Superkid and the Mutant Plants

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Rise of the Mutant Plants

The plant was quite busy over the next couple of hours though you couldn't tell that just by looking at it. But most people were impressed enough with its size and the town was all abuzz with this environmental marvel. Here's what they had to say about it:

Old fat man wearing baseball cap: It's huge! There's this great big plant sticking out of this building that's just… totally destroyed! (Swings out arms for emphasis)

Woman stroking grumpy-looking cat: When I saw it, I was like, "Wow, is that real?"

Teenager with nose ring and some boils on face: Yeah, dude, I was with my cousin and I was like, "Yo, dude! Check out that wicked-looking plant! It is like… humongosaurus, dude!"

Man in business suit: I was driving home from work and I just spotted it in my rearview mirror, so I turned back to look and there was this… this giant… (holds up hands to indicate size) plant! Just sticking out of this building! It had to have been about… fifty feet tall!

And there you have it. A botanical curiosity with a size that stopped most people in their tracks. Were they aware of the activity going on beneath their feet though, they would have been running at Mach speed…

Deep beneath the ground… well, about two feet to be more precise… a thick, worm-like root surged through the soil. It was an unstoppable force of nature cutting through our bedrock (the metaphorical one; the literal bedrock was still some five feet below). Nothing stood against its rampage - not the thick waterline that it punched straight through, not the large body of flint that it shattered into pretty little gemstones, and definitely not the gopher hole where the root startled a sleeping gopher, which scurried away, squeaking in terror.

Then the unstoppable force of nature encountered a network of tiny roots. The mutant root actually hesitated to go through those tiny roots! Those tiny, delicate, innocent roots! The seemingly insignificant natural phenomenon had actually given the definitely significant meta-natural anomaly pause! Once again, nature has awed us with its subtle power… aw, who am I kidding? That mutant root should be ripping through that web-like network of roots like it was tissue paper! So why wasn't it doing that?

…Ah, I see. Yes, it makes perfect sense now. Persuasion versus brute force. Yes, yes, I understand.

You see, when the mutant root encountered the natural roots, instinct told it to not to just bulldoze through the delicate little things but to interact with them. And what exactly does that mean?

With a stretching, ripping sound like your mom's jeans after she's finished Thanksgiving dinner - don't tell her I said that! - roots popped out of the mutant root, which were smaller - about as small as your mom's little finger. You know, the one she hasn't been able to fit her wedding ring on for the past few years. And from these smaller roots popped out even smaller roots, which were pale and wriggling like little, white worms - the kind you find in your mom's cooking when… uh, hey ma'am! You sure look slimming today! Heh heh! GULAARRGH! All right! All right! I'll cut it out with the mom jokes!

So smaller roots popped out of those roots and still smaller roots popped out of those roots until they were as tiny as threads. Then these thread-like roots threaded their way into the mesh of roots until they were thoroughly threaded. Then, just when you thought they were done, smaller roots popped out! Ah, but these weren't actually roots but sharp, itty bitty spines. Probably doesn't sound very threatening since they're so microscopic, but the purpose they served was definitely very threatening! The spines drew back - a little hard to do when you're surrounded by dirt - and then plunged into the natural roots!

And now the situation reversed: instead of the plant above being inactive while the party was belowground, now the party died belowground while things began to heat up where we humans lived…

Directly above was the edge of an untrimmed yard where things weren't quite so claustrophobic for me. There was grass here so tall that it had grown bushy heads. Very unattractive… but it was soon going to be the least of the reasons for keeping your lawn trimmed. In fact, I've got a friend here, Professor Hugo Green, who's going to give you some other reasons for trimming your lawn:

It is important to keep the lawn well-manicured. What individuals may not realize is that a properly trimmed yard ensures the family remains healthy, happy, and safe. The reasons for not having an ill-kept yard are numerous, but for the sake of brevity, I'll name only three.

The most obvious reason is curb appeal. The first thing people see when they look at a house is the yard, and if it is not properly trimmed, those people will quickly disappear and never return. A lawn that is trimmed will attract people. A lawn that is not will not.

The second reason why it is a good idea to trim your lawn is that tall grass can hide pests and parasites: ticks and hornets among them and snakes for the larger, more dangerous types. Your child could pick up one of these and be in danger of getting disease.

And the final reason for keeping your lawn well-trimmed is the occasional experiment that goes wrong. If the local mad scientist accidentally spills a chemical or releases mutational radiation or blows up a mutated plant that has the ability to take control of other plants and his accident infects your lawn, having it trimmed would give you more time to discover your grass's active mutation and allow you to react in a timely manner. If the mutation occurred in a lawn that was untrimmed, it would surely be too late when you noticed.

In conclusion, keep your lawn trimmed. It will improve your curb appeal, it will reduce pests and parasites that may hide in it, and it will better alert you if a mutation occurs. So just keep your yard trimmed and your family will be happier, healthier, and safer.

