(note: Flipside is the official debute storyarc of Betwixt, which will introduce the character along with the concepts of the Land Of Nowhere and so forth - although Betwixt is (of course) a rather cartoony character the story can be considered dark but fun.. hopefully balanced enough to keep most people active and happy..)
The scene begins in a dark and forbidding dimension where the sky is almost pitch black save for a strange tear high in the air that leads to what appears to be a void of white - sitting atop a very large stack of broken down cars and scrap metal is what appears to be an anthropomorphic rabbit in the style of a cartoon from the early 20s, complete with a lack of coloring and overly expressive features.
Despite his somewhat innocent appearance the rabbit looks up at the sky above with a frown suggesting a darker personality than what his outward persona would be expected to have: his ears folded back as he mutters slightly.
"..bored.. bored.. bored.." he huffs, scratching behind one of his ears with an oversized footpaw when he suddenly sits up straight - his ears perking straight up as he suddenly becomes alert.
"..wait, what's that? no.. it can't be.. it.." he gasps, leaping up and running down the stack of trash - causing it to start falling apart like a small avalanche as he bounces over to what looks like an old-fashioned projector.
He quickly turns the projector on and after a few crackling sounds and blurry vision an image appears (in black and white) of what appears to be the "real" world - specifically showing the room of a collector of memorabilia from the 20s: who just happens to have many toys and merchandise sporting what appears to be the rabbit's image over them.
"..oh baby! it's the jackpot! Moggy! Moggy! get over here!" the rabbit says excitedly, clapping his hands slightly.
As the rabbit bounces slightly a rather short anthropomorphic mole dressed like an old-fashioned gentleman suddenly appeared next to him, as if by magic - "..you bellowed, sir?" the mole replied.
"About time you got here, Moggy - look at this.. you see what I see?" the rabbit noted, pointing at the screen.
"It would appear to be a specimen of homo sapien - human.. middle-aged.. somewhat monomanical.. a collector if you will.. and.. oh.. oh my.." the mole states, his small eyes growing large as he spots all the merchandise.
"..that little collection is my ticket to freedom, Moggy - and we're going to get them.." the rabbit said.
"..but sir, I.." the mole began only to be picked up by the rabbit, a hole appearing in the screen as he is literally tossed through.
"no complaining Moggy! I'll catch you on the flipside!" the rabbit proclaimed, leaping in after him.
Moggy finds himself catapulted across a windy "tunnel" of varied colors before he finally lands on the concrete streets of an alley in a modern city - only taking the form of a rather short, plump human male - still dressed as a gentleman.
"..oh my, how undignified.." Moggy fussed, dusting himself off only to fall down as Betwixt lands on top of him, only he now resembles a human with long spikey hair of pure black, with a little white streak: his clothing still that of an old-fashioned drifter.
"..well Moggy, what you laying around for.. we got a job to do.." Betwixt noted, hopping off Moggy and begining to walk down the alley.
(those who wish to contribute can edit below)
As they walk down the street they are being watched by a young female with a small bird, which resembles a miniature eagle, on her shoulder.
Betwixt and Moggy find themselves confronted by a group of street-thugs just as they are about to leave the alley, the thugs dressed in almost stereotypical leather jackets and sporting a collection of piercings as well as wild mohawks: one of them flips open a blade and points it at the duo.
"Alright freaks, just give us whatever you got and nobody gets hurt.." one of the group warns.
Betwixt smirks a little and shakes his head, "..you don't want that.. trust me.."
One of the thugs begins to approach threateningly "..you some sort of wise-guy?"
Betwixt grins widely, putting his hands in his pockets and leaning back as he tilts his head to Moggy "..seems these guys don't know when to quit, Moggy.."
The thugs look at one another, confused, the one holding the blade suddenly lunges forward as if to attack.
Before anything can be done however Betwixt pulls his hands out his pockets, revealing two powerful guns that explode with great force - unleashing what appear to be boxing gloves, however they hit two of the thugs with enough strength to knock them out.
"..*^&%! run!" one of the thugs yells as the remaining group scatter, Betwixt lets out a mad laugh as he literally falls back onto the pavement, wiping a tear from his eye.
"..now that's what I call a real *punch* line.. eh, Moggy?" he taunts, clearly pleased with himself.
"..quite sir, however.. if I may say so..perhaps we should demonstrate more restraint in future - we don't have full access to our abilities in this dimension and attempting to utilize them may have negative effects upon the stability of the natural order.." Moggy replies.
"..you worry too much, lighten up and enjoy yourself.. after all.. it's not every day you get a look at the flipside" Betwixt replied, sitting up.
Suddenly an armored figure appears in the alley near the two beings - clearly female in appearance but having most of her features hidden under futuristic armor: including what appear to be a pair of large wings.
"you don't belong here" the figure speaks simply, her voice somewhat disguised by hidden technology.
