Once More the Nightmare Factory is the twenty-sixth chapter of Zak Saturday's Immortal Love Life. It was first published on January 26, 2016.
We all were standing in front of Weird World. Me, my family, and the Hollingers. We were going to save Fiskerton. Sure, it was suicide, considering how dangerous this place was, but we were going to save him if it was the last thing we did. We were not going to leave without him.
“Huh,” I said, looking up at it through binoculars. “It looks bigger on TV.”
“This isn’t a mission for jokes, Zak,” Dad said. “Eleven years ago, your mother and I broke into Weird World to get the Kur Stone back. We lost over half the membership of the Secret Scientists in that assault.”
“I know the story, Dad. I was just trying to break the tension.”
“Tension might be what keeps you alive, kiddo,” Mom said. “You gotta be on guard every second you’re in there.”
“If you can’t take this seriously, I don’t want you anywhere near this nightmare factory,” Dad said.
“Dad, I know,” I said. “It’s not some mystic rock this time, it’s Fisk. I’m taking this seriously, and none of us are going home without him.”
“Alright then. Let’s talk about our infiltration—”
He was interrupted when Mom suddenly broke down the front gate using her fire sword.
“It’s not like he doesn’t know we’re coming,” she said, then ran toward the door.
“Well, she’s right about that,” Raylee said.
We followed closely behind Mom.
We got inside and I didn’t hear any alarms go off. We walked forward cautiously with our weapons in hand, ready for anything that was going to attack us at any moment.
“On the show, it looked like Fisk was being held in some kind of dungeon,” Mom said, referring to an episode of Weird World that aired after Argost had captured Fisk. “I don’t remember one from last time, but I guess—”
“Second basement, main hall, fourth door on the right, down one floor,” I said like I was a GPS. “There’s a stone staircase on your left.”
Everyone stared at me.
“I talked Uncle Doyle into getting me a model of Weird World for all the birthdays he missed,” I explained.
My parents didn’t look happy about that.
“What? You’re gonna get mad about it now when it’s useful?”
“Nice,” Zack said. “It’s kind of cool,” Sarah admitted. “I looked at it myself, but it’s hard to remember where something is and how to get to it.”
“Careful,” Dad said. “Nothing we’ve faced can prepare you for Weird World. There are things here I hoped I’d never see again. Things so horrible—”
“Guys!” Sarah said frantically.
I noticed a fuzzy creature run across the room in front of us. It was hopping around.
“Are you kidding me?” I asked. “You almost gave me a heart attack over a sheep dog?”
“Oh, great, Zak,” Sarah said. “Now you made it angry by calling it a sheep dog.”
“Isn’t that what it is?”
“Then what is it?”
It walked between us like it wasn’t angry and just happy that we were here. That is, until, he came into Komodo’s path. He rose his claw to attack it.
“Komodo, no!” Mom called.
His claw came close and the sheep dog attacked back. It stuck its head out and needles sprouted from its fur and began shooting them at Komodo. He managed to knock down a small table that was next to him and use it as a shield, but he kept jumping around the furniture and it followed.
Eventually, he came near us. We began running around the room and used furniture as shields. Sarah was right: it wasn’t a sheep dog.
“What is that thing?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” Mom said. “That’s exactly the point. Don’t trust anything in this mansion.”
The creature had stopped shooting needles for a moment and walked around our shields to find us.
“I got it,” I said.
I slingshot the claw behind me and it grabbed onto a couch. I pulled it in front of us, blocking the creature.
“Zak, wait!” Dad called.
Too late. Again.
I slingshot the claw onto the door knob of a door a few feet away from us and, as soon as it grabbed onto it, a jolt of electricity shot out of it, through the claw, and onto me. The shock hit me like lightning.
My mom managed to get the claw out of my hand and I collapsed to the ground.
“Zak. Zak! Talk to me!” Mom said while holding me.
Sarah came over, looking worried.
“That wasn’t on the model,” I said slowly, breathing hard.
Sarah laughed halfheartedly. “You really think that something like that would be on a model?”
I managed a smile. She kissed me on the cheek, which was a little embarrassing since my mom was holding me.
“This door is the exit,” Dad said, gesturing to the one that zapped me. “I remember it from last time.”
“You don’t think he’s remodeled in eleven years?” Mom asked.
