Positivity Overload

((OOC: RP reserved for NegaGos and Lilly.))

On one quiet afternoon in St Canard, there was a soft tinkling as the door to the Second Story Books was pushed open, hitting against the bell. A little girl with bouncy red curls and a fluffy pink dress skipped in on black buckled shoes, humming to herself as she looked around her in wonder. 

She'd been here before, hadn't she? It was a little difficult to recall, but she was certain she would have remembered this treasury! Such wonderful books, just waiting to be opened and read! They were so neat and tidy too it brought such a smile to her face. 

Oh, how she wished there was even one place like this in the Negaverse! 

WAIT IS THAT A READING CORNER IT LOOKS SO PRETTY AND QUAINT- 

She squeed softly, then tried to compose herself. If the store said 'Open', that meant someone would be in, right? She had to make her presence known. 

"Hello?" she piped up. "Anyone here?" 

    • Lilly Teal
      Lilly Teal

      She was so polite, this little treasure. That was the second thing that struck Lilly as she dusted her hands and come around one of the shelves.

      The first thing that struck her was that the child was ADORABLE.

      "Hello," she smiled, kneeling a bit so she didn't tower over her little customer. "Come to find some books?

      Of course you have. She was just about to ask what the girl was on the lookout for, when she realised there weren't any parents in her immediate vision. "Are you here by yourself, dear?"

      • (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard
        (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard

        "Oh, there you are! Hello!" Gosalyn called to the shopkeeper cheerfully. "I'm looking for some books on new hobbies. And some storybooks too. Do you know any ones with unicorns in them?" 

        At her other question, she nodded, her red curls bouncing about at the movement. "I love exploring the city by myself. It's so... clean and safe!" 

        Yeah... totally. 

        • Lilly Teal
          Lilly Teal

          That's... really not...

          Lilly cleared her throat, looking like she had a few opinions on that view of the city.

          "It's certainly clean," she allowed.

          Surely her prents must know? Or maybe they're nearby? She cast an eye through the window to see if she could spot an adult that might look like they were waiting for the child.

          "I'll find you whatever you like. Unicorns. Whatever hobbies you'd like. ... er... would you like to call your parents and tell them you'r here? There's a phone on the counter."

          • (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard
            (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard

            "Oh... I don't have any parents," Gosalyn shrugged. "My guardian is busy, though, and I'd hate to bother him." 

            Busy watching a football match his daughter was in anyway. She would never think of intruding on those things. 

            She glanced at Lilly hopefully. "You said something about unicorns? And I love knitting. And crafts," she said helpfully. 

            • Lilly Teal
              Lilly Teal

              Ah. Um...

              "Well... just as long as he knows you're safe?" I'm not entirely sure how to proceed, here.

              Book recommendations. Let's stick to that.

              Still kneeling slightly, she looked thoughtful. "Unicorns. And crafts. You know, I have a book about making ypur own soft toys. I'm very sure there's a unicorn pattern in there." And if not, to a determined kid any horse could be edited into a unicorn.

              Wouldn't you like a fully customised unicorn stuffie of your very own?

              "I just got it in, actually," she added, straightening up to take it from the stack in the counter. A lady who made and sold her own toys is mving away and she couldn't take all her books with her. She says she remembers the patterns anyway, so maybe it was meant for you."

              • (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard
                (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard

                "He knows I'm safe," she confirmed with a nod. 

                She looked intrigued. "Soft toys? That sounds fun! I actually have crocheted a few toys on my own, but I've never sewn a stuffed toy together before." 

                The story touched her heart. "May I see the book, please?" she asked politely, her green eyes shining with fascination. It sounded so good. 

                • Lilly Teal
                  Lilly Teal

                  "Of course, of course."

                  Picking up the book, she looked down at the little girl.

                  "In fact..."

                  She picked up the rest of the little stack in one arm, and took the girl's hand in her free one to lead her to the quaint little reading corner she'd been so appreciative of in her own head. Getting her settled, she put the whole stack next to her and put the specific book she'd been talking about in her hands.

                  "Enjoy browsing," she smiled. "Let me get you some biscuits and hot cocoa."

                  • (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard
                    (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard

                    "Thank you!" Gosalyn said, ever so polite. She patted the chair she was on with a content sigh. They were really comfortable. The atmosphere was so quiet and relaxing too. 

                    She then flipped open the book, soon becoming absorbed in the designs. They looked rather simple to do, and it was all so cute! And there was a unicorn in there! 

