Bonnie eagerly tore the wrapping paper off the last gift of Christmas morning. Surrounded by a mountains of torn paper, her eyes sparkled, reflecting the lights of the tree as she drew in a sharp breath, running her fingers over the plastic packaging. A set of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figures. Her mind danced with all the scenarios and stories she wanted to act out and adapt from her most recent favorite show ever.
She traced her finger along each name, until she came to Shredder, included at the end. Her mouth turned down slightly, joy dimming a bit. She’d never been much of a fan of villains, but it couldn’t be helped that they were packaged together.
Putting the minor disappointment out of her mind, she grabbed the box opener from her father’s waiting hand, knowing that it was impossible to breach the ‘user-friendly’ packaging unaided. Her mother rolled her eyes as her dad scooted closer to the edge of his seat on the couch as she freed her new treasures from their plastic prison and she knew who to thank for this particular bounty.
Clutching the five figurines in her hands, she debated taking them for a test run when her mom caught her expression and held up a hand. “Whoa there. We’ve got to get ready to go.”
Bonnie pouted and her mother arched an eyebrow, clearly amused. “It’s Christmas day Bonnie. There’s no time to have fun. It’s part of what makes the holiday so magical. Now get ready or we won’t be able to fit everything in.”
Unable to resist laughing at her mother’s sarcasm, she gathered up her new acquisitions, using her baggy pajama shirt to hold them all and staggered up the stairs to her bedroom. Dumping most of her new items in a heap on the floor, she gave her ninja turtle figurines a place of honor atop her desk. Frowning once more at the Shredder, she opened her closet and tossed him into a box in the back corner.
Clean up accomplished, Bonnie grabbed the outfit she’d selected the night before off the top of her dresser and ran to the bathroom, grateful that her parent’s master suite had a bathroom of its own.
There wasn’t really time for a shower, but she still wanted to look nice. Brushing her teeth in record time, she tugged on her jeans and the flouncy purple top that contrasted nicely with her greenish-brown eyes. Running a brush through her short brown bob, she clipped aside the thick wave of hair that threatened to tumble over her eyes in a sparkly, rhinestone-encrusted silver butterfly barrette, utilizing a style that had served her well all her life.
Despite the urgency, she took a moment to examine her features in the mirror. A round face with wide eyes and full lips stared back at her. A natural blush coated her cheeks giving a healthy glow to her dusky skin. While still predominantly youthful, she could see traces of the woman she might become in her features.
“Bonnie, are you coming?” Her mom called out from downstairs and she knew that she really needed to get a move on. “It was your idea to do the neighborhood party before family Christmas, so chop-chop.”
Her flush deepened. She didn’t normally spend so much time on her appearance, but she really did want to look pretty today. And even if it did make their schedule tight, she wasn’t missing neighborhood Christmas for anything. Noah would be there.
He’d been her best friend since moving in three houses down a couple of years ago and she couldn’t wait to tell him about her new action figures. He’d get how awesome it was and have some great ideas for them.
Though she didn’t quite understand the butterflies she recently started feeling every time she thought about him, she suspected it had something to do with why she’d taken so much time getting ready today. Shaking the confusing thoughts aside, she flicked off the light and dashed down the stairs to grab his present off the table. She couldn’t wait.
Raph sat up with a groan, holding his head. Ugh. What had happened? His most recent memories were fuzzy and he honestly couldn’t come up with a single one that qualified as ‘most recent’ no matter how hard he tried.
Opening his eyes, his jaw fell open. He was in the bedroom of a giant. If giants were into fru-fru girl décor. What the shell?
“Anyone get the number of the bus that hit me?” Mikey’s voice sounded from behind him, alleviating worries of being alone that he hadn’t even been aware he was experiencing.
“Sorry, I was busy getting hit by the same bus.” Leo answered in a half-moan.
“By Darwin’s beard…” Of course Donnie would find this freak show interesting.
Turning to face his brothers, Raph had to bite back a very unmanly scream.
Mikey held up a plastic hand, examining it in fascination. “Check it out. I’m like one of my action figures.”
