Phoebe's mood started going south once Wesley showed up. I mean, she knew that he and Quincy were friends, but he was just so annoying! Always bragging about his “fantastic gymnastic skills” or his “ridiculously smooth moves with the ladies”. And so, much to Phoebe’s dismay, the short muscular boy with a shock of blond hair somersaulted into the room, math book in hand.
Phoebe glanced over at Valeria Noble, who was fanning herself vigorously. She met Phoebe’s gaze and mouthed, OMG, he is so hot! Phoebe just rolled her eyes. Valeria was a sweet girl, able to pull a compliment out of thin air, with that sort of “I’m beautiful without trying look”. Unfortunately, when Wesley was around, her quick thinking slowed to a snail’s pace and it seemed all she could say was, “Hi Wesley!” over and over again. Sure enough, her squeaky voice was shaped to form those irritating words. “Hi Wesley! Come sit by me, Wesley! Wesley! Wesley, come sit by me!”
Her step-sister Malia raised a finger. “Actually, don’t sit by her, because I’m sitting by her, and, you see, if you come anywhere near me I’ll slug you.” Now, there was a girl Phoebe could get behind.
Phoebe smiled and pulled what looked like a handgun from her purse. She fiddled with it for a moment before Malia took notice. “Woah, why do you have that?”
“Oh, it’s my latest creation. It’s called a sparkshooter. I found a sketch of one in the street the other day and I tried to build it. Check it out,” Phoebe said, and she aimed it at Wesley’s leg. She pulled the trigger and he recoiled with a scream. “It’s a little bit too powerful right now.”
“Awesome!” Malia yelled.
“Awful,” Wesley muttered, checking his leg for a mark.
Quincy rushed out from the kitchen with five cups and a pitcher of lemonade. “Now, now,” he chided, “there will be no electrocution in the Poole household.” He sank into a plush loveseat by the coffee table they all surrounded and Wesley sat next to him. After a brief fist bump, Quincy resumed talking. “Now, let’s get on to the reason we’re all here.”
“Staring at Wesley?” Valeria asked, wide-eyed.
“Actually, I meant studying for our math test tomorrow.” Everyone simultaneously opened their textbooks.
“Okay,” Phoebe began. “If x=7y+32 and y+x=24-x, then using substitution we can-”
“So, did you guys hear that I got third in the gymnastics state championships?” Wesley interrupted, flashing a blinding white smile.
“OMG, Wesley, that is so cool! Isn’t that so cool, Malia? That’s so cool!” Valeria shouted, then giggled.
Phoebe sighed. Every study session with Wesley went like this. “Listen, Wesley, although it is nice that you did well at the tournament, this test is kind of important so we should really get to work.”
“Yeah, buddy, Phoebe’s right. We need to- woah, look out the window!” Quincy shouted, climbing over furniture to get closer. The sight beyond the pane of glass took Phoebe’s breath away.
The sky was a sickly green color, producing torrents of rain that were whipped about furiously by the wind. That was cool and all, but the real show was in the sky. Some strange sort of cloud that resembled an upside-down whirlpool swirled in the heavens. It was the strangest weather phenomenon that Phoebe had ever witnessed. Suddenly, an army of black dots in the distance began to pour out of the clouds. Hundreds, no, thousands were already there, and more just kept coming. Phoebe squinted her eyes to try and make out their identity. They almost looked like...like pirate ships.
Suddenly, Mr. and Mrs. Poole rushed into living room, locking every window then closing the shades. “Mom, Dad, what’s going on?” Quincy asked, the fear apparent in his quavering voice.
His mother kissed his forehead. “It’s nothing, baby. Why don’t you take your friends up to your room and keep studying up there?”
“But, Mom, why-”
“Sweetie, just do it. Lock your door and all of your windows. Don’t let in anyone in, not even me or Dad. And no matter what, don’t leave that room. Not for anything,” she said to him.
“Just go!” she screamed, and 10 young feet scampered up a flight of stairs, down a hallway, and into Quincy’s room. Once everyone was inside, Quincy locked the door then ran over to his single window and locked it as well.
“Quincy, do you know what’s happening?” Malia questioned. It was clear that even she was frightened.