                    Imagine if she could give them out as gifts! Her friends and family would love those! Right next to the crocheted dolls and animals. 

                    Just then, the bell tinkled as the door to the shop opened once more. A mysterious figure in a trench coat walked in. 

                    "Helloooooo? Do you have a moment to talk about our Lord and Saviour Boxy?" 

                    Gosalyn looked up from her book curiously. That man sounded familiar... 

                    • Lilly Teal
                      Lilly Teal

                      "Oh!" Hearing the tinkle of the bell, Lilly grabbed up her tray quickly and hurried out from behind the counter. "Here's your snacks, honey. I'm so sorry, sir. Are you looking for something..."

                      She trailed off, having registered the all-encompassing trenchcoat. Not a lot of people wore that style. Specially when it wasn't raining, or snowing, or cold at all.

                      A few people did. It never tended to end well.

                      It wasn't kind to be overly suspicious, of course. It may just be someone with eccentric fashion sense. In an effort to give the stranger the benefit of the doubt, she set the cookies and cocoa down near Gosalyn and smiled.

                      "That's better. Are you looking for something special? Anything I can help you with?"

                      • (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard
                        (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard

                        Gosalyn's full attention was now on the... stranger. She only took her eyes off for a bit to thank Lilly for the cookies and cocoa. She had to be polite, after all. And really, she was happy to be offered refreshments. This lady was so nice! 

                        Nibbling on a cookie, she glanced at the figure once more. 

                        "Oh, I'm just looking for a box," he said cheerfully. Way too cheerfully. "Brown, square, about so high?" he demonstrated with a hand. "Also, doesn't like being touched, and flaps and hops about when threatened. We're very worried." 

                        • Lilly Teal
                          Lilly Teal

                          A... box?

                          "Oh." And then, "... we?" Followed by, "Box?"

                          She really didn't feel like they were having the same conversation here, and she was increasingly starting to suspect that her first impression of trench-coat wearers was correct. She shot the little girl a worried look, hot wanting to risk getting her into trouble if this person was a very strange sort of robber, and made a decision to just give him what he wanted and hope he would go away quickly.

                          "Ah. That's yours." Lilly made the effort to sound apologetic, considering the man sounded like he... knew... the box? Or at the very least, gave some thought to its likes and dislikes, like a strange pet. "I'm very sorry, then. I had to put it in another box because it kept trying to attack me... I. Um. Still have it? You can have it back?"

                          Let me just. Thank God she had put it under the counter, it meant she didn't have to leave the room with his guy alone with the child.

                          • (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard
                            (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard

                            That didn't matter anyway, because POUNCE. 

                            Gosalyn was suddenly around the trench coated and hatted figure in a hug so hard it knocked off his disguise. 

                            "Uncle Quacky! You're here? I missed you!" she said happily. 

                            "What the-??" he spluttered, looking at the kid with an unamused frown, then at Lilly. Then he scowled at the child. "You just had to ruin the fun, didn't you, you little brat?" 

                            The bell tinkled again just as Gosalyn started to register she might have made a huge mistake and she should run. And then there was a loud scream. 

                            "Dude, is that Quackerjack??" 

                            "He's kidnapping that poor child!" 

                            "Someone call police!" 

                            In one swift motion, Quackerjack grabbed the kid and held on to her tightly. "Nobody move! Or, uh..." 

                            His arm stretched to grab Lilly as well. 

                            "They both get it!!" 

                            • Lilly Teal
                              Lilly Teal

                              "Quackerja-YEEK!" she squealed, things happening way too fast for her to react to. And now he had both of them in a tight grip, isn't that just wonderful.

                              "Nooonononono don't upset him." Bad idea. Bad. "M-mister Quackerjack, we won't call the police, really. Just let us go, and you can take your box and... just go, hm? Isn't that a good idea?"

                              • (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard
                                (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard

                                Gosalyn wasn't sure what to do, but she reached her arm out and did a little pat pat everything's gonna be fine on Lilly's shoulder. They'd get out of this. Someone was bound to rescue them, right? 

                                See, the thing about St Canard's citizens, they never tended to listen to threats or pleas when everyone was in panic mode. One of them took a phone out, hit the speed dial, and had the police on the line. 

                                "Police? Help! Quackerjack is holding a woman and a child hostage!!" 

                                Quackerjack's eye twitched. 

                                "Nope! Change of plans, sweetie!" he told Lilly. "You're both coming with me!" 

                                Rainbow smokebomb! 

                                They're... gone? 