“Don’t be ridiculous, Mikey…oh.” Donnie was now looking himself over, testing out the pieced together joints of his limbs. Because this nightmare was fascinating. And of course Leo would be frowning over his plastic swords. Good thing Fearless had his priorities straight.
Reluctantly, Raph looked down at his own body. Mikey was right, they absolutely looked like toy action figures. He’d never be able to look at the figurines in his collection the same again. This had to be some kind of trippy dream he’d wake up from any minute. His fingers bent the tip of one of his plastic sais as he watched it spring back into place upon release. It had to be a dream. It just had to.
“Donnie, explain.” Leo’s voice barked out, jolting Don from his self-examination. Finally, an order Raph could get behind.
Donnie rubbed his head. “Uh…Mikey appears to be correct. We seem to be plastic, action figures. Although how we can be sentient and mobile in places that were clearly designed to be rigid…”
“How?” Raph interrupted, his voice a near-growl.
“In technical terms…I have no idea.” Donnie shrugged.
Not satisfied with that answer, Raph scowled, grateful that his face wasn’t frozen into one expression. “Well give us something genius.”
Donnie sighed. “It’s possible that we’re in another dimension and the physical properties of this place are simply much different from our home dimension, like when we were abducted off Fugitoid’s ship and ended up in a 2D reality. This could be just how everyone in this dimension looks.”
Raph crossed his arms, still annoyed. “So why are we miniature like we’ve sucked down the ‘drink me’ potion in the White Rabbit’s house?”
“Aww, so you did read that copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in your room.”
“Can it Mikey, I’m talking to Donnie right now.”
Donnie stared around the enormous room, wide-eyed. “Whoa…yeah, I got nothing. This is…wow.”
Raph rubbed his temples. “Anyone even know how we got here, cuz I’m drawing a blank.”
Three heads shook, a slightly surreal look given the stillness of their toy bodies.
Leo sighed. “There seems to be a crowd on the floor. Maybe we can get some answers from them.”
Emperor Zurg crouched angrily in his dark, forgotten closet-box. He’d had a moment of brimming hope when Bonnie approached, but only to toss in another forgotten toy. Jealousy burned bright within him as he turned away, paying no mind to his new box-mate, another unwanted toy.
Through the slightly ajar closet door, he could hear Woody and Buzz competing with each other to give ‘new toy orientation’ to whoever had been lucky enough to make the cut. Stuffing down his envy and resentment, he sought to block them out. The favorites. What he wouldn’t give to tear them down off their lofty pedestals. Were it possible, vengeance would be so sweet.
But there was nothing he could do to them and leaving would only risk being thrown out if Bonnie remembered how much she didn’t want him. Years of neglect had turned him bitter. He’d long since given up hope of being allowed into the light, now desiring only to drag the privileged few back into the darkness with him.
“What is this?” A deep voice boomed from the far corner of the box. It would seem his companion was awake. And new. Let him adjust on his own. Zurg didn’t care. There’d been no one to walk him through the shock. New-guy could suck it up.
He gasped in surprise as the interloper came at him with lightning speed, slamming him hard enough against the cardboard to almost spill the box over. It would have, had it not been blocked by the back closet wall.
Twin points stopped inches from his face as the armored figurine loomed over him. “Who are you and where am I?”
Despite being uncomfortably pinned, Zurg snorted. “What do you expect to do with that?”
Eyes, set deep into the masked face, widened slightly as they noted the weapon was plastic. At least he didn’t spend hours trying to figure out why his laser blasters weren’t functioning.
Zurg’s adversary took in the state of his body with a quick glance, his fist clenching more tightly on Zurg’s shoulder as he did so. At least pain was a relative thing for toys. One silver lining to his existence.
“What have you done to me?”
Zurg debated whether it was worth it to even try explaining. Acceptance of his existence sounded like it would be particularly hard for this one, inclining Zurg to wonder what his character’s backstory was. It probably wasn’t worth the effort.
Zurg snorted. New-guy certainly wasn’t used to being denied. Then again, he hadn’t either at first.
“Or you’ll what?”
