Let DOWN!

Chapter 8 . . . Okay. She Wasn't Dead.

"Ah, hello, loyal readers! How you all doing? Splendid? Perfect." Koreki grinned widely, "Before we start this chapter I have two announcements. First off, this next chapter includes various mentions to the 'fact' that I am dead- if dead things insult you, you may want to look away from the words at that point. Secondly, we have a very special public service announcement."

All the lights flicked off, until a single spotlight appeared over Koreki. A film projector clicked on, and a fuzzy image appeared on the wall behind her.

"Many homeowners also share their homes- or, rather, their yards, with the ever popular pink flamingo. Plastic flamingos are very interesting creatures, never messing up the yard or requiring feeding. Therefore, many lazy owners buy them and stick them into strategic places in their yards, figuring if they had to decorate the lawn, they could just spend 3.99 on doing so. Some owners are great friends with their flamingos, like me and Flamingmoe."

She waved a hand to the potted bird.

"Well, it's sad to say that many owners put their flamingos near their driveways. Every year, thousands of lawn flamingos are injured and flattened by careless owners who, sadly, back up into their false-feathered friends. Many are returned to the stores, but MANY. MANY more are just thrown away like trash and quickly replaced. This cycle goes on daily, and without your help, the cycle will not be broken."

"That's why there is FLOCK- Flamingo Lovers Offended by Careless Kooks! FLOCK is a non-profit organization that repairs broken flamingos and turns them back to their original owner, just like new! If they refuse to take it, we slap 'em with a big lawsuit! If the flamingo is unrepairable, it is cruelly melted down in our furnace and turned into the free keychains you get for joining! Yes, together with FLOCK, YOU can help us save the flamingos, one penny at a time!"

A ton of people in Flamingo costumes suddenly danced out behind Koreki.

"Two percent of every donation actually goes to the flamingos- the rest is secretly stockpiled and then used to purchase illegal merchandise, as well as your social security numbers and credit cards! Donate today!"

After finishing the public service announcement, the scene shifted to the small stream, clear water dirtied by blood. Koreki had long been abanded by Tetsuko at this point, the broken girl floating down the freezing stream, numb, and unable to move. Around slow bends and down some curves, Koreki finally snagged on a branch protruding from the fine silt.

"So. cold." She shivered, staring skyward. "Am. I going. to die here.? All alone.?"

Suddenly the images of her friends appeared in the sky.

"Ken! Strange little boy with magical powers that are strangely strong for someone that small! Cosmic thinger! That little angel, Edea! Flamingmoe! Heinz! Please. someone. take me out of the stream! Someone reach to me. can you. can you hear me? Heeeeeelp!"

Suddenly it all faded, forming one last figure in the sky.

"Oh." She gasped, "P..peridox!"

The figure waved at her from the clouds.

"My. sweet, sweet Peridox. have you come to save me? Please. reach for me! Show me you care!" Koreki began to writhe to her best ability. "Bring me to a bed, in a room with a lockable door! Please!"

The figure merely stood up, then turned, back facing Koreki. The sounds of a videogame chimed.

"No. why. are you leaving? .Will I. never see your face. again? Come.come." Koreki suddenly let out a gasp, all internal operations stopping in a graceful sweep. Her eyes glazed over, as she rested in the bitterly cold stream, heart gone silent.

"She still isn't back, oh dear." Heart buzzed around the apartment, having searched high and low, "Koreki! Koreki, where could you be?"

Oleander suddenly let out a loud shriek- immediately Heart was by his side.

"Edea, what ARE you doing to the child?!?" Heart spoke without looking first, "Don't torture him!"

The boy, whimpering, was pressed to the wall, staring at the figure before him- a lawn gnome, with sunglasses.

"Ollllleeeeander.." Edea moaned from behind the creature, "Preeeepare to meeeet thine dooooooom."

THUD.

"EDEA! SHAME ON YOU!"