                                Meanwhile, in a dark, sinister area, the two hostages were dropped on the cold hard floor, the crazy clown towering over them. 

                                "You know, I've been meaning to get volunteers to test out my new toys anyway! You'll both DO!" 

                                • Lilly Teal
                                  Lilly Teal

                                  Instinctively, Lilly wrapped her arms around Gosalyn and scrambled backwards in fright.

                                  "That's. So. Very kind." She said hesitantly, the words coming out very disjointed as if she was frantically constructing the sentence on the spot. Don't upset him. Be kind. Be polite. And maybe he won't get angry long enough that we can...

                                  Can...

                                  Um.

                                  "I'm sure your toys are absolutely wonderful but. I'm sure we won't be good volunteers. We probably wouldn't be able to do them justice?"

                                  Please?

                                  • (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard
                                    (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard

                                    Gosalyn also hugged her back. Hugging is good. And continued patting her reassuringly. 

                                    "Nonsense!! You two look like nice young girls who'd appreciate my toys! Right?" 

                                    That... that really sounded more like a threat than a question. 

                                    "What toys...?" Gosalyn asked softly, looking around. 

                                    Click. 

                                    As the lights flickered on, mountains and mountains of toys were revealed, along with machines and conveyor belts, and toy parts. 

                                    Were they... in an old Quackerjack factory? Odd. Where were the windows? 

                                    "Here, try this one for starters!!" he tossed them a random toy robot from a pile. It started beeping obnoxiously. 

                                    • Lilly Teal
                                      Lilly Teal

                                      To grab or not to grab, that is the question.

                                      Whether tis more likely this obnoxious beeping thing is going to explode in the hand or on the ground...

                                      But if it fell on the ground and broke? Oh dear, no he wouldn't like that, would he?

                                      Faster than she thought she could react, Lilly shot out a hand and caught it, keeping it at arm's length.

                                      "Oh. It's very charming. I like the boxy shape. Friendly colours." Her other arm tightened on Gosalyn a little, keeping her close. "Um. I'm not a particular fan of robots, though, I can't fairly assess this. Right, dear?"

                                      Please say yes, maybe we can delay him or he'll go off looking for something more suitable at the back of the factory.

                                      • (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard
                                        (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard

                                        Gosalyn caught on and started to agree with Lilly - although the robot sure looked pretty (she had a hard time reminding herself this wasn't her Quackerjack and was feeling upset) - when the beeping stopped, something shot out of the robot and exploded. 

                                        Streamers! Oh, whew, it wasn't anything dangerous. 

                                        And then the eyes started gleaming. 

                                        Ziiiing! 

                                        Laser light show! With actual lasers!! And if that wasn't enough, the robot's head started turning 360 degrees with the lasers still on while singing a discorded robot song. 

                                        "So what do you think??" Quackerjack asked excitedly. 

                                        • Lilly Teal
                                          Lilly Teal

                                          She very nearly dropped it, but that would put them in range of the lasers. Suppressing a squeak, she held it higher and away from them until she could time it just right to drop in on the ground, sideways the lasers went up in the air and down onto the floor with every revolution of the head.

                                          "I-it's very... striking. I can see how it would be dreadfully exciting. A little too flashy for me, though." Oh that flashy laser.

                                          The music was setting her teeth on edge, though. "And a little loud. Don't you have anything... quieter?" Quieter, she hoped, meant nothing that exploded. Getting slowly back to her feet, she took a few steps away from the robot. Which unfortunately just brought them closer to Quackerjack. "What would you like to see, dear?"

                                          • (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard
                                            (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard

                                            Quackerjack pouted. "Yeah, you know what, you're right. Lesseee..." 

                                            He casually tossed an axe onto the robot. This time it made a small mushroom cloud explosion. He then turned around, thinking hard. "Ooh, I know just the thing!" 

                                            NOW'S THEIR CHANCE TO RUN- 

                                            Nope. Quackerjack took them along too. 

                                            "Let's test something big instead. Who wants to take a dive in my special Quackerjack brand ballpit of DEATH? Once you go in, you'll never come out again..." 

                                            Was that... screaming coming from the ballpit of death? 

                                            "You're having fun, aren't you, Bob?" Quackerjack cheered happily. 

                                            • Lilly Teal
                                              Lilly Teal

                                              "AH!"

                                              No, that wasn't a terrified yell, that was just the sound of having a helpful realisation!

                                              "AH BUT-" Clear throat. "But if we never come out again, how can we. How can we t-test anything else of yours? You have so many wonderful toys, I wouldn't want to miss out on the chance."