The armored figure considered for a moment. “I may not be able to gut you, but I can still take you apart.”
He twisted Zurg’s arm in his socket for emphasis and Zurg could feel the springs and screws holding the joint in place buckle slightly under the pressure. This one was strong and capable. And he had a point. Winding up irreparably broken was one of the most dangerous fates a toy could face. Not even favorites could recover, assuming enough damage was done. Sentimental value only ran so far.
A sinister idea took root in his mind as he plotted his revenge against the girl who’d never loved him.
“I did nothing to you. It’s a part of being in this place. This prison.”
The new toy’s eyes narrowed. “Another dimension? Kraang treachery. When I return, they will pay a hundred fold.”
“You’ll need to escape first. There are those here that like this…reality.” He saw no change in expression on the new toy’s face and assumed he’d chosen the right words. “They would keep us all here, in this distorted kingdom they’ve created, hiding the way home for those of us who would leave.”
He inclined his head towards the closet door. The new toy’s eyes flicked in that direction.
“If you speak the truth, they will give up their secrets.”
Zurg scoffed. “They won’t even admit to having them. If anyone suspected the truth, they’d all be demanding to leave.”
The new toy released him, turning fully towards the closet door. “They will reveal everything to me or I will tear them to shreds, piece by piece, until they do.”
Zurg grinned as the figurine marched towards the bedroom. All those beloved toys wouldn’t know what hit them. He’d see Woody and Buzz and all their fawning cronies in the trash heap yet.
And the survivors would fear him. Yes. He might never get to be played with, but, at least while Bonnie was away, he and his new friend would rule the rest with an iron fist. Suppressing a cackle, he followed his ally out into the light to witness the fruits of his handiwork.
Shredder kicked open the massive door, glaring into what appeared to be a crowd of life-size animate toys. The freakish alien had not exaggerated. This dimension was twisted. Oh, how the Kraang would pay for sending him here. When he got back, they would wish they’d never set their sights on Earth all those millennia ago.
Startled by his entrance, the crowd turned to see him. He was good at identifying and eliminating rivals. He’d done it all his life to bring his clan to prominence among long-established criminal underworld syndicates. And one by one they’d all fallen before him. Breaking these creatures to his whim would be no less easy.
Quickly identifying the cloth cowboy with the plastic head and astronaut caricature as the ringleaders of the group, he strode towards them, paying no heed to the cautious look they shared.
The cowboy stepped forward. “Welcome to new toy orientation. I know this might come as a shock, but…”
Shredder’s fists clenched in fury. How dare they insinuate that this was his natural state. That he belonged here. Belonged like this. With a roar he charged forward.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa…” The cowboy scrabbled back, eyes wide in surprise, but there was no way he’d evade the attack in time.
“Woody!” The astronaut barreled between them, trying to catch him before he could remove the cowboy’s head from his body. “Why do new villains always have to be so difficult?”
The astronaut grunted out the words as the Shredder plowed into him. He caught the Shredder’s initial rush with some basic unarmed maneuver, but was no near the skill level he needed to be. The Shredder easily broke his hold, sweeping his legs and flipping the spaceman hard onto his back.
“Buzz!” The cowboy raced in, but was sent flying backwards with a swift kick to his oversized head, tumbling head over boots until he all but splatted against the monstrously large desk drawer at the other side of the room.
The Shredder returned his attention to his captive, pinning the astronaut down with a knee while twisting his arm back farther than should have been possible. His opponent attempted to buck him off, but he stilled the motion with a brutal elbow strike to the head, hammering it down from atop to avoid the oversized, plastic helmet.
“Tell me where the portal is to return to my home dimension and I may spare you.”
“Portal? There is no portal or other dimensions. This is your life you lunatic!”
So that’s how the spaceman wanted to play it? Fine. He was in a foul mood and needed someone to take it out on anyway.
“Tell me or suffer.” He twisted and pulled on the captive arm, feeling the joint hit its limit. Just a little more pressure and the appendage would pull free.
