Chapter 4: Pit Stop
Later that same day, night had already fallen, and even storm clouds had rolled in and were now pouring down rain. Unfortunately for the group of SpongeBob, Patrick, Squidward, and Mr. Krabs, they were caught in it and walking down a wet muddy path.
Squidward was holding his travel pack over his head to shield himself from the rain. “I can’t believe that knowing I would be traveling hundreds of miles to a freezing wasteland; I forgot to bring an umbrella.”
“Ah, don’t be such a whiner, Squidward.” Mr. Krabs replied with a calm smile. “A little rain is good for the traveling types. You just have to have a thicker outdoor exterior like me.” He looked up and shouted, “Keep at it, lad!”
He was actually holding SpongeBob by his legs, and he has stretched out his body over Mr. Krabs to shield him from the rain at his boss’s own request. “You got it, Mr. Krabs!” SpongeBob replied happily, not minding the job at all.
“It doesn’t help that we’ve been walking for six hours with no sign of civilization.” Squidward complained as he glanced behind him to see Patrick just walking with his mouth wide open and his tongue hanging out that caught raindrops on it.
Soon, Mr. Krabs stopped when he spotted something up ahead. “Hey, look at that.” He shouted, pointing ahead.
The others followed his gaze as SpongeBob shaped himself back to normal and hopped on the ground. Up ahead was a small town behind a large wooden gate.
“Finally…” Squidward said with a relieved smile. “Civilization!” He then wasted no time in running ahead excitedly as he laughed, “WHOO-HOO!”
“I never knew Squidward loved sight-seeing so much.” SpongeBob said to Mr. Krabs and Patrick.
Soon, the four arrived in town and walked through a door with a bell ringing as soon as they opened it, and they see it looks like a pub with a round counter in the middle and a bartender standing behind it with a round set of shelves containing a bunch of drinks. The room was full of tough-looking and dirty, sleazy men conversing with each other at tables and booths.
“Now this looks like a nice place to relax for a bit- and as I remember, it not too expensive either.” Mr. Krabs pointed out with a smile.
“Right…” Squidward sarcastically mumbled as he rolled his eyes. “This place makes Bikini Bottom look like Atlantis.”
“But let me warn you boys right now.” Mr. Krabs quietly said in a serious tone. “Don’t go mentionin’ the you-know-what. There are certainly a lot of sneaky thieves who’d love to get their hands on something that valuable, so zip your mouths shut.” Then his mood suddenly changed to cheerful. “Well, I’m gonna go get meself a drink.”
When Mr. Krabs walked off, Squidward shouted after him, “Don’t forget an up-to-date map too!”
“I’m gonna go buy some dinner.” Patrick eagerly pointed out.
“Ooh, sounds great.” SpongeBob replied cheerfully. “Bring me back something.”
“You got it, pal.” Patrick said with a wink as he walked off.
“I’m gonna go find somewhere to sit till we get out of this dump.” Squidward said in a dour tone as he walked off.
“Sounds great too, I’ll join you.” SpongeBob said with a smile as he followed.
Squidward took a seat at a booth in the corner of the bar, and SpongeBob took a seat across from him. Squidward laid his elbow on the table and rested his head in his palm, looking bored while SpongeBob just sat there with the same giddy smile.
“Isn’t this great so far, Squidward?” SpongeBob asked happily. “To think we’re getting closer to the volcano.”
“Great?!” Squidward questioned in anger. “This is a nightmare! I’m stuck with you idiots just to throw a spatula into a pit of lava; and in case you haven’t realized yet, we’re nowhere near the Arctic Ocean!”
“Shhh!” SpongeBob loudly whispered. “We’re not supposed to mention the item out loud, remember?”
“Whatever.” Squidward mumbled as he lay back in his previous position. “Everybody’s too boozed in here to even pay attention to other people’s conversations anyway.”