He didn’t answer. He put his hand on the door nob, but, unfortunately, it didn’t shock him like it did to me. (Yes, it’s unfortunate, because it wasn’t fair.) He opened the door and a strong gust of wind blew in.
We moved behind a couch, which was where the creature was, and it looked about ready to shoot needles at Zon. I grabbed the claw and activated my powers.
“Everybody ok?” I asked.
Zon taunted the creature.
“Easy, Zon. I’m barely holding that thing back. It’s pretty angry.”
Mom and Dad got the door closed.
“Then let’s not push our luck with another door,” Mom said, unsheathing her fire sword and blasting it at a wall.
“Let’s go!” Dad said.
I deactivated my powers and we all ran through the hole in the wall.
I looked back and noticed that a lot of bugs had appeared and began putting the furniture back where they were and they were even fixing the wall. Eventually, the wall closed up and it looked as if it were never blasted to pieces. I thought it was weird and cool at the same time.
We entered another room that about half the size of the last one.
“Stay close,” Dad said. “This house isn’t done with us yet.”
He took a step forward and someone appeared out of a small part of the wall and tackled him. Dad managed to get him off of him and they had a little stand off.
I recognized the person. “Uncle Doyle!”
“Miniman,” he said. “It’s about time the rest of the rescue party showed up.”
“How did you know—” Mom began, but he interrupted.
“Saw the new Weird World episode. No big secret who was growling behind that dungeon door.”
“Uh-huh,” Dad said, not sounding convinced. “So you were just hanging out, watching our archenemy’s TV show . . .”
“Hey, it’s good TV,” Doyle protested. “Oh. Are we doubting Uncle Doyle’s loyalties now?”
“Not at all . . . if this really is Uncle Doyle and not another Weird World trick.”
“Dad!” I exclaimed.
“Are you serious?” Doyle asked.
Even Mom had to agree. “What, he’s a clone? Pod Doyle? Since when is Argost capable of—”
“We don’t know what Argost is capable of,” Dad interrupted. “You don’t think it’s suspicious that Doyle just happens to run into us on Argost’s home turf?”
All of a sudden, Amber and Shillow jumped onto Dad and Doyle and knocked them to the ground. We didn’t understand why they did that until a sharp metal blade fell right where they both were standing not a moment ago.
“Whoa,” they both said and stood up from the ground.
“Oh my God,” Raylee said. “Nice quick action, you two.”
“Hey, it’s what we do,” Amber replied.
Dad looked at Doyle. “Truce?”
He held out his hand.
“Done,” Doyle replied and shook his hand.
We ran into another room and, long short story, we all got tied up by blood sucking vines. Luckily, since Raylee had her powers, she summoned fire to burn the vines away and to the ones from hurting us. We all exited the room through a door and closed it behind us to keep the alive vines from following.
We all were breathing hard.
“Ok, that was dumb,” Doyle said. “We can’t go running around all in a pack. We’re too large a target. We need to split into teams of two, smaller, quicker. I’ll go with—”
“No,” Dad interrupted. “That’s how this place got us last time. We split up, and it picked us off one by one.”
“But, Dad,” I argued. “It makes sense to—”
“This family is staying together.”
Doyle wouldn’t except that. “Then I’ll race you to Fisk.”
“Doyle, wait!” Mom called after him, but he was already running.
When he got about fifteen feet away, apart of the wall came out suddenly on his right and smashed him into the wall on his left. I don’t know why, but Raylee started laughing.
“Uh, what’s so funny about that?” Zack asked her.
“Just how he said he would race us and he got stopped by that not five seconds later,” she replied between fits of laughter.
“Ok,” Sarah said, not really sure what to say about it. “And why do you find that funny?”
“Because I do. You know how easily I can laugh.”
Sarah and Zack shrugged.
We focused back on the situation.
“Doyle!” I called.
We ran to the thing and pulled it back from the wall, which didn’t take long thanks to the Hollingers super strength. We pulled it back just a few feet at first and I looked through the opening.
“Doyle!” I called again. “He’s ok.”
There was apparently another hallway on the other side of the wall he was crushed into.
“Really?” he asked while rubbing his head.
“Hold on,” Mom told him. “We’ll get you out of there.”
Spoke too soon, again. The bugs from before appeared out of nowhere and began repairing the damaged wall.