He could continue questioning now, but this flippant little man needed to learn some respect. He’d still be able to talk without an arm. With a cruel smile, hidden behind his mask, the Shredder started applying the pressure necessary to push spaceman’s limb past the breaking point. He was going to enjoy this.
Leo strode over to the edge of the enormous desk to peer down into the crowd of what looked like animate, sentient toys, being addressed to a cowboy and astronaut. It was like stepping into the most bizarre fan convention ever. Well, those two seemed to be in charge. Maybe they had some answers.
He started looking around for the best way down. They could jump over to the bed and climb down the comforter to a safe dropping height, assuming injuries even worked the same way in this dimension. He suspected they didn’t but wasn’t willing to risk his brothers’ safety to test that assumption out.
Alternatively, they could get down more quickly by dropping off the side of the desk and catching themselves on each drawer handle on the way down. It wouldn’t be that much different than using fire escapes to slow their descent back home. He could almost feel Raph’s impatience as he debated.
Before he could make a decision, cries of dismay drew his attention back to the crowd of toys. Most of the group was scattering in a panicked stampede, fanning out in all directions away from the leaders. As his eyes moved to the source of the disturbance, he released an audible gasp. No. It couldn’t be. And yet it was.
The Shredder was down there, on the astronaut’s back, about to rip his arm out of his socket. No! Before he had a chance to think about it, the words were already out of his mouth.
His brothers groaned behind him.
“Halt? Really? Again? No one freaking talks like that Leo. Just say stop or something normal.”
He could feel Raph’s glare burning into the back of his skull while harping on him, but was unable to turn and address the tirade. His sights were fixed on the Shredder, who had frozen at the sound of his voice. Their ultimate adversary turned slowly to look up at them, eyes narrowing at the sight within a plastic variation of the Kuro Kabuto.
“You.” The hate in the Shredder’s voice was palatable. He dropped his victim, the hapless astronaut forgotten, and started towards them.
Leo instinctively backed up, realizing he’d just engaged the Shredder without a plan. On reflex, he drew his swords, cursing under his breath as he remembered they were now just flimsy bits of plastic.
Turning back to his brothers, he called out. “Quickly. Arm yourselves with something real!”
They scattered about the desk, looking for anything and everything they could use to defend themselves against the coming onslaught. Leo’s eyes landed on a letter opener, which he snatched up, realizing a little too late that it was much heavier and more unwieldy than the weapons he was accustomed to.
The Shredder was now up and over the edge of the desk, charging straight for him. He got the letter opener up in time to block the initial assault, leaving gouges in his adversary’s plastic body that weren’t even felt.
Faster than should have been possible, the Shredder brought up a kick that sent Leo and his weapon sprawling. Flipping out of the way of Shredder’s hammer-fist, he barely kept one step ahead, forced on the defensive.
There was a brief instant of relief, when he saw Donnie flying in from behind the Shredder, spinning a huge metal pen like a bo staff. Until the Shredder caught the staff mid-spin, twisting and pivoting to use Donnie’s own weapon to launch him straight towards Leo.
Reacting without thinking, Leo ducked and heard Mikey’s yelp of dismay from behind him as Donnie crashed into their youngest brother. But the moment of distraction had given him the opportunity to dash forward, scoop up the letter opener and try for a running upward slash into the Shredder’s torso.
Except the Shredder arched backwards out of the way of his strike with impossible flexibility, following the motion up with a kick to the chin that launched Leo up into the air, catching the blade of the letter opener as he completed the rotation and batting Leo with it like a turtle-styled baseball up onto a row of building-tall textbooks.
With a groan, he righted himself. At least, he tested that theory on being more resistant to injury now. Looking back down at the battlefield, he could see that Raph was getting his shell kicked by the Shredder in hand to hand combat and that the letter opener had somehow been thrown free towards the edge of the desk, now wedged under a box boulder size bouncy balls.
Beyond Raph, Mikey appeared to have been thrown into a pink jewelry box with a life-sized ballerina who was kindly helping him up. Donnie had landed in a sewing kit, scattering spools of thread the size of small barrels. Things were looking grim.
