Chapter Forty-One: Mistake
The loud roar of the crowd carried all the way to the Council building, where Mr. Jones was waiting.
“It sounds like Giggles has mobilized the entire city. This doesn't look good at all.” Master Revolver looked out of the window.
“It doesn't help that SOMEONE had to commit a crime right in front of everyone and give the little wretch ammo.” Daryl scowled at Mobster Marion, who glared back.
“Blaming isn't going to solve anything.” Mr. Jones walked between the pair towards his desk. He opened the top drawer and pulled out his Demon mask. “I originally donned this mask to get rid of those interfering mongrels, who invaded my home and interfered in my personal affairs with my daughter Sunny. Now could be the time to not only remove the vigilante problem, but destroy any future hope of a resistance.”
He walked back to the window, clutching the mask in both hands as he watched the advancing crowd.
“Pleasantville has thrived on the darkness for two centuries. It has become a prosperous city dealing in dirty little secrets. It is where I was born, it is my home, and I won't see it brought down by some upstarts who think they know better!” He growled.
“Plus there's the fact that crime pays much more than this so called 'honest work' they keep sprouting.”
“So what's the plan?” Master Revolver asked.
“Daryl, has the Ruby Suit been repaired yet?” Mr. Jones looked at his son.
“I'll go and check.” Daryl quickly scooted off. Mr. Jones beckoned to the others to join him.
“Call the rest of the DVM.” He said “It's time to face the music.”
The crowd were roaring behind the Knights of the Last Order, who stood with Chuckles beneath Giggles, who was floating proudly, arms folded in triumph.
“Get your buns out here Demon, it's time to face the music!” She cried. “We aren't scared of your mob any more, we out-number you a hundred to one!”
The thunderous roar from the crowd signalled their approval of their leader and the chants for Demon Jones and his crew to show their faces were deafening.
“She's really doing it.” Sir Dark looked around disbelievingly.
“She's really doing it.” Sir Hedgehog echoed, thinking of his wife, daughter and long-lost best friend.
“It's all going to end. Pleasantville is finally going to be free.” Lady Luck whispered.
Lady Courage looked up at Giggles. There were no more pangs of jealousy now, only a fierce pride and loyalty to her friend.
“Thank you.” She said quietly.
Finally, Demon Jones stepped out of the Council building, flanked by Master Revolver, Mobster Marion and Ruby Daryl. On the roof of the building stood the entirety of the Death Valley Mobsters, all armed and ready to attack.
“We still out-number you even with the DVM! The age of darkness is OVER Jones, and the sooner you realise that the better off you'll be!” Giggles yelled.
“Oh? You think sheer numbers will win?” Demon smirked.
“I KNOW they'll win. We've finally had enough.” Giggles pointed out.
“Enough you say? Enough of prosperity and an easy life?” Demon looked down his nose at Giggles. “I thought you were intelligent Giggles.”
“Easy for whom?” Giggles snapped.
“Easy for everyone!” Demon laughed. “Less people get hurt when the status quo is maintained.”
“Unlike you, we're not afraid of a little pricked finger in the name of progress.” Chuckles stood underneath the floating Giggles. “The time for a fair go is now!”
“Very well. Have it your way. We gave you a chance to back down but you foolishly gave it up.” Demon shrugged.
“YOU'RE the fool Demon, and the time of Pleasantvilles freedom is nigh! Who's with…me?” Giggles spun around, ready to whip the crowd into a frenzy.
The only ones behind her were Chuckles and the Knights of the Last Order. Everyone else had vanished.
“They took one look at the guns and remembered who's in charge and why. They know their lives are better served by minding their own business instead of challenging the system that has worked for centuries.” Master Revolver told them as Giggles slowly dropped to the ground. “It's over Knights, your crusade is over, you've lost. Give up now and we'll go easy on you.”
Giggles felt all the blood drain from her face. They'd all run away on her. She'd failed and now because of her rashness, something she'd always held against Chuckles, because of her the Knights of the Last Order, her friends, they were all going to die.
