this is the origin tale of Betwixt, which deals with his first incarnation and subsequent rebirth as the "toon" we know today..
Betwixt - The Final Curtain
It was the Summer of 1923 when a young anthropomorphic frog entered the studio lot of the Laugh-A-Lot complex, the entire area was a whimsical black and white parody of the "real" world - with buildings bouncing up and down to the tune of a constant cherry melody that filled the air.
The frog smiled, his eyes full of wonder as he looked around at the chaotic coming and goings of several other black and white cartoon animals - each one performing some new and often strange spectacle before his very eyes.
The frog suddenly froze as a large shadow cast overhead and he looked up to see the towering form of a huge gorilla dressed in the style of an old-fashioned police officer, the gorilla leaned down and frowned:
"..name?" he grunted.
"B-Betwixt, sir!" the frog replied.
The gorilla snorted slightly, sending a gust of hot air over the frog before his frown increasing - as if in thought:
"..what you do?" he asked.
"..I.. I dance!" the frog said, proceeding to demonstrate.
The gorilla watched the display for a moment - then reached over and picked the frog up:
"..*grumble*.. well.. you'll have to do.. come on.." the gorilla said, clearly not too impressed.
The gorilla proceeded to take the frog to a nearby studio and tossed him onto a large stage, before Betwixt could quite figure out what was happening a blinding light shone down on him and a loud voice boomed down:
"quiet! quiet on the set! alright - we have our new toon.. what's your name kid?"
"..B-Betwixt, sir!" the frown said, shielding his eyes a little from the light.
"Betwixt? ..well.. it'll have to do.. okay! Suzie! get on stage! we got a scene to do!"
"..Suzie?" Betwixt blinked, the light suddenly fading as the figure of a tall and shapely anthropomorphic feline entered the stage: Betwixt's eyes turned into little love-hearts as he floated in midair for a moment.
"alright! alright! no need to yell, ya big baby!" Suzie said, clearly irritated.
"I told you not to call me that, Suzie!" the voice boomed, a crane coming into view as the director was revealed - a literal talking baby with a large director's hat and a megaphone.
"..whatever, baby.. can we get this thing over with? I got things to do ya know" Suzie said, idly filing her fingernails.
"you're pushing it, Suzie! alright! Betwixt! BETWIXT! snap out of it! we're going live in 3.. 2.. 2 and a half.. 1..!"
Betwixt suddenly blinked, awakening from his trance and freezing in place - unsure what to do.
Suzie on the other hand began to dance and sang an old Jazz song - Betwixt was totally unprepared and just stood in place, his eyes wide and his knees beginning to shake.
"..psst.. dance kid! dance!" the director whispered, making mad gestures with his hands as if trying to get Betwixt's attention.
Yet nothing was working, Betwixt just began to shudder as he felt faint - Suzie looked over, seeing Betwixt's distress something changed in the feline and she quickly span over and grabbed him, yanking him over as she whispered: "..relax, just follow me okay?".
Betwixt nodded, barely, then Suzie quickly spun him back and began to lead him in a dance - the two managing to finish the beat just as the projector cut out.
"that's a wrap!" the director yelled out.
Suzie smiled and let Betwixt go, he instantly collapsed on the stage - still feeling faint and not quite sure what happened.
"..you did good, kid.. for a first-timer.. name's Suzie.." Suzie said, extending a hand out to Betwixt.
"you kidding? I was terrible.." Betwixt replied, turning away as he held his knees.
Suzie tilted her head and moved over, sliding next to Betwixt, flicking her tail side to side slowly.
"oh come now, you're just a little new is all.. give it time and folks are gonna love you.." Suzie said.
"..what if they don't? what if I'm a bad toon.." Betwixt said, looking to the floor a little.
"no such thing as a bad toon, kid.. you'll see.. it just takes time.." Suzie said.
"..what if they forget about me? I don't wanna disappear.." Betwixt said.
"now why'd you go and say something like that?" Suzie asked, reaching over and placing a hand on Betwixt's shoulder.
"..it's what happens, isn't it? to bad toons.. they get forgotten.." Betwixt replies.