Then Donnie called out Raph’s name as he threw a pair of arm-length sewing needles into the air. Raph flipped back and caught them, spinning the weapons like his sais. The Shredder renewed his efforts, but Mikey was flanking now, wielding a pair of enormous dangly earrings like nunchaku and Leo could see the necklace chain with metal, crescent-moon pendant tucked into his belt, likely a substitute for his kusari-gama.
“Raph!” His brother looked up at him, earning himself a kick to the face. But not before he saw where Leo was pointing. With a grin, he rubbed his jaw and charged back into the fray.
“Donnie!” Hearing his name, Don sought Leo out. Trying not to be amused by the spool of thread that had gotten caught on Donnie’s plastic staff. He gestured to the wall-attached bookshelf above him and the letter opener at the end of the desk. Donnie’s eyes widened in understanding and he nodded.
Taking off at a full sprint, he ran for the letter opener. Leo spared a glance back towards the fight. The Shredder had caught Mikey’s necklace chain and attempted to swing him into Raph. Fortunately, they all had a lot of experience dodging projectilized Mikey by now and Raph ducked their little brother who went flying over the edge of the desk.
The Shredder released the chain to let Mikey fly, but his baby bro flipped midair, shooting the chain outwards towards the desk, wrapping it around a drawer handle. Leo cringed as Mikey swung down to splat against the side of the desk, but was relieved that the goofball was still in one piece. In the meantime, Raph had managed to maneuver the Shredder into position.
Leo switched his attention back to Donnie just in time to see him springboard up off the edge of the letter opener towards Leo. Leo saw the box of bouncy balls launch in response to Don’s weight. The balls struck the window above the giant bed and ricocheted off the glass to crash into whatever unfortunate items were situated atop the dresser across from the desk.
What really made him cringe was that the now empty box slammed into the bookend, holding the textbooks upright. This was probably going to hurt. Maintaining his base atop the slowly-falling books as long as possible, he caught Donnie’s foot as his brother flew up towards him and rocketed Donnie straight up. Donnie spun in the air, positioning himself to kick the base of the wall-mounted bookshelf, knocking it just hard enough to dislodge it from the wall screw.
Leo caught his brother as the texts he stood upon collapsed beneath him. But not before he saw the side of the shelf swing down, dropping its payload of books right onto the Shredder.
Leo moaned and just lay still for a moment in the heap of textbooks. That was a close one. He hated engaging the enemy before he had a solid plan, but coming up with ideas on the fly was kind of his specialty.
He looked up to see Raph, needles tucked into his belt, smirking down at him and holding out his hands. One for him and one for Donnie. With an answering smile, Leo allowed Raph help him up.
Now standing he could see Mikey just pulling himself back up and over the desk edge, shooting them a thumbs up as he rolled onto his shell, panting. Leo, with Raph at his side, walked over to pull their little brother back to his feet.
Mikey was too spent for a victory dance, but could not let the moment pass without celebration. He just wouldn’t be Mikey if he did.
Before anyone could answer, the heap of books on top of the Shredder bounced in response to some force beneath them.
“Oh shell.” Only Raph could make worry sound like anger.
“Strategic withdrawal. Donnie, ideas?”
His clever brother gave him a quick nod, scanning the room before pointing towards a heat vent in the floor. “There!”
Swinging down on Mikey’s necklace-kusarigama, having to abandon it in the process, they made a break for the vent, just as the Shredder burst forth from the mound of books, scattering them everywhere. He zeroed in on them as Raph pried the edge of the vent up with his needles. It took all four of them to lift it enough for them to slip inside and they barely made it before the Shredder hit the ground, charging after them.
Once in the ventilation system, Leo randomly selected one of the two directions available to him before starting to run.
“Do you even have any idea where we’re going?”
Leo glanced back at Raph as he sprinted. “I’m making it up as I...wahhh!”
The hot, metal ground disappeared beneath his feet and he found himself tumbling in the darkness before slamming into another metal floor far below, leaving a Leo shaped impression in the smooth surface, that was compounded as each of his brothers landed atop him.
“Oww. I think I knocked my shell loose.” Mikey groaned as he rolled off the top of the turtle pile.