And there you have it. A, ah… "brief" essay on the reasons for trimming your lawn. Remind me not to ask his opinion again. But up above the surface by the fence where the grass grew so tall it had bushy heads, something sinister was happening… the grass shivered - and we can forget about using the breeze as an explanation this time! Then the bristles of the bushy heads bristled. Then two tiny, dark depressions appeared in the heads like two hollow eyes. Then each head with the two hollow eyes slowly turned until they were all staring at the same thing… the humans' house. Brrrrrr!

The rest of the grass that hadn't grown bushy heads couldn't have hollow eyes. But they weren't let off the hook either. After being possessed by the mutant root, each one stood straight up, making the entire lawn look like a giant bed of sharp, green nails. Then they tipped toward the house and bobbed up and down in the air, making creepy slurping sounds. The grass closest to the house was actually licking the paint off! The whole yard had turned into some sort of plant tongue garden! Yeck!

But creepy and gross as that was, the worst was yet to come…


In another part of Poolington, there was a pretty blue house. On the walls of either side of the green front door were trellises where vines twined around them and sprouted large leaves, giving the house a cozy feel to it. But that cozy feel would soon become a claustrophobic feel, for the vines had been hijacked by that evil mutant root and were now coming to life!

The purple heads of the vines twitched, causing the leaves below to rustle menacingly. Then they turned and began to slither across the walls like weedy green snakes. They quickly surrounded the windows and front door, all of which were open as an invitation to the breeze in case it showed up. However, the breeze wasn't interested in the invitation and instead it was those virulent vines that showed up - those unwelcome neighbors you never knew you had… you know, the creepy kind digging holes in the middle of the night in your backyard…

They slithered forward…


Mrs. Terrell's rose hedges, which lined her yard, were her pride and joy. The roses they grew popped out at you with their vivid colors: red, orange, pink, white, yellow and even those rare dark, dark purple ones. She kept the hedges watered and trimmed, plucked every weed that dared to poke its puny little head above the surface, and chased off any prankster and nosy neighbor who dared to get within ten feet of them. She was vigilant in making sure nothing happened to them.

But as vigilant as she was, she was unprepared for the attack that occurred in the one place she couldn't keep her eye on… underground. The mutant root plugged itself into the roots of the hedges and began the corruption that would ruin Mrs. Terrell's precious roses.

First, the rose buds stiffened. Then they closed each of their many petals until they were all tightly shut. Then they began stretching and contracting, writhing up and down and from side to side as though they all had terrible bellyaches. Underneath the brightly colored leaves, which were starting to rustle like a mob at a rock festival, the wizened branches began wizening even more, as well as twisting and bunching.

The rose buds - stealing back the spotlight - now opened the same way they closed: one petal at a time. Like layers of curtains, each petal drew back one after another until the center was revealed. And what could possibly be so interesting about the center of a rose that it needed layers of curtains opening one at a time? How about a deep gullet with a ring of teeth leading into it?

Another garden turned horrific, with the same evil design, now turned its attention to the occupant of the cute, little cottage across the lawn. The occupant of the cute, little cottage - a dear, sweet, little, old lady, who was baking pies at the moment - was very unaware of her own rose bushes snaking branches toward her…


The corrupted roots had even spread far into the desert - about five miles outside the middle of nowhere, Poolington. That mutant Venus flytrap was really covering its bases even though there was really nothing…

Oh, wait. Hold on. There was something here all right. Something big… something huge! A white triangular thing that spanned about thirty feet, with three green, spiny legs. Now what sort of strange - and possibly menacing - creature was this that was located in such a remote place? Could it be some sort of alien, which was going to ante up the threat to Poolington and create an even more epic battle for our hero to fight in? Regrettably, no. The white thing was actually a canopy of webbing and the three spiny legs were actually Saguaro cacti. But wait, what's a giant web doing stretched over giant cacti? Who built it?

Why, none other than Superkid's oldest yet most forgettable foe, the giant spider. It was currently taking its afternoon siesta, dreaming giant spider dreams and completely ignorant of the fact that it was soon to be subject to the evil of mutated flora.

The virulent roots quickly plugged their spines into the cacti's thick tap roots and were soon on their way to corrupting them all. The Saguaros all shrank a little - you might even call it "cringing from the pain of being transformed into evil mutations" - and then plumped out again, their spines popping out longer, sharper, and pearlier - yes, pearlier! With these new and improved spines, the cacti decided to sever the loops that was holding the canopy up and that's just what they did. The canopy dropped on top of the snoozing arachnid, whose dreams went from swimming peacefully through a beautiful sea to suddenly realizing it couldn't actually breathe underwater and starting to drown. The giant spider thrashed, rolled, and flailed its legs desperately for air. It tumbled first one way and then the other, rolling quite close to the cacti but miraculously not touching it, considering that the cacti were actually leaning forward to poke it!

But eventually its luck ran out. As it mumbled, "Can't breathe! Need to breathe!" the spider rolled close to a mutated cactus. The diabolical plant leaned close and when the spider rolled close enough, it fired its needle! The needle shot straight for the giant arachnid's bulbous abdomen - kind of a hard target to miss, actually - which effectively woke the nightmare-induced crawler.