“What the . . .” Dad said.
“Hurry!” I said. “He’s getting closed in.”
We began to pull on the thing again, but the bugs were faster.
“I’m still racing you to Fisk,” Doyle said just before the bugs closed up the hole completely.
“Cool,” I said. “We should storm this place again when we don’t have someone to rescue. You know, so we can really take it all in.”
“Zak . . .” Dad said.
“I know, but the jokes make me feel better. It’s what I do.”
He sighed. “I’m not asking this for you, Zak. It’s for me. Our last mission here was a fiasco. I blame myself for that. I just don’t want it to happen again, not to my own family. I don’t think I can take that.”
We all were sympathetic.
“I know what you’re saying, Doc,” Raylee said. “I’ve lost parts of my family before because of me and I wouldn’t want it to happen again either. But I do agree with Doyle, though. We need to split up. We are way too big a target.”
Dad was about to protest again, but she held up her hand to stop him.
“You stay with your family. I’ll stay with mine. But, Sarah, you can stay if you’d like. They might need an Immortal’s help.”
“Don’t you think a more experienced Immortal should help them?” she asked.
“You’ll become more experienced if you stay. But the rest will go and we’ll contact you by either calling your cell phone or through telepathy if we find Fiskerton, ok?”
“Be careful,” Dad said. “This mansion can trick you easily.”
“Don’t worry,” Raylee assured him. “I’ve been in worse situations than this before.”
I didn’t find that hard to believe.
The Hollingers waved goodbye to us and then walked away down the long hallway and disappeared. Then we heard an odd sound from all around us.
“I remember this noise,” Mom said. “This noise is a bad noise.”
“Run!” Dad said.
And that we did.
We ran down the hallway and there were those clocks on the walls on either side of us and bionic arms came out of them and grabbed onto Dad. We had ran into a room.
Sarah had grabbed onto my hand and we, plus Komodo, stepped on something that spun us around in a circle. Half a minute later, Komodo was thrown to one side, and Sarah and I were thrown to another and down a hatch. She held onto me even tighter than before. We fell onto the floor of a chasm, with her landing on top of me. Why am I always the one breaking the falls?
“Where are we?” Sarah asked, helping me off the ground.
“I don’t know,” I said.
I looked around, seeing only one exit.
“Zak,” Sarah said frantically.
I looked where she was looking and saw a cylinder roll out of nowhere and it opened up, a lot of small red bugs coming out of it and were causing the room to shake.
“Why does everything cool try to kill me?” I asked out loud.
“I don’t know,” Sarah said.
She summoned fire to her hands and began blasting them all. But the shaking became too much and we fell back to the ground. A pillar collapsed right next to us, so I grabbed Sarah and I pulled her away before we got crushed by it. I was annoyed now, and grabbed the claw.
“Knock it off!” I said and activated my powers.
I was in control of them all and they stopped.
“Thank you,” Sarah said.
Then we heard voices behind the walls right next to us and I recognized them.
“Ok, maybe one more time,” I said, and directed the bugs onto the walls.
They shook it and the walls crumbled to pieces. Water poured out of one and Sarah summoned a force field around us to keep us both from getting wet. When the water washed away, I noticed my mom lying on the floor. I ran to her.
She sat up. “Zak!”
Then Komodo jumped on top of me.
“Guys, I’m ok,” I said. “I— Zon!”
She looked like she was in a cement cocoon. I slingshot the claw toward her and pulled her to us. Mom used her fire sword to break the cocoon. She stretched her wings out and I gave her a hug. She cooed.
“Yeah, I’m glad you’re ok, too,” I said.
Then I heard Mom gasp. “Zak, that’s the last piece of the Kur Stone.”
I looked where she was looking and saw it sitting on a pedestal to our left. How had I not noticed that before?
The room began shaking again, and debris started to fall.
“Mom, we have to go!” I said.
Bugs were coming toward us.
“Go,” she told us. “I’m right behind you.”
We ran down the tunnel on the other side of the room and the room collapsed behind us. We just kept running. After a while, we heard some yelling and we recognized it as Dad’s. We ran in the direction of where it came from.
“Doc!” Mom called.
We entered a room and noticed Doyle and Fiskerton.
“Fisk!” I ran to him, giving him a big hug. “I missed you so much. Don’t ever, ever do that to me again.”