“You’re one to talk. A huge pizza-hog didn’t land on you.” Raph growled as he pushed himself upright.
“Hello. I was crushed beneath the pizza-hog and the meathead. Why’d the heaviest have to land on top?”
Leo sighed in relief as Donnie staggered off him, deciding it wasn’t worth mentioning that he’d ended up underneath all of them.
With a grunt, he regained his feet. “Okay. We proceed with caution now.”
Raph rolled his eyes, barely visible in the dim light filtering in through the occasional vents. “Couldn’t have had that stroke of brilliant inspiration a few minutes ago?”
With a sigh, he tried to get his bearings, but realized that he had no clue where he was going. Picking another direction, of the two available, he proceeded at a much slower pace.
Arbitrarily turning right at each intersection, trying to form a mental map of their progress despite knowing that Donnie probably had a more accurate one, he stopped them all the next time they found a drop off. Looking over the edge, he could see the light of flame down below, illuminating the metal shaft in eerie relief. Burning hot air gusted up towards them, causing Leo to instinctively back up. He looked to Donnie.
Don shrugged. “Furnace maybe.”
Leo considered for a moment. “So, we can either jump it carefully or backtrack.”
His senses prickled and his head darted back the way they’d come, detecting the faint echo or running footsteps. He caught Raph’s eye and knew he’d sensed it too.
“I vote for jumping, Fearless.”
Leo was about to agree when he saw the spool of thread still on Donnie’s staff and an idea struck. “No. We’ll stand our ground.”
Donnie stood trembling beside his brothers, in a line designed to disguise the hole behind them. Like his brothers, he was in a defensive stance, waiting, hoping this wasn’t suicide.
He had experiments at home that he really needed to get back to, although, try as he might, he couldn’t specifically remember what they were. Odd. He should have known exactly what he was working on.
All thoughts scattered as the Shredder rounded the corner and Donnie’s grip tightened on his flimsy, plastic staff. With an enraged roar, the Shredder charged them and it took all of Don’s will to stand his ground. This was such a bad idea. But honestly, he didn’t have anything better.
Closing his eyes, he took a breath and let his faith in Leo drive away the doubt. Calmer now, he opened his eyes in time to see the Shredder plow his fists into Mikey and Raph in the middle, breaking Mikey’s earring-chuck and sending Raph’s needle flying to a clattering stop on the far side of the air duct.
As Shredder attacked Mikey and Raph, he and Leo closed around him, trying to attack from behind. There wasn’t much time now that Mikey and Raph were starting to fall. He brought his plastic staff down, only to have it caught and used, again, to throw him. He barely maintained his grip on it as he toppled over the edge.
As he tumbled, he could see Leo, having not bothered even drawing his plastic blades, slide in underneath Shredder, hooking his legs around the Shredder’s and throwing them both over the edge with a twist, kicking himself free as they fell.
Shredder swiped at them, seeking a hold on Leo or one of his other falling brothers, but Donnie thrust his staff out, striking the Shredder in the chest and knocking their adversary out of reach as they all plummeted through the flame-lit darkness.
Then the spool, end thread tied down to the plastic base, wedged into the seam of the duct with one of Raph’s needles and one of Mikey’s earrings, pulled taut, momentarily stopping the four of them just above the furnace, before the jerry-rigged fixture snapped, turning the four, thread-bound brothers loose once more.
But it was enough as Raph, the lowest of them had already started to swing aside, catching an enormous nail, hammered into the wooden ceiling of the basement and using his body to whip his brothers out of danger. Hands pulled free from the nail by the force of their collective swing, the four of them mercifully landed on one of the couches in the partially furnished basement, bouncing to a gentle halt.
Raph laughed loudly as he untied himself. “Shell yeah! That was awesome!”
Donnie just shook his head as he worked free the knot tying him. “It was certainly a gamble.”
“This is going to call for my best victory dance ever. When I’m not too exhausted to move.” Mikey struggled with his knot as he spoke and Donnie moved to help him.
