"Oswald?" Mickey gasped. "Gus!"
"Right-o!" the Gremlin replied, dropping the stilts on the floor.
The Mouse stammered, "But
how did you
"We got our hearts back!" Gus explained, trembling with excitement. "Every last one of us! It happened last night!"
"You can read all about it in our newsletter," Oswald butted in. "We've gotta get out of here before that big lummox comes to."
The Rabbit was about to examine the handcuffs when Mickey objected, "Wait! They're covered in Thinner."
Oswald pondered this and glanced around the room. He eyes fell upon something in the back corner, and he hurried over to retrieve it.
Gus continued, "Anyway, we're free now, Mickey, and we have you to thank for it."
Mickey could hear Oswald scoff from across the room, but it was in a far less aggressive way than it was in Wasteland.
"Here we go," the Rabbit announced.
He approached the Mouse again
this time holding a blowtorch.
Mickey stammered, "Is that really necessary
"Relax," Oswald said, rolling his eyes, "I'm not out to get you
anymore. Just close yer eyes and think of somethin' pretty."
The Mouse swallowed hard, figuring the Rabbit wouldn't try anything with a witness present, but at the same time wondering why on Earth Pete would have a blowtorch in his office.
As the Rabbit attempted to light the makeshift lock pick, Gus spoke up, "Um, Oswald, he doesn't look so good."
The Gremlin was hovering in the doorway to the basement, staring down at Pete.
"So what else is new?" Oswald shrugged.
Suddenly, there was a screeching of tires outside, making the three Toons cringe simultaneously.
"Pete!" a smug voice called out as someone knocked viciously at the door. "You better have that Mouse in there if ya know what's good for ya!"
"It's the Weasels," Mickey muttered.
"Okay, okay," Oswald stammered. "Gus, you go get Pete. Mouse, hold still."
"Good idea," Mickey replied, flatly.
"Just trust me, okay?" the Rabbit groaned.
Mickey nodded and held his breath as Oswald lit the torch and started cutting through the chain on the handcuffs. Meanwhile, the Weasels continued to pound on the door, becoming more agitated by the second.
"Pete! Are you deaf?! Open up!"
After what felt like a nerve-wracking eternity, the handcuffs broke apart, and Mickey stumbled to his feet, off-balance from the lack of blood flow to his head and from being restrained for so long.
"Now what?" he asked.
"Oswald!" Gus suddenly wheezed.
The Gremlin had managed to lug Pete up the stairs and was barely able to keep himself airborne at this point. The door began to shake as the Weasels started slamming against it, trying to break it down. Oswald and Mickey hurried over to Gus.
"Follow me," Oswald stated, grabbing Pete by the arm.
The three Toons dragged the unconscious oaf across the floor. Suddenly, the door burst open, the Rabbit, Mouse, and Gremlin ducking behind it with their hostage as the Weasels filed in, Thinner guns loaded and ready.
"Pete!" the Head Weasel shouted. "For your sake, you'd better be dead!"
The goons were taken completely by surprise as the door slammed shut again.
The trio dragged Pete as quickly as they could across the alley to the Weasels' black van.
Oswald threw open the back doors and said, "Bring 'im over here and-WHOA!"
The Rabbit got out of the way as a small white car practically leapt from the back of the van. It was a Volkswagen Bug with red and blue stripes and a 53 on the hood and doors.
"Herbie?!" Mickey exclaimed.
The little car opened its hood so the boys to stow Pete inside. The Weasels, whose response time was atrocious, rushed into the alley as Herbie scooped up Oswald, Mickey, and Gus with his doors and made a sharp U-turn toward the street, honking like he was saying, "Catch us if you can!"
"I'll kill those little twerps!" the Head Weasel fumed, he and his gang getting into the van and chasing after the Volkswagen.
"Who are those goons?" Oswald asked, getting into the driver's seat.
"They work for Judge Doom," Mickey explained. "I don't know how, but he's bought out the company."
"Great, as if we don't have enough to worry about!" the Rabbit groaned. "The Mad Doctor's loose!"
"I know. He's got my heart."
"You really need to be more careful with that thing, Mouse."
"Here they come!" Gus suddenly shouted from the back seat.
The Rabbit and Mouse checked the rear view mirrors. Unfortunately, the objects in them really were closer than they appeared, and one object in particular was the Sly Weasel leaning out the window with a Thinner gun.
"Herbie, watch out!" Mickey called to the little car.
Herbie was quick to respond and propped himself up on two wheels, narrowly avoiding the spray and slipping between two cars and out of the Weasels' sight.
"They make a car that drives itself," Oswald remarked, "and they don't add any cup holders?!"
Ignoring the comment, Mickey looked back and saw the Weasels were upon them again, showing complete disregard for everyone else on the road. They were even blasting the other cars with Thinner, which didn't melt them because they weren't Toon, but knocked them out of the way nonetheless.
"They're still after us!"
"I got it!"
The Rabbit took something out of his pocket and handed it to the Mouse: Yen Sid's magic paintbrush.
"See if you can slow them down!"
Herbie opened the sunroof so Mickey could get a clear shot. I hope I still remember how to do this, he thought. He took aim at the van and fired.
The Head Weasel slammed on the breaks as the windshield was suddenly covered in thick, blue paint. Of course, three other cars banged into them from behind and piled on top of the van, classic cartoon style.
"What've people been feedin' these damn pigeons?!"
Herbie darted down a side street before the Weasels could even find the wiper switch.
The Volkswagen didn't stop until they had reached the other side of town. The sky was becoming thick and hazy as night started to fall over the city. It finally pulled over in front of a dimly lit gas station so it could rest its wheels and so the Toons could regain their composure.
"So I don't know what to do," Mickey sighed, finishing his explanation of Darling's deceit and the events that had lead up to today. "I can't even explain to my friends what happened. They probably think I'm a
"A dribbling, ungrateful, self-deluded butt?" Oswald finished.
Mickey rolled his eyes and muttered, "You have such a way with words."
"Never mind," the Rabbit shrugged. "Look, he said you're not allowed to talk to them, right?"
"So I'll talk to them. I'll call them up, tell them to meet me at a certain time at a certain place, and I'll explain everything."
"Do you think that'll work?"
"This Darling guy doesn't know I exist. You can deny any involvement."
Mickey arched his brow and asked, "You would do that for me?"
The Rabbit crossed his arms and looked away.
"No. I just don't wanna see everything he created go to heck in a hamster ball."
The Mouse nodded. That was fair enough.
"But it's interesting," Gus chimed in, "the pile-up that resulted when you used the brush. In this world, it seems the Paint has the added effect of making reality more like a cartoon."
"Sounds good to me," Mickey replied.
He wished the world could be more like a cartoon. Every day would end with an iris in and a happily ever after. Well, today might not include the "ever after" part, but it was happy enough since Oswald and Gus were here. He didn't feel so alone anymore.