Skip reached the address Betty had sent him, little more than a handmade sign post on the side of a sunny dirt road in the mountains. He went to call her for further directions only to find that his phone had no signal. “Oh, come on!” he yelled glaring at the ‘no service’ warning at the top of his phone.
“Betty!” he yelled “if this is another random survival, I’m not playing it this time. The police said they won’t let you off with a warning if they catch you testing doom bots in the forest again.” The road was eerily quiet, broken only by the sounds of squirrels and birds in the trees.
Skip looked around and found an ominous red letter tucked behind the sign. With a sigh he walked over and opened it. Inside was a note that read:
Thank you for responding to my summons, please follow the path or various nuts to my location.”
Skip looked around quickly to see that there was no sign of nuts anywhere. So he continued reading the letter.
“If the nut trail has vanished then just walk about 10 minutes up the path until you find my purple hoodie on the fence post with an electric fence. Just climb over and head up the side trail until you find the clearing.
The Professor Wicked! MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
P.S. There are no doom bots or survival experiments this time so stop complaining about it. (or is there? MWAHAHAHA) (no seriously there’s not now get up here)”
Skip turned over the paper to find the words “Or is there really? MWAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!” printed on the back.
With a sigh he forged into the forest and sure enough found the hoodie after about ten minutes next to a tall electric fence with a warning sign that said “Do Not Lick”. He looked around for something to help him over the fence without getting electrocuted. He begrudgingly turned and examined the purple hoodie. In the pockets was a pair of dollar store rubber gloves and some duct tape.
He taped up his shoes and donned the gloves, then with a deep breath started to climb the fence as quickly as possible. he made it up and over with no problem but tore one of his gloves in the process so when he went to descend was sent flying into a nearby tree as several thousand volts of electricity tested every pain receptor in his body at the same time.
After a few minutes of painful groaning he lifted himself to his feet and trudged deeper into the forest. It got increasingly darker as the old growth of the plant life merged into an impenetrable canopy of green. Then as the trees parted he was suddenly greeted by the familiar form of Betty sitting at a collapsible table in the hastily constructed camp she had built in the clearing. A large tarped cage to one side of it, taking up a large portion of the area.
“Hey” Skip said, “I made it.”
Betty looked up from her papers and strangely sculpted mounds of play-dough. “Yes! I knew you’d come.” she squealed as she got to her feet and ran to grab his hand. “I finally did it!” she beamed, dragging him into the clearing towards the covered cage.
“So why am I in the ideal place for a murderous cult ritual on my day off?” Skip asked with familiar exhaustion.
“Because I did something awesome and I want you to meet it!” she countered waving his comment away like a mosquito.
“If this is a new doom bot, I’m making you pay for my cab back to town.” Skip folded his arms eyeing the tarp with deserved hesitation.
“Pfft, you know I can’t build doom bots anymore.” she chuckled, grabbing hold of the tarp. “They took away my frequent buyers’ card from Tech-bag Express.” she said solemnly before adding perkily “That’s why I’ve moved onto genetics!” with a strained yank she managed to slowly start the unveiling of a large and ferocious beast that spat a ball of green energy at Skip. He ducked just in time for it to crash against one of the chairs behind him. For a second nothing seemed to happen, then it erupted in a flurry of rapidly growing vines and flowers.
“Well, that’s something you don’t see everyday.” Skip observed cautiously poking the flowery chair.
“I know right!” Betty said prancing around the cage, “I combined together a dozen different species but most of the genetic material came from a squirrel and a tortoise.” The large green furry creature wiggled its ears and sat staring at Skip and Betty.
“Hi little guy,” Skip said softly reaching a hand out towards the cage. The thing squeaked and withdrew into its hairy shell.
Betty shrugged, “He’s a little shy but that’s why I want you to help me take him into town. I figure if he has a chance to play with people, get used to the feeling of a Volkswagen under his feet, and raid a few grocery stores for jerky, he’ll be acclimated to society in no time.” She put her hands on her hips and stared proudly up at her creation. “Isn’t that right Pistachio?” she cooed. The tail of the thing waggled happily, shaking the ground, as it vibrated with excitement.
Skip got his phone out and took a picture of it. Then went to dial a number, “Whatever just let me give my lawyer a call to give her a heads up this time.” His expression soured instantly as the phone once again beeped at him saying ‘No Service’.