Leo grinned as he freed himself. “Well, it worked so…”
A clang from the furnace cut him off as they all turned to watch in horror as the Shredder hauled himself up and out of the furnace. While walking along the top of the heating system, his body lost shape as the superheated plastic that made him bent to the demands of gravity, melting and distorting him, until he was more lump than figurine and no longer able to move.
With a collective sigh of relief, they all collapsed against each other, enjoying a well-earned rest.
“I suppose this fiasco is your doing?” Woody glared down at a defiant Zurg as he spoke.
Zurg wasn’t about to be intimidated by an antique cowboy. Even if things hadn’t worked out as intended this time, he had a plan now. He’d be unstoppable and one by one they would fall before him.
“Yes. And I’ll do it again. With each new unwanted villain that Bonnie acquires. I will turn them all against you. Sooner or later, you, all of you, will be broken and discarded. Forgotten and unloved, just like me. I won’t stop until I’ve destroyed you all. And there’s nothing you can do about it.”
Woody crossed his arms, nonplussed. “Rex.”
“Ooh, this will be just like the video game.” The cheerful plastic T-rex caught Zurg up his cape in his wide jaws, hoisting him, in a most undignified manner, into the air.
“Put me down at once you prehistoric oaf!”
The dinosaur pranced over to the closet shoebox, jostling him with each step as he thrashed ineffectively against the larger toy. Then he was dumped into the box, his familiar prison.
“I win. I win.” The obnoxious pseudo-predator chanted, gloating in childish glee above him. Woody joined Rex to look down on him.
His eyes narrowed at them as he struggled back upright. “If you think this box will hold me…”
Woody looked back. “Buzz?”
The wretched space hero stepped up, tugging loose a segment of duct tape. “Adhesive ready.”
Woody nodded to Rex. “Lid.”
His eye lights widened in horror as he realized what was happening.
His cry was smothered as the dinosaur closed the shoebox atop him and he pounded ineffectually against the T-rex’s weight, holding it down. The last thing he heard was the tearing of duct tape outside of his box.
Bonnie felt lighter than air as she bounded into the basement with an armful of presents to drop off. The party had been wonderful. She’d spent the entire time with Noah and had plans to go over to his house tomorrow with her new ninja turtle action figures. Best holiday ever.
Dumping the armload of packages onto the coffee table in front of the couch, she paused as she noticed her new hero toys in a heap right next to her. Huh? She’d been so sure that she’d left them in her room. That was weird. Well, while they were down here…
She grabbed a sharpie out of the nearby craft bin and traced out her name on each of their wide, round feet. It came out a little scrunched, but identified them unequivocally as hers.
Clutching them in her hands, she almost tripped and fell when she saw that plastic blob on the furnace. Was that her Shredder toy? But it was supposed to be in her closet. Relocating the turtles to her left hand, she picked it up with her right, examining it closely as the cooling plastic squished beneath her touch. It was definitely the Shredder. But how?
“Bonnie! We need to get moving.” Her mother’s voiced drifted down the stairs and she shook her head.
Whatever. It didn’t matter. It was just the bad guy and thus no great loss. Chucking him in the laundry waste basket, she grabbed up the handles of the paper bags holding their family gifts and rushed back up the stairs.
At the landing, her mother frowned at her. “You shouldn’t take your new toys to the family party. They might get lost.”
She just nodded, depositing the bags and darting up the stairs to her room. Her jaw fell open as she pushed open the door. Her bedroom was in complete disarray. Had a wild animal gotten into the house while they were gone? Books, toys and all her surface decorations were everywhere.
No time to clean it up now. Thrusting her turtles onto the bed, she turned, dodging the obstacles littering the floor, to get back to her mom.
Mikey sat up, staring in amazement at the closed door. Whoa.
“What the shell was that?” Raph grumped from beside him.
Mikey’s face split into a grin. “The most awesome giant-kid ever!”
Raph’s eyes narrowed. “Mikey, if I ask a serious question, trust me when I say that I’m never asking it to you.”
Mikey pouted as Raph turned to address Donnie. “What was with the weird catatonic act?”