"who told you that?" Suzie frowns.
"..doesn't matter.." Betwixt said, getting up and hopping away.
Suzie watched Betwixt leave, then turned around angrily and yelled up:
A few moments later the crane lowered and the director frowned, waving his arms around:
"I told you not to call me that, Suzie! now what you want? I'm a busy man!"
"which one of you bozos told that poor kid about the Land of Nowhere?" Suzie snapped.
"Land of Nowhere!? geez.. what are you talking about? I never even met the kid before!" the director exclaimed.
"well someone told him and he's scared to death! what right do you have to do that to a toon?" Suzie yelled.
"Suzie, calm down!" the director exclaimed, a note of worry in his voice.
"no! I won't calm down! it's not right, Baby! not right at all! now, who did this?" Suzie yelled again, in her anger she never noticed the large mass of shadow form behind him - which soon grew into a vaguely humanoid shape.
"..Suzie.." a dark voice echoed across the room, causing Suzie to freeze in place - her tail frizzing up.
"oh geeze! I'm outta here! the director blurted out, the crane flying out of view at record speed.
"..you? ..you did this?" Suzie said, her voice changing to fear as she turned around to face the mass of shadow - looking straight into a face which is hidden from view, yet she can clearly see this hidden face and recognizes it: her eyes growing wide.
"..toons deserve to know the truth, Suzie.. about themselves.. about the world.. toons are just a bunch of thoughts.. walking around thinking they are real.. but they aren't.. toons are just memories.. waiting to fade away.." the dark voice said.
"..you're wrong.. toons bring laughter to the world.. they make people happy.. we aren't like you.." Suzie said, stepping back slightly.
"..I was the first, Suzie.. look at me now.. what chance do you have?" the figure notes.
Suzie shudders, she bites her lip a little and turns tail and flees, unable to take it anymore - the shadowy figure breaking into maniacal laughter as the scene fades away..
Several months later Betwixt sat at the corner of a lonely road outside the Laugh-A-Lot complex, sighing a little to himself as he watched the comings and goings of the world around himself - a passing newspaper praising Suzie and her new fame: not one mention of Betwixt was to be found.
"..you're fading away, Betwixt.. you're fading away and nobody cares.." a small voice whispered inside his mind and he finally broke down, covering his face with his hands as he began to weep.
Suddenly a familar feeling came over Betwixt as a hand lay down over his shoulder and a slightly older Suzie sat beside him:
"..it's okay.. I'm here.." she said, her voice quiet.
"..I'm going to disappear, aren't I?" Betwixt said, his voice shaky.
"no, no.. you're not.. I promise.." Suzie said.
"...promise?" Betwixt said.
"..with all my heart.." Suzie said, the two toons proceeding to hug each other as they sat there on the street - waiting.. though neither knew exactly what for..
That night Betwixt and Suzie walked together towards Betwixt's broken down home, the windows had been boarded up and trash scattered over the overgrown lawn - his front door swaying in the wind as the locks had long ceased to work.
"thanks for walking with me, Suzie.." Betwixt said.
"..it's alright, I kind of need the exercise.." Suzie replied, looking over to the broken down home "..y-you have a very lovely home, Betwixt..".
"..it's a dump, don't lie.." Betwixt replied.
"hey, at least you have a home, right? come on.." Suzie said, heading into the lawn.
"..y-you're coming in?" Betwixt blinked.
"of course, silly! I wanna see what it's like on the inside" Suzie smiled.
"it's just junk, Suzie.." Betwixt began.
"..Betwixt.. please.. just this once.." Suzie said, something different in her voice now - though Betwixt couldn't quite understand what it was.
"..well.. alright.." Betwixt said, hopping over to Suzie and leading her into the house.
The next morning a ray of light entered one of the small rooms that made up Betwixt's home, to reveal a small bed with little more than a single white sheet - laying in the bed is Suzie, alone and tears rolling down her eyes.. staring at one side of the bed: which has a small imprint on it.
"..goodbye, Betwixt.. I'll never forget you.." Suzie whispered.