She felt her fingers brush the Lucky Seven Gun. Even if she wasn't opposed to killing, they still wouldn't survive against the hundred or so Mobsters who had their guns aimed at the heroes. She felt herself sink to the ground next to her best friend, to whom she owed a huge apology if they somehow survived this.
“We're dead. We're completely dead.” She gulped.
“At least we tried, right?” Sir Hedgehog tried to remain positive, but his voice was laced with fear.
“We'll certainly go down in history, but not for the reasons we wanted to.” Lady Courage thought of her daughter. Of how Melody could very well grow up without a mother and without hope.
“We're going to fight our way out of this.” Chuckles growled, pulling out the Lions Claw Blade.
“Charlie are you INSANE?” Giggles hissed so the others couldn't hear. “They're all armed to the teeth and out-number us twenty to one!”
“We'll just distract them. Up you go!” Chuckles grabbed Giggles before she had a chance to protest, throwing her into the air.
She squeaked angrily, the Backpack making her soar high into the air. She sighed and pulled out the Lucky Seven Gun.
“Here's to the Improbability Clause.” She muttered, before firing blindly.
“GET HER!” Demon screamed. The hundred Mobsters began firing. Giggles braced herself for the rain of bullets, but only a few scratched her.
It was then she realised that she was right in front of the large setting sun. They were missing because they couldn't see her.
She looked to the ground. The others had scattered, and Demon was furiously yelling at the Death Valley Mobsters to follow them.
Giggles continued to fly into the sun. The others were still being chased, but now each of them stood a chance at hiding and surviving.
She saw Chuckles get backed into a corner by twenty eager Mobsters, who wanted nothing more than to be the one to hand his head to Demon.
She quickly swooped down and grabbed her best friend. Alas for the faulty Backpack! It got them around the block before flinging them both to the ground.
“Darn it, darn it, darn it!” Giggles scrambled to her feet. She felt Chuckles grab her elbow and help drag her up and both of them ran as they heard footsteps hurrying behind them.
They bolted down the street, ducking behind cars, street signs, open doors, ANYTHING to protect them from the sprays of bullets that often rang out as they desperately tried to get away.
Chuckles could feel his lungs burning, and every footstep and every gunshot sounded louder and closer than the last. Giggles fired a shot back every so often to disperse the crowd, but even those were getting fewer and less effective as she ran out of ammo and the Mobsters grew wise to the fact she would never kill any of them.
There were too many of them. Where ever the pair ran there were more Mobsters, hunting them down, wearing them down. Chuckles was gasping for air and Giggles was close to tears. Every turn seemed to bring them closer to the end. Fear and exhaustion gripped at Chuckles heart, and he didn't know how much more he had.
Suddenly a miracle happened. A small beep issued from the Backpack – it was charged! With one last great effort, Giggles heaved Chuckles up into the sky with her, swerving through the rain of bullets to an abandoned old building. The pair ran inside.
“They went in there!”
“We have to hide!” Giggles squeaked. The pair ran down the corridor, terrified the squeaking boards would give them away. They could hear the Mobsters coming up the stairs behind them – what would they do?!
Chuckles quickly pulled Giggles into one of the rooms and as quietly as he could closed the door. They heard a loud crash as one of the doors down the corridor was kicked in. Then another. And another. Closer and closer.
“We can't stay in the open like this!” Chuckles hissed.
Giggles looked around. The room was an old bedroom of sorts, the curtains moth-eaten and falling apart, the carpet worn and torn, and the mattress on the bed sagged with mould.
“It's disgusting, but we have no choice.” Giggles lifted up the mattress as much as she could. “Cut a hole in the bottom and we'll hide inside, hopefully they won't think to turn it over.”
Chuckles turned green, but he had no other alternative. Cutting just underneath the seam of the mattress, he made a hole barely enough for them to squeeze in. Giggles as the smaller went in first, barely able to fit between the rusted old springs. Chuckles squeezed in after her with a lot more difficulty.
Chuckles felt for Giggles hand, and squeezed it tightly as the door was kicked open loudly.