Donnie shrugged helplessly. “It felt like a reflexive action, like holding your breath when dunked in water. I mean we could probably overcome it, but I’m not sure how easy or wise that would be.”
Leo shook his head. “Forget that. We need to figure out how to get home.”
Mikey frowned and looked longingly at the door. He missed the giant-girl already and wished that he could spend more time with her before they left. She seemed fun.
“Actually, you’re already home.” They all turned to the toy cowboy, climbing up onto the bed. “I’m Woody by the way.”
Leo arched an eye ridge at him. “Uh hi. This actually isn’t our…”
Woody shook his head. “Those aren’t your real memories. Just the characters your based on. You’re Bonnie’s new toys.”
The brother’s shared a disbelieving look.
“Believe me. I know how hard it is to accept when you’re new, but it’s the truth.” The astronaut dragged himself over the edge of the bed as he spoke. “I’m Buzz Lightyear by the way.”
Leo cleared his throat. “I appreciate that you believe that, but…”
“Come on. I’ll show you.” Woody gestured for them to follow. With a shrug, they did.
At the bottom of the bed, Woody lifted the edge of the comforter and Mikey’s eyes shimmered with joy. Comic books. Stacks and stacks and ginormous comic books. It was heaven.
Woody and Buzz dragged one of the comic books out and they gasped. The comic book featured them. They were comic book heroes! This was the best dimension ever.
“This doesn’t prove anything.” Donnie had that skeptical tone of voice that he usually reserved for addressing Mikey’s ideas.
Woody and Buzz shared another look, then turned towards the door. With the help of several other toys stacking up, they climbed the tower of their friends and managed to turn the knob to open the door.
Buzz looked back as they started through. “You coming?”
The turtles followed them down the stairs and into the living room, to the biggest television that Mikey had ever seen. He was in heaven. With a screen like this, all his favorite shows would feel like he was in them when he watched them.
Collaboratively working the remote, Woody and Buzz started a show from a menu on the television. Mikey’s eyes widened as he saw himself fill up the enormous screen pelting his brothers with water balloons as Dr. Prankenstein. One of his most cherished memories, until Raph had caught him at least. This was awesome-sauce!
Several episodes later, Leo blinked as the screen blipped out turning black.
“Awww.” He could hear Mikey whine.
Woody chuckled. “I know how enthralling watching your show can be…” Buzz snorted and Woody ignored him. “…but Bonnie will be back soon and we need to get back up to her room.”
Leo frowned at the screen once more before following Woody and Buzz to the stairs. He believed completely now. All his memories, the details of his life even things he hadn’t known about his brothers but were clearly true based on their reactions, had all been up there on the screen. And honestly, while he could remember the events of each episode, there were blank spots in his memory for all the space between episodes. Woody and Buzz were right. He and his brothers were just simple toys.
“What’s wrong?” Apparently his dejection had not escaped Woody’s notice.
He gave the cowboy a half-hearted smile. “It’s just…we were supposed to be heroes.”
Woody grinned. “It may not be what you remember from the show, but trust me, you’re still heroes.”
Leo watched Bonnie clean up the mess they’d made of her room from his place on the windowsill, where he lay motionless. Her nightgown, also Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle themed, swished around her as she worked. It was still so strange to wrap his head around. He didn’t really know how he felt about the revelation yet.
Bonnie finished and crawled into bed with a yawn, pulling the chain of her lamp on the nightstand to turn out the light. Leo watched her settle for a moment, illuminated by the moonlight streaming through the window. She couldn’t seem to get comfortable and he was struck by an intense desire to comfort her.
Before he knew it, he’d toppled off the sill and onto the bed. She sat up blinking and smiled when her eyes landed on him. With a graceful swipe, she scooped him up and collected his brothers from the sill, holding them close to her chest as she snuggled back down into her pillow. He could feel her breathing even out as she drifted off to sleep.
Mikey let out chirp of pure contentment as Donnie sighed happily and Raph actually smiled for once. Leo nestled himself deeper into Bonnie’s arm, more at peace than he could ever remember being before. Yes. He was happy with his new lot. No doubt about it. They were still heroes. Bonnie’s heroes.
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