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This chapter is dedicated to PurpleJerk, of whom helped me come up with the name of this chapter. :3
NOTE: This chapter might seem kind of boring and cheesy to some of you. It's another one of those chapters that focuses primarily on a few select characters instead of everyone at once. For those of my loyal readers who long for more action/adventure scenes, you will have to bear with me because they don't come for a while. However, trust me when I say they ARE coming, I just won't give away too much. ;)
Chapter 10: Driving to the Brink of Insanity
In spite of the recent scarring occurrences, the horror of what happened at the beach party was left unspoken. In fact, Samlovesham’s mellow harp strumming beside the Weeping Willow tree and SakratheHedgie’s thoughtful writing and sketching in her notebook underneath said tree set a scene of discrete serenity that greatly contrasted the stress of what they had all recently witnessed. Because of this, the following morning remained passive.
Isabel ignored the glaring silence and strangeness of a fantasy world without her stubborn alter-ego screeching in her ear as she wandered through the park and into the cottage. When she passed by the game room, she heard some commotion and decided to check it out.
It was Slappy, along with Candy, Tash and Lucy playing a game of poker. As Isabel came in and inspected the cards and multi-colored chips, she raised a disapproving eyebrow.
“Oh, hey Toon!” Slappy said with a huge grin.
Isabel put her hands on her hips and scowled slightly, “You guys are playing poker…? Really?”
Slappy chuckled, “Yeah, it started with me wanting to bet the last $20 in my wallet…you should join us.”
“Yeah, I’d rather not…” Isabel said with a sad sigh.
“You might like it, Toon; it’s all about probability and psychology…” Tash pointed out as he smiled timidly.
Isabel relaxed her pose and pondered perceptively at this comment, “Hmmm, well I do like psychology…”
All of a sudden, Candy smiled knowingly and dropped her cards, “Come on guys, let’s leave and let Slappy teach Toon the rules…” As she and the others left, she winked and gave them both a thumb up.
At that, Slappy and Isabel were left sitting and awkwardly gazing in opposite directions.
After a long pause, Slappy finally found the nerve to speak up, “…Um, look, I’m sorry I got so competitive the other day, it was just my anomalous way of getting us to hang out…”
“Anomalous?” Isabel repeated.
“Yeah,” Slappy said, not looking up.
Isabel sighed once again in aggravation, “You know, if all you wanted was to hang out, you could’ve just asked me…”
Slappy cringed fleetingly, “I know, but you know it’s not that easy…you would think something was up and turn it into some big thing…”
Isabel shrugged helplessly, not knowing what to say in response.
Another long pause succeeded as Slappy looked away in disrepute and Isabel anxiously bit her lip.
“I’m sorry about your friend dying…” Slappy said.
Isabel suddenly snickered, “She wasn’t really my friend; she was just…always there…”
Slappy thought deeply for a moment and then smiled softly, “Well, you want to take a walk to keep your mind off of it?”
“Okay,” Isabel replied in a spacey tone.
Without a word, they stepped outside. As always, there was a warm, pleasant breeze that Isabel gladly took in as she inhaled profoundly. Samlovesham’s gentle harp-playing could be heard faintly in the background along with the placid, cheerful sounds of birds. Overall, things were mild and calm.
As they walked, Isabel quietly and casually rolled her eyes towards Slappy. She didn’t fully understand why she was putting up such a front with him; he was actually being sweet. Maybe she just didn’t want to let herself back in so easily.
Suddenly, Isabel found herself in a place she didn’t recognize. Had she been over this particular hill before? There were so many hills. Comforted by the fact that Slappy was still walking beside her, she decided to ignore the fact that she felt lost and instead continue walking and going with the flow. After all, this was supposed to be a meditative walk.
Some reflective time had passed when they saw a big, grey, dusty garage up ahead. Instantly, the same penetrating sense of adventure and curiosity that had enraptured Isabel as a child had come back full swing as she eagerly ran towards said exciting, mysterious garage. Slappy, who was finding it hard to keep up, decided to keep a safe distance.
Thoroughly enjoying her rediscovered childhood intuition, Isabel peered around to see what was up.
Out of nowhere, the garage door slowly creaked open revealing a large, purple convertible. Isabel’s eyes widened as her mouth gaped in shock. Slappy, too, was shocked as he noted the car’s grand size and presence from a distance.
“Come on! Let’s take this baby for a ride!” Isabel said elatedly.
“Um…are you sure it’s safe…?” Slappy asked warily as he walked towards her and the vehicle.
Isabel scrunched up her face in uncertainty, “Psh, ‘course it’s safe! This is my fantasy world; I highly doubt I’d dream up a killer car!”
Slappy rolled his eyes at her logic, “Okay, I just don’t want to see you get hurt is all…”
Isabel tilted her head in confusion as she leaned against the automobile, “…Slappy, what’s gotten into you? It’s so unlike you to take precautions…”
“It’s different when you’re around,” Slappy explained. “I just don’t want to put you in danger…”
Isabel chewed on this thought for a brief moment as she stared at some distant dandelions blowing in the breeze.
“…Well, I just want to take a risk for once in my life,” she stated self-assuredly. “I don’t know what the heck this car does or why it is here but…I’m going to get in!” and that she did.