The scene quickly shifts to a stormy vortex as Betwixt falls down into an alien landscape that consists of a seemingly endless mountain of junk - his eyes grow wide as he tumbles around wildly, yelling out as the junk becomes like a sea, tossing and turning:
"..Suzie!? Suzie!? where are you!? what's happening!? Suzie!?"
After a few minutes Betwixt tumbles into a clearing and looks around, panicking as he gets to his feet and sees nothing but endless junk and stormy skies - he then spins around to see an old-fashioned projector, hopping over to the projector he cautiously hops onto the device: which quickly turns itself on.
Betwixt leaps back as the projector projects an image onto a nearby screen, showing Suzie laying in the bed - crying to herself as she simply stays in place.
"..Suzie?" Betwixt blinks, watching the scene and instinctively trying to reach over - only to realize it was just a projection.
"..I.. I disappeared.. I.. no.. you promised.. Suzie.. you promised!" Betwixt says, growing more angry as he grabbed the projector and threw it aside - causing it to shatter along with the image as he flew into a violent rage - smashing everything in sight before collapsing onto the ground.. "..you promised! you promised!!" he repeats, tears rolling down his cheeks as everything faded once again to black..
Several months went by and Betwixt's anger soon gave way to a deep depression as he sat alone, having found a new projector and through it watched as the world continued to grow without him - he watched Suzie grow in popularity and despite what they had shared together he found himself increasingly hating her, yet such thoughts also made him start to hate himself.. what he was becoming..
Eventually Betwixt couldn't take it any more, he had to escape.. some how.. some way..
"..just one more chance.." Betwixt whispered to himself "..one more chance..".
As Betwixt thought on this a shadowy figure appeared behind him, it took Betwixt only a few minutes to realize this and he turned around: his eyes growing wide as he hopped back..
"..you! no.. no.. stay back! I.. I'm warning you!" he gasped.
"..you want to go back, don't you? to the real world? well, I just happen to have a ticket to success.. now how about you stop this childish display of cowardice and listen to me for a second?" a dark voice says.
"..w-what are you talking about?" Betwixt asked, his eyes darting across the figure.
"..I can take you back to the real-world.. give you a second chance.. all you have to do is give up that ridiculous little outfit of yours.." the figure replied, a long finger extending - seeming to drip with black substance akin to ink - pointing at Betwixt.
"..my outfit?" Betwixt blinked, looking down at his form "..b-but this is who I am! I can't change that!" Betwixt said.
"..and that's why you'll be spending the rest of eternity in the Land of Nowhere.. typical toon.. unable to change.. just another bad memory.. wasting away in this pile of trash.." the figure said cruelly, turning away.
"..n-no! wait! stop! ..I.. I'm sorry.. it's just.. I don't know how to change! please! help me.." Betwixt begged.
The dark figure stopped, as if in thought, then turned around to Betwixt:
"..well, alright.. you've went and convinced me.. all you have to do is trust me.. alright?" the figure said.
"..I.. I do.. sir.. I.." Betwixt began, shivering as the figure came closer, slowly stretching out.
"..don't worry.. I'm an Artist.. this won't hurt abit.." the figure said ominously as its dark form engulfed Betwixt completely..
The scene changed to the Laugh-A-Lot complex a few weeks later with Suzie leaving the stage, only to be stopped midway by the director's call:
"Suzie! come here a second!"
"..what is it, Baby?" Suzie said with mild irritation.
"I told you not to call me that, darn it!" the director shouted, lowering the crane a little more before coming to a stop just over Suzie.
"..whatever.." Suzie said.
"look, Suzie, honey.. you gotta snap out of it.. ever since that Betwixt incident you've been slacking.. numbers are falling.." the director said.
"..I don't care.." Suzie said.
"Suzie! how can you say that? don't you know what that means? if the numbers get to low your out of a job - then what? folks start forgetting about you!" the director exclaimed.
"..maybe they should.." Suzie said, turning around.