A few minutes a woman in red comes out of the shadows, clutching an axe - she looks to Betwixt, Moggy and the armored figure as she states: "none of you belong here - the question is, what are you doing here? answer wisely.."
Suddenly, the woman that was watching Betwixt and Moggy earlier appears behind the woman in red. "Neither of us belongs her, including myself. Yet we all seem to have some business here..." she moves next to the woman in red, simpy waiting.
Betwixt raises an eyebrow and nudges Moggy as he puts his hands behind his back and sways in place in an exaggerated manner "..Moggy, we have a problem - seems these people have forgotten who they are talking too.. in fact that's been the problem for the last 80 years.."
Moggy simply looks at the assorted group without much in the way of expressions and comments " - in all fairness, sir.. we aren't in our natural forms.. this dimension restrains us.. which is why we must.."
Betwixt interrupts before Moggy can finish, "..the flipside has forgotten about us, Moggy.. well that's all going to change - because when I'm done everybody is gonna remember me.." - with that he grabs Moggy and leaps into the air, impossibly high: landing on the ground behind the main group and taking off in a literal cloud of dust.. a trail of scorched earth providing an easy means of tracking the strange pair.
Amnesty turns into a string of green smoke, swiftly following the trail.
Red leaps up onto the rooftops above and begins to run along them - leaping across gaps as needed and keeping her gaze forward as her eyes narrow in concentration as she follows the trail below.
The trail ends at a Retirement Home, which now looks as if a small hurricane just passed by - staff are tied up with rope and gagged but no one seems to be harmed.. an old man in a wheelchair seems to be waiting, as if expecting people to be following:
"..I'm afraid you won't catch them.. if you want to beat a toon.. however you can outsmart them.." he says, chuckling slightly as he looks to the tied up staff "..they said I was crazy.. guess this showed them.." - he becomes more serious though in the next sentence "..but I suppose most folk have forgotten about the toons.. maybe it's for the best..".
Amnesty takes on her normal form in front of the old man. "What do you mean?"
The old man seems remarkable unfazed by the events going on around him, though judging by the way he talks he probably never a particularly sane individual - "..you ever seen a cartoon or read a comic book? even a book with pictures? well you see the things in those "stories" are normally just that.. stories.. but if someone thinks long and hard enough the "story" starts to take a life of its own.. I think those monks in Tibet had a word for it.. a "Tulpa" they said.. a sort of living dream..".
The old man wheels himself around slightly, looking at the visible outline of two figures on a nearby wall - as if someone had carved through the wall with stencils: "..a "toon" is what happens when enough people believe strong enough in something that isn't quite real.. problem is once you make a "toon" you can't get rid of them.. the best you can do is try and keep them locked away.. like a bad memory..".
Amnesty nods. "But what place can hold a cartoon?"
The old man shakes his head a little "..toons don't belong in the real-world, eventually they break apart and return to wherever it is such beings go.. however if they succeed in getting enough people to start believing in them again they can use that to "anchor" themselves into the real-world.. what you people need to do is delay them long enough that they can't succeed in doing that.. I want to help but what use is an old man going to be? you people are young and strong.. best thing I can do is try and forget about what happened today.. like I said.. the more people start believing the stronger the "toons" get.."
Amnesty sighs. "I guess that means I'll have to wipe your memories..."
The armored figure appears behind Amnesty and speaks "..I have a better idea.." - she looks to the old man "..I will put you to sleep, along with those affected by this anomaly.. long enough for us to find these "toons" and send them back.. once they are returned to their native world you will awaken and return to your life.. what little of it is left anyway.."
Amnesty turns towards the armored figure. "Go ahead. Do your thing, but don't mess up. These toons are more dangerous than they seem."
Red arrives and looks around before commenting, having just heard Amnesty's comment "..dangerous? we have faced gods, demons and the inane babbling of madmen.. what makes you think those two jokers pose a threat?"
Amnesty turns towards Red. "Don't underestimate them, Red. It is true we have faced many dangers, but that doesn't mean these "Jokers" aren't dangerous as well."
The old man wheels himself over to a window, looking outside - even as the rest of the home is in ruins: "..sleep sounds good about now.. I haven't slept in a long time.. here.. I won't need this any more.." - he tosses a small and tattered stuffed animal towards the group, it resembles a black and white rabbit dressed in the style of an old-fashioned drifter from the 20s. "..just remember.. no matter what happens.. toons don't kill..".
The armored figure extends her hands and before long the old man is put to sleep along with all the other residents and staff of the retirement home - a small chain of purple energy swirls around their necks like a collar in the process: "..I have put them in suspended animation via manipulating their inner-workings on a level most of you won't know about for another 30 years - now, let us continue our pursuit before I decide to erase this entire time-line as a matter of principle..".
Amnesty walks to the wall with the holes in it. "I think it shouldn't be hard to follow them."