In the spur of the moment, Isabel hopped over the door and landed butt-first on the front seat. Much like the cottage, it was much roomier on the inside than it appeared to be on the outside. Immediately beginning to second-guess her thought-process and question her motives, Isabel sat quietly. By contrast, Slappy nonchalantly opened the unlocked door and sat next to her.
They stayed like this for a while as Isabel stared worriedly at the keys that were dangling and jangling next to the steering wheel.
“Well,” Slappy finally said. “Aren’t you going to drive, now..?”
Feeling self-conscious, Isabel quickly glanced over at Slappy, then back at the keys.
“Um…I guess so…” Isabel replied in a small voice.
Anxiously, she started the car. The sudden, rumbling noise of the motor engine intimidated her. Taking short, alarmed gasps of breath, she put on her seatbelt. Then, her sweaty palms shifted the gear into drive. She glanced back over at Slappy, who was staring suspiciously at her.
Isabel winced as she tightly shut her eyes and slammed the gas. When she opened her eyes, she realized they were flying…but not for long. The rest was a blur as Isabel lost control of the steering wheel and the convertible was speeding mercilessly in all directions. Screams of profanity escaped Slappy’s vocal cords as their lives flashed before their eyes. Though Isabel was having a heart attack on the inside, she was not freaking out on the outside. Instead the abrasive action put her in a state of paralysis where she could not move to save her life. She could not even feel herself blink.
Slappy’s shrieks of terror snapped her out of it, “STOP THE CAR!!!!! STOP THE CAR!!!!!”
Briskly, Isabel slammed the brake again.
Surprisingly, the car remained intact. After they were both done hyperventilating and contemplating what had just happened, Isabel looked over at Slappy in guilt.
“Okay, so here’s the thing…I don’t really know how to drive…” she confessed as she smiled in embarrassment.
All Slappy could do was glare in utter annoyance at the painful overtness of what was being stated.
“Don’t look at me like that!” Isabel exclaimed defenselessly. “I guess I just kind of figured I would mystically…know how in my fantasy world…”
Slappy remained silent.
At that, Isabel chuckled nervously and impulsively scooted out of the front seat, “Why don’t you drive?”
Meanwhile, the rest of the users had discovered that the cottage had other incentives that weren’t pointed out to them; one of them being a giant-screened movie theatre with crisp resolution and top-notch sound quality.
At around 4:00 pm, Ar0n and Becky were seen coming out of said movie theatre laughing and talking and appearing to be enjoying themselves greatly. Alica, who was standing by herself nearby, immediately took notice of the distinct noises of fun and pleasure being uttered.
A few moments passed and the two associates at last seemed as though they were about to part ways.
“Goodbye, Tle!” Becky said sunnily.
“Bye, Becky!” Ar0n responded with equal satisfaction and fulfillment.
Becky didn’t have to walk far before she saw her once best friend scowling back at her.
Becky smiled shyly, “…H-hey, Alica…”
Alica skipped the friendly greetings, “What was going on in there?”
Becky’s eyes widened in discomfort as a sense of acute unrest flushed over her, “…Nothing.”
Alica crossed her arms in insecurity, “…It didn’t sound like nothing…”
“Well, why do you care..?” Becky asked softly in misunderstanding.
“No reason…” Alica said abruptly.
Becky glowered and sighed in frustration, “When did it suddenly become unacceptable for me to hang out with my friends…?”
“Oh, don’t play so innocent; what did you guys even watch?” Alica asked sensitively.
“I don’t even know, okay!? We were too busy throwing candy and popcorn at each other!” Becky began to raise her voice in anger.
“OH, just what I thought!” Alica affirmed.
“Oh, I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to get between you and Ar0n’s closet time!” Becky bitterly retorted.
In response, Alica became red with rage as she scoffed and stomped off. She then briefly came back to pick off a piece of leftover popcorn that was stuck in Becky’s hair.
In the meantime, Slappy and Isabel had been driving around quietly and aimlessly for a few hours. Finally, however, Isabel spotted a location she could recognize.
“Wait! I know where we are, now!” Isabel exclaimed.
They were headed towards the highest hill in the entire park; the one that Sydney had shown her that overlooked the fantasy world.
“Could we park up there and sit for a few minutes..?” she asked keenly.
Slappy glanced uneasily at the steepness of the hill, “All the way up there..?”
Isabel smiled winningly, “Yeah, there’s a breathtaking view…”
Slappy narrowed his eyes grudgingly as he looked at her, “Okay,”
Once they made it to the top, they both got out and climbed onto the hood of the car. For just a few brief moments, all was silent. Staring at them was one of the most remarkable views imaginable. All they could do was stare back in awe.
Just then, Slappy’s eyes wandered over to Isabel.
He smiled warmly and then smirked a bit, “Toon, this is going to be our car…”
Isabel raised her eyebrow in question, “Wh-what do you mean…?”
“If either of us have personal issues, we should drive up here and talk them out here…deal?”
Isabel smiled slowly, “Deal!”
They then shook hands. At that, Isabel hopped off the car and began walking away.
“Don’t you need me to drive you back?” Slappy asked from the hood.
“Nah, I can walk back,” Isabel reassured him as she started down the hill.
On the way down, she chuckled quietly to herself, “Silly Slappy…”