"Suzie! what're you saying!? you're gonna throw your life away for some worthless little wannabe!" the director yelled out, only to let out a cry of surprise as Suzie reached up and yanked the crane right down to eye-level and leaned over - her nose pressing against his face as her eyes flared up angrily.
"..you're damn right I am! I should of done so a long time ago!" she growled.
"ack! what's wrong with you!? are you insane!? stop it! I'm warning you Suzie!" the director exclaimed, flailing his arms wildly.
"..all my life I wanted to make people happy.. wanted to make *you* happy.. yet if this is what it takes to be a toon.. then I quit!" Suzie growled, stepping off the crane - which catapulted into the air in the process.
"SUZIE!!!!!" the director yelled as he was sent airborn, yet Suzie ignored his calls as she stormed outside.
Suzie didn't stop until she came to the quiet little street she and Betwixt had walked along several months ago, she gave a final look back towards the Laugh-A-Lot complex and turned - walking down that quiet street for the first time since that fateful night..
Suzie continued her walk until she reached that abandoned house, still overgrown and covered in trash - she entered the lawn and slid her way past the broken front door, standing for a moment in the darkness of the front hall.
Suzie climbed the stairs, moving slowly as she looked around at every little detail - her feet making paw-prints in the dust as she made her way towards the upstairs bedroom, the door still slightly ajar.
Suzie opened the door further so as to enter the room and looked around, the bed remained undisturbed and the clock in the corner continued to tick away - the only reminder of time in a place that seemed forever stuck in limbo.
Laying down on the bed Suzie rolled herself over and stared at the small imprint where Betwixt had once layed, reaching out for the first time she slowly stroked over the area with her hand and smiled ever so softly, even though her eyes were sad:
"..you should of seen it, kid.. I think I just lost my mind.. Baby will never let me live this one down.." she whispered "..oh Betwixt.. I'm so sorry.." - she closed her eyes and began to cry.
"..Suzie?" a voice suddenly speaks out from the darkness, causing the feline to jump up in the bed - her eyes growing wide.
"Betwixt?" she says in shock, looking around.
"..how you doing?" the voice continues as Suzie's gaze stops at a nearby rocking chair - a shadowy figure sitting on it, their features hidden by the darkness all around them.
"..I.. I'm alright.. I mean.. Betwixt? is that really you?" Suzie says.
"..oh yes.. it's me alright.. the new and improved me.." the voice says ominously, two large feet landing on the ground as two equally large ears suddenly poke out from the top of the chair.
"..Betwixt?" Suzie says with worry, reaching over to a nearby light and turning it on - as she does so she lets out a cry of shock, having to muffle herself with her hands to stop an all-out-scream.
Sitting on the rocking chair was a tall anthropomorphic rabbit dressed in the style of a vagrant, a smile spreading over the toon's face as he watched Suzie:
"..that's the name, don't wear it out..".
"..w-what have you done!?" Suzie gasps.
"I've have a bit of a redesign, honey.. nothing you need to worry about.. I'm still the same toon I always was.." Betwixt says, standing up - his smile fading as he notices Suzie scrambling away as he moves.
"..what's wrong? don't you like it?" Betwixt asks.
"..Betwixt.. please.. I.. I have to go.." Suzie blurts out, scrambling out of the bed and hurrying across the room.
"..wait.. Suzie.. you just got here.. we've got so much to catch up on.." Betwixt began, moving towards her.
"leave me alone!" Suzie yells out, with enough force Betwixt steps back, his ears folding back as his eyes show shock and confusion.
"..Suzie?" he whispered.
"..Betwixt.. I.. I'm sorry.. I'm so sorry.." Suzie cried before turning tail and running out of the room, stumbling down the stairs as she rushed out of the house.
Betwixt stood in silence as he watched Suzie flee, reaching out a little before he lowered his head:
"..fine.. who needs you anyway?" he growled, his voice trembling as his hands clutched into fists.
"..I don't.. that's for sure.. I don't need anyone.. you hear me!? I don't need you! I don't need anybody!" Betwixt yelled out, flying into another rage as he began smashing the room apart - the light hurling across the room before darkness once again covered the area..
- The End -