"NYAHAHAHA!! 'E's like them stupid fainting goats!" Edea fell over, laughing her head off, "Ah've never met anybody more fun! AHAHAHA!"

"That's it! I have had enough of your treachery!" Heart's core suddenly flashed red as the room faded to black, everything rumbling. Flames roared up behind her, "I shall repay your sins!"

"Yeah, whatever. Give me all ya'll got, toots!"

Ken looked up from his writing as the sounds of lazer beams came from the living room. Sighing, he capped his pen and set it down, then rose and walked to the door. Opening it a crack, he spotted Edea running around like mad, with Heart on her tail, firing rainbow-colored beams at her. Staring for a moment, he tried to listen in.

"HOLD STILL!"

"Ya'll can't catch me!" Edea blew a raspberry. "Ya couldn't catch a dead 'possom, either!"

"OOOH! You'll get it!"

ZAP! "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIGH!"

Ken suddenly ran in between them, shouting, "What do you think you are DOING?!? Edea? Are you." His words dropped dead as he turned around.

"PINK! PINK! MAH WHOLE BODY IS PINK!!" Edea shrieked, being a nice, bright pink from head to toe. "ANYTHING BUT PINK!"

"Now you behave or I won't turn you back. For at least three hours, you must remain pink, and think about what you did to that poor child."

Ken shrugged and walked back to his office. This was out of his league. Edea gave Heart a vengeful death glare, who responded with a mere 'Hmph!' and floated to Oleander. Being spiteful, the little demon suddenly ran to the kitchen with an idea stewing in her oversized head. Meanwhile, Heart was gently nudging the boy.

"Oleander, you must wake up now."

"Ugh." His eyes slid open, "W-what happened?"

"That terrible Edea. oh, but no matter, it is all over with. Are you okay?"

"Y-yeah, but my head k-kinda hurts."

"Oh, you poor dear!" Heart exclaimed, "Let me go find you the children's advil!"

Oleander nodded as Heart suddenly took off.

"Hey! Cool! It's a body!"

"Do you think she's alive?"

"I'unno, let's poke her with something!"

"Here- you take one too. Ready? Commence poking!"

Koreki's mind slowly drifted back to reality. In her mind, she spoke: "Who is. poking me?"

"I'unno, she looks kinda dead, but the way her skin is springing back."

"Maybe she's in a coma. Like how that one kid was on television!"

".maybe. she IS from a television show!"

"WOW!!"

Koreki moved her head slightly, still thinking. "What are those voices.? They sound. like heavenly angels." Her eyes slowly slid open.

"GAAAAH!" The two voices screeched in unison, as the figures immediately jumped back.

"Big brother, I think it may be alive!"

"Miraele, stay here while I poke it to make sure."

Poke. "Ow! My eye!" Koreki slapped a hand over her face.

"It IS alive! Wow!"

Rising, the young woman found herself to be dripping with some rather cold water. "Where am you? Who are on? What's going I?"

"Huh?" Both of the kids looked at each other, then at Koreki. "What'd you say?"

"Lost and confused and scared!"

"Oh! Don't be scared!" The boy chimed, smiling.

"That's right! We're not dangerous!" The little girl jumped out beside him, nearly falling over.

"Who.?"

"Miraele!" Miraele grinned from ear to ear, "Quuuueeeeeen of the world and collector of treasures!"

"Coren!" Coren gave a thumbs-up, "Stereotypical ten year old with an annoyingly hyper little sister and freckles!"

"Miraele. Coren. I'm Koreki."

"Ollleander.."

"Huh?" Oleander looked up- he had been placed on the couch, with all the comforts he could ever want surrounding him, while reading a book. "W- who's there?"

"Y'all have angered our spirits!"

"I h-h-have?" He gulped. "W-w-what did I d-do?"

"Y'all trespassed on sacred ground! HIYA!" Suddenly Flamingmoe shot up, with whipped cream smeared around his beak. "PREPARE TO DIE!"