They could hear several people tearing the room apart. The sound of footsteps so close to them made their hearts pound so loud they were sure the Mobsters would hear them easily, even if they were still kicking in doors and ripping up furniture all over the place.
Giggles wanted to cry. She was terrified. If they were found there was no way they'd survive.
Suddenly the pair could feel themselves being lifted upwards then falling back down again with a crash as one of the Mobsters upended the bed to check under it. Chuckles didn't know what hurt more, the landing that was barely cushioned by the rancid old mattress or the heavy bed landing on them.
“Damn, not here either!” They heard the footsteps move away, and another door crash in, much further down the hall this time. Giggles felt herself breathe just a little easier, but not much.
After what seemed like hours, finally silence reigned. It took the pair a while to trust the silence though, and eventually it was Chuckles who whispered.
“I think they're gone.”
“How can you be sure?” Giggles whispered back. “They could have left someone here.
“I doubt it, they're not that smart.” Chuckles tried to joke.
“Okay then, but try to be quiet!” Giggles agreed with a hiss.
The pair slowly extracted themselves from the disgusting old mattress. Sticking their noses out of the room, they found out that Chuckles was right and they were safe.
“Let's get going while the goings good!” Chuckles whispered, even though he knew no one could hear them in the empty building.
“But how? It's too obvious if we fly off and we're easy to catch on foot.” Giggles protested.
Chuckles thought for a second.
“If we leave by foot and try and stick to the shadows until we get to the suburbs we should be okay. It's night time now, and it will be easier to hide.” He said.
Giggles nodded. Misery was starting to creep in alongside the fear and exhaustion, knowing that she'd sold her friends into a deadly trap and could have possibly killed them. Chuckles gripped her into a tight hug, before taking her by the shoulders and bending down until he was at eye-level with her (and given she's so short…).
“We're going to be okay, and so are the others. I think the Mobsters were more focused on getting us, not them.” He tried to reassure her.
She looked out of a nearby window. Darkness had engulfed the city of Pleasantville, which meant that they'd been in this musty old room for several hours. It didn't feel like it though.
“Let's go then.” She sighed. The pair headed back down the rotten old stairs, every creak and groan of the old building making them jump. They decided to sneak out one of the broken windows, both of them scared that the Mobsters were still guarding the front of place. Thankfully they ended up in a deserted back street, which led onto another deserted street. Keeping to the shadows and the back streets, they managed to get out of the city and into the suburbs, where Giggles held her best friend and lifted the pair of them up off the ground and back towards the tip. It was quiet up in the air, and both of them were tense, waiting for the sound of a gunshot to force them back to the ground again.
They were in luck, however, as it seemed to be late and most people were inside either sleeping or getting ready to sleep. Chuckles and Giggles wondered what their parents were doing – were they up worried or were they at the tip waiting?
The stars shone brightly, their white-blue light a stark contrast to the deep, dark blue-black sky. The Moon shone down on them in all her glory, and as they got closer to the tip they started to breathe easier and started to notice these little details. Not many people get to soar through the night air under the stars and the Moon with their best friend, it's a magical experience that more people should get the opportunity to have. Eventually though the pair touched down at the tip, hearts pounding in their mouths – was everyone okay?
The pair hurried through the tip, the last fear of losing their friends providing them enough adrenaline to get through the aching muscles, the breathlessness. Tears began to form in Giggles eyes – if any of them were gone, it was completely her fault.
“I think I heard them over here!” She heard the sound of Daniels voice and a small ray of hope opened in her heart. The pair bolted towards the sound, desperate, scared, exhausted.
They stopped. Everyone was there. Daniel, TJ, Petunia, Sunny, Sammy, Tammy, Webster. Peter, Lara, Bill, Thomas, Betty, Maddy, all the parents of the Noble Knights of the Last Order.
“Thank heavens you're both all right!” Betty rushed to her son and gripped him tightly.
Giggles pulled off her helmet and threw it to the ground. Tears streamed down her face as she ran into her fathers arms with a loud “Daddy!”
It had been a long, painful, horrible day.