Sarah, Zon, and Komodo came over and welcomed him back.
“Doyle, we heard Doc yelling,” Mom said, getting back on the situation.
He was looking around a part of the floor a few feet away. “They fell down here. Doc and Argost.”
“What?” I asked.
Sarah investigated the spot where he was. “This button right here opens it up.”
She gestured to it on the wall. She pressed it and a part of the floor opened up.
“Let’s go!” I said, and jumped down it, everyone else following.
We ran down a flight of stairs.
“Dad! Dad!” I called.
Halfway to the bottom, I noticed him holding Argost down to the ground. He noticed us.
“We’re ok. All of us,” I told him. “Fisk too. Doyle rescued him.”
“Zak. Drew?” he said, sounding relieved. “It—it didn’t happen again?”
Argost kicked Dad off of him while he was distracted and jumped into the river right next to him.
“No!” Dad said.
Argost had opened a sewer pipe and went inside of it.
We ran to Dad.
“We’ll get him another time,” he said. “If you’re all safe, then it’s over for now. We won.”
Just as he said that, a creature that looked like a very large half crab, half octopus arose from the river behind him.
“Uh, Dad?” I said.
He crossed his arms. “No. I don’t care. I am not turning around to look at it. It’s over. We won.”
The creature had a lot of tentacles and it grabbed onto all of us with them, moved us through a sewer and threw us outside.
“Well, I’d have to call that a success,” Dad said while brushing himself off.
“More than you know,” Mom said. “Take a look at my souvenir photo.”
She showed us a holographic picture of the Kur Stone.
“The complete Kur Stone,” Dad said. “You found Argost’s last piece.”
“Yeah. Too late to beat him to the Tomb of Kur, obviously, but this snake woman really caught my eye.”
“Nasty,” I said.
“Nothing about why Argost would’ve kidnapped Fiskerton, though,” Mom continued. “Did he say anything, Fiskerton? Doyle?”
Fisk rubbed the back of his head.
“Guy’s just a psychopath, I guess,” Doyle said. “Hey, Fisk. Come here and tell me what a hero I am.”
They walked about twenty feet away.
About half a minute later, Dad called to him. “Doyle, I need to talk to you.”
We walked up to him.
“Are we really doing ‘I told you so’s on this one, Professor?” Doyle asked. “I mean, I am the one who found the missing—”
“I want you to come back with us,” Dad interrupted.
I was surprised and also happy to hear that.
“Uh, you mean, like, a sleep over?” Doyle asked. “Because if you’re asking me to join the team, I’m pretty sure I already turned down that.”
“Doyle, I’m asking you for help,” Dad said. “You just survived Weird World alone for the second time. There are things you know, skills you have, that I just don’t.”
“Wow. This must be really hard for you to admit. Keep going.”
“All I care about is protecting my family. If it’ll help do that, I want you to train Zak to do the things you do.”
“What?” I asked, surprised.
“Uh, not all the things you do,” Mom corrected.
“This is great!” I said. “I’ll be like your apprentice. No, sidekick. Partner. Fisk is the sidekick.”
He didn’t like that.
“You’re gonna say yes, right?”
Doyle thought about it for a moment. “Like I’m gonna say no now. Welcome to boot camp, miniman.”
Sarah rolled her eyes. “Oh, great.”
We heard someone laughing behind us. “Don’t worry, Sarah. It should be fine.”
We turned and noticed Raylee and the rest of her family emerging from the woods.
“Hey, guys,” she greeted.
“Hey, Mom,” Sarah said. “What happened?”
“Well, we were dealing with one thing after another and we got thrown out here a few minutes ago. But none of us got hurt. And I see you guys found Fiskerton, so you succeeded in your quest.”
“Yes, we did,” I said.
“And Doyle’s coming back,” Raylee continued. “So, I guess, welcome back.”
“Thanks,” he replied.
This was so awesome. Doyle’s coming back. He’s gonna teach me to be like him, and, more importantly, we saved my brother without anyone dying.
This was probably the best day of my life so far.
Fiskerton's safe, and Doyle's come back. I actually liked this episode. I hope you guys liked this chapter. The next one is going to cause quite some drama, and you may partly know why, but not just with the Saturdays. Something serious is going to happen with the Hollingers.
Please review here.
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