choosing instead to only tap his foot impatiently as if he thought that would make the two Rangers move faster. Immediately, Linkara reached for his morpher, only for Spoony to shake his head.

The comic reviewer quirked his head just slightly, giving the gamer a quizzical look. However, the gamer could only flash him a look that silently reassured his friend that, for once, he knew exactly what was doing.

“Linkara,” Spoony said, “Contact Insano. Let him know that his son is fine, and teleport him back to the base.”

Nearby, the pink orb let out an excited chirp as he leapt from his hiding place behind a cardboard box and landed on the Green Ranger’s shoulder. No words of protest were spoken before Linkara punched in a handful of coordinates.

Spoony held is breath as his mad scientist double’s voice echoed through the static of Linkara’s morpher. He could already imagine the heart attack Insano would have when he knew that Linkara had found Spoony and SOI. And, he was almost positive that the mad scientist would probably be using him as a guinea pig for whatever crazy, dangerous experiments that he could think up of as punishment. But, at this point, part of him was pretty sure that being mutated into a radioactive sea slug probably wouldn’t be enough punishment.

A brief flash of light and a surprised squeaky giggle heralded SOI being teleported back to the base, leaving the two Rangers and the General alone in the room.  Now, the two looked at the black-masked man, eyeing him with the same suspicion as they would had they been cornered by a rabid dog.

“I’ll drop you two as close as I can,” The General said, “But, I ain’t throwing my ass into the fire for you. I’m already risking too much just being here.”

As the General stalked past the two of them, typing something into the device on his wrist, the two reviewers looked at one another, their eyebrows raising as their eyes darted between the man’s wrist and their own.

That device, they noticed, looked similar to the morphers they wore around their wrists. However, where the mini-computer their wrists were decorated with white and their Ranger color, this one was black and gold.

They remembered something that was said back whenever they’d first been given their morphers. Insano had mentioned that they’d originally designed six morphers, but the last had been lost when Linksano and Doctor Block had disappeared during a mission. Was it possible that either the General or Malachite had been able to steal the morpher and was now using against them?
And what about Linksano and Doctor Block? They wondered. Was it possible that the General had found them and captured them? Or had had they killed them and taken it from their cold, dead hands?

Either way, neither one was exactly enthusiastic about the prospect of asking, lest they risk meeting the same possible fate. However, even if they were willing to ask, it would have been difficult, as that the armored man’s morpher started blinking. Almost as if responding to the other device, the other two morphers began to flash rapidly.

“Spoony,” Linkara said as the green energy of teleportation began to surround his body, “You owe me a new coat, by the way.”

“If we make it out of this alive,” Spoony smirked as his body started to become engulfed in sparking golden light, “I will personally learn how to sew and make a coat for you.”

The Green Ranger was not given a chance to reply, as three bright flashes of light filled every square inch of the tiny room, whisking away the former inhabitants from that dimension.

Outside, the three bums, Chester, Lester and Not-Chick, as well as a few others, had gathered around the window, trying to remain hidden as they eavesdropped on their “king’s” conversation with the two strangers.

Like the dirty carboard boxes they stood upon, the group toppled backwards into an unsightly heap as they were momentarily blinded by the sudden flare of light.
Once the light had faded, and their vision had returned, they dared to peek into the room again. Now, however, the room had been as empty as it had been long before Spoony’s arrival. Upon noticing the now vacant room, the group was left speechless.

However, it was Chester that was the first to break that silence.

“Oh my god!” he shouted, flailing his arms about in the air as if he were a sports fan at an exciting football game, “That was the greatest—whatever that was—I’ve ever seen in my life!”

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