                                              She did her very, very best to look regretful. Sad. Cute puppy eyes.

                                              Gosalyn, add in your eyes.

                                              "You wouldn't. Um. Want us to not enjoy the rest of your toys, right?"

                                              Casting around her mind for a harmless sounding suggestion, she brightened up.

                                              "Do you have soft toys? My friend and I," Gosalyn was indicated, "were just discussing making our own."

                                              • (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard
                                                (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard

                                                Gosalyn did try to look sad and unhappy, which wasn't hard to do. 

                                                And once you looked into her eyes, you can't look away. 

                                                She was getting more and more disturbed, seeing her sweet, cheerful uncle as this psychotic clown. Granted, they both were crazy, but Uncle Quacky cared about safety and children's happiness more than his own. 

                                                "Oh yes, soft toys! I'd love to learn how to make those... uh, cute little dolls I've heard about! You seem like you're good at doing it." 

                                                Quackerjack started to frown, and for a horrifying moment, Gosalyn wondered if she said something wrong. But no, he was back to grinning and bouncing around again. Bouncing was good. 

                                                "You came to the right place, heehee! Come on! I'll teach you to make exploding teddy bears, stuffed clowns that can decapitate people, and dolls that are sure to make you girls scream!!" he beckoned for the girls to follow him to another part of the factory. 

                                                "Can we rescue Bob later?" she whispered to Lilly, casting an eye around for escape routes they could use when Quackerjack got distracted. 

                                                • Lilly Teal
                                                  Lilly Teal

                                                  Lilly nodded, giving her a tight, warm hug that promised she would do her best to protect her. "We'll do our best okay? I promise we'll try."

                                                  I'm terrified and I wish I hadn't made that promise now, because I don't see how we can save him. But we will try.

                                                  At Quackerjack's bouncing, she followed along slowly. "Oh how nice," she said in weak horror that didn't match her words at all. "I love bears. I'd like nothing better than to learn how to make one."

                                                  Escape routes escape routes. No windows. They seemed to be far away from any doors that might be obscured in the darkness.

                                                  But there seemed to be a broad, clear path between the machines, off to the side. An entryway of some kind, maybe? For shipping containers? That might potentially have a warehouse door on the end of it...

                                                  "This is a very... generously sized place. Where are we?"

                                                  • (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard
                                                    (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard

                                                    "Oh, this is my first ever toy factory!" he sighed fondly. "I took such a huge risk buying this whole place. I even worked on furnishing up the place nicely. People called me a fool for doing so... well, they weren't wrong. But I wasn't gonna let them take away my pride and joy, was I? I kept this place... stored away," he said somewhat ominously. 

                                                    He then looked melancholy as he traced the worktable they arrived at. "Quackerjack Toy Factory was so much fun when it was popular. We shared and discussed toy ideas. Workers would greet me every morning and come to me for help when they needed inspiration. I bought the whole staff ice cream once when we were all tired out..." his voice trailed off and he sighed. Then, like a switch, his wide grin came on once more. 

                                                    "One day, it'll be popular again, once I get rid of Whiffle Boy and get my fame back! And then it'll be a party all the time!!" he chuckled. 

                                                    Gosalyn tugged on Lilly's sleeve. "I think I know where we are. And I know a way out. You have to trust me," she whispered to her. 

                                                    If she was right, and she was certain she was, this was Uncle Quacky's hideout back in the Negaverse. 

                                                    "Alriiiight," the clown patted both girls on the back and pushed them towards the worktable, and set down three sewing machines and some fabric. And machine parts. Explosives. Laser parts. The usual toy stuff. "What shall we do first?" 

                                                    • Lilly Teal
                                                      Lilly Teal

                                                      That's genuinely rather sad. Lilly felt herself waver for a moment. Yes he was completely insane and dangerous and they really did have to get out of here soon, but that was sad. It didn't sound like the story of someone who had always delighted in hurting people.

                                                      Somewhere down the line, something went very wrong. And she was deeply sorry for it.

                                                      "It looks like it was a beautiful place to be," she said, more sincerely than she had said anything else so far. Gosalyn's comment gave her hope as well, and she gave the little girl a surprised look, which quickly turned into a nod and a smile. Alright. I'll trust you.

                                                      So let's play along for a bit. Turning back to Quackerjack, she gave him the kind of brilliant smile that warmed hearts and confused low flying planes. "Can I make a bunny rabbit?"