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!" Suddenly his staff was snatched up.

"..uhoh. I forgot about that." Edea suddenly let the flamingo go, slowly backing up.

"G-g-g-gaaah do something!" He waved his staff- suddenly the entire top half of the apartment building EXPLODED.

"." Ken slowly capped his pen and tucked it in his pocket. Nearly burnt to a crisp, he got up from the smoldering chair, and began to walk against the charred floor to the doorframe, which once led into the living room. All of the furniture was nothing but ash and charcoal, except for Heinz and Flamingmoe. Walking to a big pile, he dug around in it until he felt something- giving it a pull, he freed Oleander from the black dust.

"You okay?"

Oleander coughed repeatedly, tears in his eyes. With some patting on the back by Ken, the child recovered, then gave a faint nod.

"Good. Edea?"

".Y.yes, dearest?" Edea popped up from an ash pile.

"What happened?"

"HE BLEW THE FRICKIN' BUILDING UP- that was the coolest thing I've EVER seen. Do it again."

Ken rolled his eyes. "Heart?"

"Beside you dear."

"Can you fix the apartment?"

"Sadly, I cannot. The special effects budget has already been used for this episode."

".lovely."

"SO! Step you gaily, on we go! Turn of heel and twist of toe! If there's one thing to know; be glad that you're still walking!"
The three childlike figures were busy skipping to some unknown destination, Koreki singing gaily. The children would laugh and clap along, like some stupid movie about families. All in all, it was a sappy scene.
"You're funny!" Mirele was hanging off her arm, "You're like an overly big kid!"
"Huh? Well, I AM only five." Koreki grinned.
"No way!" Both of the kids gasped.
"Yeah! I'm MAGICAL."
"How did you get so big?" Coren blinked, confused.
"I broke the rules, didn't eat my veggies, and neglected to brush my teeth!"
"YAAAAAAY!"
"Plus I was awake past bedtime and I'm a TYRANT!" Koreki gave a thumbs-up, beaming, "Be a demon and you'll be big in no time!"
"I'm gonna be extra bad!" Mirele smirked, "So I'm as big as you are!"
"I'm gonna be so bad that. that. uhm." Coren suddenly knocked Mirele over. Mirele responded by bursting into tears.
"Woah, woah, hey now." Koreki picked Mirele up, "Pushing girls isn't cool."
"Oh."
"Yeah, you turd!" The little girl blew a raspberry.
"You're a toad!"
"I'm hungry." Koreki's stomach roared in agreement.
"We can go to our club and get you a sandwich!"
"S.sandwich?" Koreki blinked.
"Wait, big bro, don't we have one in the bag??"
".We DO."
Two hands reached into the bag around Mirele's shoulder. The two children raised their hands up, holding a plastic-wrapped sandwich. Suddenly all the clouds in the sky faded, a strong beam of lighting shining straight down on the sandwich. Tears freely rolled off Koreki's face as she stammered incoherently.
"This is for you, Koreki!" Both of the kids now seemed to have halos and white wings, "Because we love you!"
"Aaaaaaahhhhh.. I love yoooooooou!!!!" Koreki grabbed it and ripped the plastic off, eating the sandwich in one bite. (She dropped Mirele while doing so, but the girl didn't mind) "You are my heeeeros! I'll do whatever you say, my masters! Mmm, good."
"Wow, silly, that sandwich was three months old."
"HURK!" Koreki suddenly slapped her hands over her mouth, "No-wait- I'm keeping it!"
The two children burst out into laughter, leading her across the ground to the secret hideout.

"AND STAY OUT!" The landlord slammed the door.
".so we got kicked out." Ken was standing on the sidewalk, with Edea on his shoulder. "And we have nothing left. Just great."
"Don't worry, dear, I'll work something out, I promise!" Heart beamed, "There's a cheap hotel just down the street!"

UNTIL CHAPTER 9. . .