SpongeBob sighed and started running his fingernail against the wooden table. “But you know what, Squidward?” He said in a somewhat depressed tone. “I know we’re doing the right thing for Hoagie Grindulas by freeing his soul from his container, but I’m kinda gonna miss him after this. He makes such great krabby patties, and he loves them just like me. If we could work together at the Krusty Krab, we can make the most delicious patties for everyone in Bikini Bottom to eat.”
Squidward tried as hard as he could to block out SpongeBob’s rambling, but then he glanced up at him and noticed his face looked more lost in la-la land than it usually did.
“I know he was greedy, but he was just thinking of the krabby patties. Plus holding the spatula in my hands makes me feel like he’s right here with me.” As SpongeBob explained this, he was actually holding Hoagie’s golden spatula in his right hand that was hidden under the table, and seemed to be absent-mindedly tapping it on his lap. “Just seeing that metal touch the patty as it sizzles on the grill just makes my heart melt.”
As Squidward stared at SpongeBob’s dreamy expression, he raised an eyebrow and asked, “Uh…SpongeBob? Are you feeling alright?”
SpongeBob then shook his head and snapped back to normal. “Of course I am, Squidward. I just got a little spacey for a second, ha ah ah ah ah!”
“Of course,” Squidward groaned as he went back to ignoring the sponge.
“SpongeBob?” The two heard Patrick’s voice say, and they turn to see him sitting at the front counter, talking to a bunch of thug-looking fish. “Yeah, he’s my best friend. He has a golden spatula he’s taking to throw into a volcano.”
“Gold?” the crowd all asked as they stared toward SpongeBob.
Then the mob of thugs started advancing toward SpongeBob’s table with their hands held out, intent on taking the valuable item he has. Squidward quickly left his seat while SpongeBob stood up on his seat with the spatula held in his hand.
“Get him!” One of the fish says as they all gain up on SpongeBob as the sponge quickly hops on the table before they can grab him.
When the fish try and grab him again, SpongeBob jumps away in the air and swings on a chandelier hanging from the ceiling; but unfortunately, his fingers slip off and he falls down onto the hardwood floor.
SpongeBob groaned as he rubbed his head, but quickly noticed he was no longer holding the spatula. He looked up and saw the spatula still twirling in the air from when he lost grip of it. The thugs notice this and stare in awe as the spatula fell toward the ground and SpongeBob quickly caught it in his hand.
But once he did, the golden spatula glows an eerie green and suddenly all the food the glass bottles full of liquid explode with glass flying everywhere. Then all the food in the building started to fly across the room and hit various people.
Outside, a green seahorse entered the town and stopped just when it entered through the gate. Riding the seahorse was none other than the figure in the black cloak that pursued SpongeBob and his friends earlier in the afternoon.
He looked ahead to see flashing green lights coming from the pub near the end of the town; and he sat there silently as he stared at the strange phenomenon.
Back in the bar, SpongeBob was hiding under a table to avoid being splattered with the flying food. Patrick joined him under the table as well.
“Was it something I said?” Patrick asked with a confused look.
“No, Patrick, it wasn’t your fault.” SpongeBob answered in a comforting tone as he held his friend’s hand.
“Are you kidding?” Squidward asked angrily as he crouched under the table as well. “It was totally his fault. Why did you have to blab to everyone about the spatula?”
“I didn’t tell them anything important.” Patrick retorted. “I specifically left out the part that it was cursed.”
“What are we gonna do?” SpongeBob wondered, seeing no possible way to sneak past the panicking crowd.
“We have to find Mr. Krabs and get out of here as soon as possible.” Squidward answered, and then began crawling away. “Let’s go.”
SpongeBob and Patrick followed him as the three crawled their way out beneath the flying food and the panicking crowd. Mr. Krabs then walked in and cheerfully asked, “What’d I miss?”
“Run!” Squidward yelled as he pushed Mr. Krabs out of the bar with SpongeBob and Patrick following.
Once they were safely outside the chaotic bar, they noticed it had stopped raining in the dark eerie town. “Man, that was close.” SpongeBob said relief as he looked back.
“You know, this place has really gone downhill since I was here last.” Mr. Krabs noticed.