“I wish I did. Just in case something bad happens, everyone should find some kind of weapon.” Quincy started rummaging through his closet. Soon enough everyone was armed with some sort of weapon. Wesley had a pair of scissors, Malia had broken the leg off of a desk chair, Phoebe had taken a rope from a wall decoration, Valeria had taken Phoebe’s sparkshooter (“Well, I’d look so silly with the rope!”), and Quincy had pulled a wand from a magic kit.
“Quincy, what exactly are you planning on doing with that?” Phoebe inquired, slightly amused despite the gravity of the situation.
“I don’t know, maybe I could, uh, summon a rubber ball? You know, to throw at stuff. I’m pretty good at that trick,” he replied.
“Quincy, with all due respect, I doubt that a rubber ball would AHHH!” Phoebe shrieked as she peered out the window. Someone had scaled the wall outside of Quincy’s room and their face was right outside the window. They wore a horrifying Venetian carnival mask with empty, soulless eyes. They revealed a fist with long slender fingers and smashed through the window, sending broken glass flying every which way. As the disturbing figure crawled through the window, the bedroom door exploded in a shower of wood chips. Two more of the people, each identical to the first rushed in. Everyone screamed except Valeria, who fired three electrical charges, each one striking the uninvited guests in the chests.
“Woah, that thing is powerful enough to knock someone out?” Malia questioned.
Valeria chuckled. “I didn’t knock them out, I short-circuited them.”
“Uh, you can’t short-circuit people,” Phoebe said, confused.
“Well, yeah, but you can short-circuit robots.” Everyone looked puzzled. “You guys don’t see it? These things are automatons, not people.” As evidence she rushed forward and reached into the chest of a soldier. Phoebe nearly vomited. Valeria pulled out a handful of gears and sparking wires. “See?”
“But why would robots be attacking your house?” Wesley inquired. Suddenly, more robots started pouring into the room. They filled every available space, to the point where the children had to stand on the bed.
The crowd of clockworks parted to reveal a unique model. He was taller than the other robots, wearing a red cloak and holding a staff adorned with gears. Most interesting of all was his face, which seemed to have a long beak like a bird. His head twitched left and right sporadically, as though some joint in his neck were malfunctioning. He spoke in menacing, robotic voice (what a surprise) that sent shivers down Phoebe’s spines, as though his cold fingers were parading up and down her back. “These children...such raw power. There is greatness in each and every one of them. They must not fall into the wrong hands. They shall be our first experiments.”
“Who are you?” Quincy shouted at the mechanical monstrosity before them, pointing his magic wand, though he wasn’t exactly fear-inspiring.
The thing made a grinding noise that Phoebe assumed was its way of laughing. “If you do not know me, then your parents have told you even less than we had thought. Allow me to enlighten you young pirates-to-be. I am Bishop, the one and only witchdoctor in all of the great Armada!” He stared at the wand in Quincy’s hand. “A tiny plastic staff. It would seem that you, Quincy Poole, may very well join me as the second.” The robotic witchdoctor, as he had described himself, stepped backward and raised his staff.
“Forward, my men!” he cried. “Capture the-” He suddenly stopped talking and started to jerk around as electricity danced across his body. Ten eyes and hundreds of holes where eyes should have been were all fixed on Bishop as he broke apart into several pieces. As the dust caused by the deconstruction settled, every robot in the room locked their, erm, eyeholes on the figure standing at the front of the bed, who was slowly lowering her sparkshooter.
Valeria sighed. “Well, that’s a relief!” She stuck the sparkshooter into her purse.
“How is that a relief?!” Malia screamed.
“I destroyed their leader! Now they won’t kidnap us!”
“You’re right Valeria. Instead they’ll just kill us!” Indeed, the clockworks began rushing forward, weapons raised.
Suddenly, an enormous anchor dropped through the ceiling, crushing most of the automatons. A lone figure slid down the chain that was attached to it. He was dressed like a pirate in a torn red suit. He was short and stout with a messy white beard, incredibly bushy eyebrows, and a long mustache that stood out from his face, seemingly defying the laws of gravity. He held a pistol that looked strangely like the sparkshooter in one hand a hook was in the place of the other. That was weird and all, certainly worthy of Phoebe’s attention, but she couldn’t help at staring at the creature on his shoulder. It appeared to be a monkey dressed in a naval officer’s uniform. He didn’t look quite like a monkey though. More humanlike than a regular chimp. The man stretched his hand toward the group of five. “I be Boochbeard. Ye kids look like ye could use a rescue.”
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