"YEEEOW!" it roared. "Ow! Geesh! Argh! That hurt! Pain! What the heck am I in anyway?" It thrashed and kicked for a solid minute until it managed to finally free itself. It scuttled back from the web canopy until it recognized it with a halt. It blinked in confusion for a second then it muttered to itself, "Oh, I see. Stupid thing must have fallen off again. Now I have to put it back up." It moved to pick up the web, grumbling to itself. It spun around to put up the web again… and then froze.

The cactus it was staring at was now sporting some wickedly big, long needles almost the size of daggers that the giant arachnid had not seen before! But weirder than that, each and every needle on the cactus was somehow angled so that they all pointed at the evil spider. It was like looking down the barrels of .45 caliber pistols in a Texas showdown - only worse.

The spider gulped. Then it took a careful step backwards…

And dozens of needles all fired straight into its face.

"AAAAAAAAAAARGH!" The gargantuan eight-legged fiend wheeled around and scuttled blindly away to escape the corrupted cacti. It swiped its forelegs at its face in an attempt to brush off the painful needles, but the attempt failed, only causing pain.

"OWWWWWWWWWW! Wish I had fingers… to pull these out with…" It brushed its face again and roared again when this caused another flare of pain. "Need to find someone… someone who can help… help get these out…" And it turned and charged in the direction where it would eventually reach civilization. A civilization in which the population was under 1,000 people and was humbly named Poolington. A civilization that housed its arch-nemesis, Superkid. A civilization that was coming under attack by a bunch of vicious, evil, mutant plants…


AND THEN IT HAPPENED! Plants everywhere began their attack, causing town-wide panic!

In the overgrown yard, children had been playing hide-and-seek but were now screaming as the tall tongue-like grass slurped at their legs. One child, thinking herself clever, had hidden in a big clump of grass and now found the grass forming a dome around her, trapping her in a grass prison. She tried to escape but the grass only bounced her back inside. Terrified out of her wits, the girl began sobbing.

At the pretty blue house - now green due to the snaky vines covering it - chaos suddenly erupted. There were sounds of shattering glass and splintering wood. Soon afterwards, there was the sound of terrified screaming, "SNAAAAAKES! WHY DOES THERE HAVE TO BE SNAAAAAAKES!" then there was more shattering glass - made from China - and tinkling silverware.

Busy baking pies, Mrs. Terrell was unaware that she was about to be assaulted by her own prize roses. Thick, gnarly branches were already at the window, their tips facing the glass as though peering in. They slowly reared back like ropy, needle-head cobras about to strike… and that's how they struck! They smashed through the window. The tinkle of glass mingled with Mrs. Terrell's shrieks of terror. A quarter cup of glass shards was mixed in with the sixteen ounces of cranberries on top of a mixture of 1/3 cup of flour, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/2 tablespoon of salt, and a dash of her secret ingredient - which was, of course, a secret.

Mrs. Terrell screamed again - likely from fright, but now that I think about it, it could be from the indignation of having her delicious pies ruined. She backed away as she studied the twisted branches. She demanded, "What's going on here?"

The branches didn't answer her - which was to be expected. In all the corruption and morphing, they didn't bother to develop mouths. They crowded through the window like a mob of devoted fans determined to get to her, though I doubt it was to get her autograph or secret pie recipe.

Mrs. Terrell didn't seem to think so either - or maybe she was just really determined to keep that recipe a secret! She spun on her heel and bustled out of there. The evil rose branches shot after her, but with them competing to see which of them would grab her first, they got tangled with each other and Mrs. Terrell managed to slam the kitchen door shut, trapping the branches inside. A close call… or so she thought.

Behind her, her living room windows suddenly shattered and glass shards bounced onto the couch and carpet. More twisted branches surged through the window after her. She screamed and bustled to her bedroom, which was only about three feet to her left, fortunately. The demented branches had to travel about twice that distance to the bedroom straight across from them. That distance was their downfall. They slammed against the door just after the old lady had slammed it behind her. The evil branches tried slithering under the door but the crack was too small. They then tried to twist the knob but, wouldn't you know it, the old lady had it locked!

So then the plants turned to something else - morphing again. With the dry creaking of old rope, huge, sharp thorns emerged from the branches. Wielding these overqualified tools of destruction, they began attacking the door, gouging out large chunks of wood. These evil plants couldn't be stopped for long. Within minutes they would be through the door!

The situation was dire for Mrs. Terrell. She was trapped in her room, there were sounds of wood chunks being ripped from her door, and she was all out of ideas. What was she to do? Oh, what was she to do?

The situation was pretty similar all over the town. Everywhere, plants were coming to life and attacking people, who ran screaming in panic, trying to find a safe place to hide from the demonic vegetation. Windows were shattered, tables were overturned, and mattresses were ripped from their tags. Families gathered in attics, the parents telling their children that everything was going to be all right - a very common myth that parents like to tell their children in crises like these though it was quite obvious that all hope was lost… or was it?

Fortunately for these parents, they all had a shining ray of hope in this darkest of hours. A glistening sponge in the muck of despair. A single rose amongst the hail of rotten tomatoes and eggs. Everywhere, in their attics, the people of Poolington turned to each other and said in solemn tones:

"This is a job for Superkid."

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