“Yeah, how very unfortunate.” Squidward quickly responded in a sarcastic tone. “Now did you get a map?”
“Course I did, Squidward.” Mr. Krabs answered with a grin as he pulled it out. “Now all we gotta do is figure out which way leads to the woods.”
“We can always try asking that guy again.” Patrick suggested as he pointed in one direction.
Everybody followed his gaze to see it was the figure in the black cloak on his seahorse, staring at them. Seeing him, they all screamed in horror.
“IT’S HIM AGAIN!” SpongeBob screamed at the top of his lungs.
“Run, boys, run!” Mr. Krabs yelled as they all obey and run as fast as they can while the figure’s seahorse whinnied and followed.
As they run, the figure’s seahorse was quickly catching up to them. SpongeBob looked around and spotted a barrel up ahead. He quickly ran over to it and knocked it down, kicking it toward the seahorse. This caused him to stop, allowing the four to escape as he stood there and watched them run toward the woods outside of town.
Up on a hill, overlooking the town, SpongeBob, Patrick, Squidward, and Mr. Krabs were standing at the entrance of the forest, catching their breath after running all the way from town to escape their pursuer.
“That was close…again.” SpongeBob said between breaths as he stretched his back.
“I don’t know how much more of this I can take.” Squidward said in an exhausted tone. “Are we even on the right trail anymore?”
“Here’s a sign.” Patrick pointed out as he stood in front of a wooden sign sticking out of the ground, and began to read the large red print ‘Muerto Woods’, “Moo…err…too…Woods.”
Mr. Krabs looked at his map and smiled, “We are on the right path!” he cheered, jumping up and down. “We just have to pass these here woods and we’ll be gettin’ closer.”
“Just as long as there aren’t any more dangers up ahead.” Squidward added with a groan.
“There’s something else written here too.” Patrick added, and then struggled to read the extra print at the bottom of the sign, “War…neeee…”
SpongeBob walked over and stood next to him as he looked at the sign. “Here, let me help you out there, bud.” He ran his finger across the print and read out loud, “It says, ‘Warning: Woods inhabited by Black Toxicity Jellyfish. Please use caution when approaching.’”
He then stopped after reading this and turned to Patrick with a stunned expression as his body shook, “Patrick…do you know what this means?”
Patrick got the same expression and shook also as he replied, “You’re not saying…”
Then they both grasp hands and hopped into the air with large smiles on their faces. “We found it!” they shouted in joy.
“Found what?” Squidward asked.
“The rare Black Toxicity Jellyfish.” SpongeBob explained to Squidward and Mr. Krabs, “This is one of the only few places you can find them.”
“Only few experienced jellyfishers have been able to see them with their own eyes.” Patrick explained also.
“Why do they even call it that…thing you called it before?” Mr. Krabs asked, looking curious.
“Because unlike our normal jellyfish back home, Black Toxicities are known to be extremely dangerous,” SpongeBob continued explaining, “Its stingers are very poisonous. Even one little sting can be fatal. If you are stung, you’ll only have twenty minutes to live before…” he ran a finger across his neck as he made a hissing sound through his teeth.
Squidward and Mr. Krabs looked disturbed by this explanation while SpongeBob finished his gesture. But then the sponge smiled and pointed to a book Patrick was holding up that had a small picture of a black jellyfish with red spots. “We need one for our bingo book.” SpongeBob pointed out.
“Well, aside from Nerd History from Professor Doofinstein, let’s just keep going so we can get through these woods already.” Squidward suggested as he began walking into the dark woods.
“Great idea, Squidward.” Mr. Krabs quickly agreed as he followed. “I’ll be leading the way of course.”
SpongeBob and Patrick followed from behind, looking really eager as they entered the woods. “You think we’ll see the Black Toxicity, SpongeBob?” Patrick asked his best friend.
“I sure hope so.” SpongeBob replied in an excited tone, putting an arm around his best friend. “You remembered to bring your camera, right?”
Patrick answered while taking out a vintage-looking camera, “I sure did.”
“Great! It’ll be the best stop on our adventure.”