Far away Betwixt and Moggy arrive at an old house, without warning Betwixt leaps at the door and smashes in - Moggy runs after him with concern as he notices the ground beginning to change as strange puddles start to appear on the ground, spreading outward as reality begins to take on a more black and white feel.
"..sir! please! stop.. if you continue to breach the natural order like this you could destabilize.. not just yourself.. but the entire world.." Moggy begins but stops as Betwixt turns around.
"..Moggy, I'm not going to fade away.. and if I do.. I'm not going alone.. now stop rambling and get moving.." Betwixt states, as he does so his human appearance starts to visibly decay, giving way to a more "cartoony" feel as his hands and feet begin to take on the appearance of large paws and his hair starts to resemble a pair of slightly floppy ears: the color seeming to slowly fade from his form.
"..very well, sir.." Moggy replies after a moment, looking briefly at his own hands - which are starting to change as well, though not as rapidly as Betwixt "..let us make haste..".
With that the two make their way into the house, the door slamming shut behind them as an absurdly complex collection of locks, chains and boards suddenly appear on said door along with a small sign held on by a nail that reads "Do Not Disturb".
Red arrives at the house and looks at the door, frowning slightly as she looks over the elaborate collection of locks and chains: then swiftly smashes through them with her axe with a slightly feral growl..
"seems like someone isn't very good at hiding their tracks.." she notes, then aims to kick the door down.
Amnesty appears behind Red. "You could have been more subtle as well.. But then again, perhaps subtlety isn't going to work with these "Toons"..."
"They come to this world uninvited, harass its citizens and, more importantly, try to humiliate us.. the time for subtlety is over.." the armored figure states and transforms into a swirling mass of black energy as she enters the building.
Amnesty nods. "I guess you guys are right..." She then follows the armored figure.
As the group enter the building they are greeted to a spiralling staircase, across the floor are what appear to be stylized paw prints - the general feel of reality altering as if one had just stepped into an old black-and-white cartoon. Then a rumbling sound emerges as a large boulder suddenly rolls down said staircase as Betwixt stands at the top of the stairs, wearing a fendora hat as he grins - the group no doubt noticing how his human appearance is dramatically starting to "melt" away to reveal his true form: "don't worry! this won't hurt me in the slightest!" he yells down.
The armored figure flies to one side, her form already made up of energy so somewhat immune to a boulder - though the unexpected surprise does make her pause for a moment.
Amnesty steps forward, keeping her hand out, as if planning to stop the boulder.
Betwixt frowns slightly and pulls off the hat, tossing it away as he outright sheds his human disguise - revealing himself as a living cartoon in the shape of a rabbit dressed in the style of an old-fashioned drifter, his floppy ears swaying slightly as a dramatic flash of lightning strikes through the area (despite it being indoors).
Betwixt's eyes flare with a mixture of madness and rage as the lightning flash reflects off them - he then vanishes from sight as he enters a room near the top of the stairs, as he leaves a storm brews inside the room, causing heavy rain and wind to manifest: once again seeming to defy the normal physics of the world, for those sensitive to space/time the sense of reality starting to destabilize is now extremely prominent.
Red snarls slightly as she begins to head up the staircase, motioning to Amnesty "come on - we have to get rid of these things before they tear this place apart!" she calls out, her red cloak blowing wildly in the storm.
"I am detecting major disturbances in space/time.. whatever this "toon" is doing is bad.. I'm talking "end of life as we know it" bad.. I for one don't fancy spending the rest of my life stuck in some madman's version of a Saturday Morning TV show.." the armored figure notes as she too heads up the staircase, still taking on the form of a swirling mass of energy.
Amnesty quickly follows the others. "Let's put them to a fast end, shall we?"
As the group head up the staircase Betwixt slams the door shut and hops down another set of stairs as he meets up with Moggy in a darkened room - within the room is a middle-aged man tied up by rope with a gag around his mouth, a large collection of toys and merchandise have been stacked into what appears to be a wheelbarrow as Moggy looks at Betwixt, his form his changed as well from human to what appears to be a rather large cartoon mole dressed in the style of a stereotypical gentleman.
"..We don't have long, Moggy - a bunch of freaks are heading our way and there's only so much a toon can do.. we're going to have to take this stuff and bail.." Betwixt states - producing what appears to be a portable hole out of nowhere.
"With all due respect, sir - you're still not thinking properly.. the natural order has been pushed too far.. we can't run any more - I'm afraid we must accept defeat.. we can always try again another time.." Moggy begins, only to grow silent as Betwixt suddenly leaps on him with eyes ablaze with fury.
"I'm not going back to Nowhere! now get the stuff and let's get out of here - take the human too.. his mind will act like an anchor - maybe if we're lucky his mind will be strong enough to keep us from fading away long enough for us to move to another city and set up business.. then, when kids start buying our toys and merchandise we'll have hundreds of little minds to latch onto.." Betwixt growls.
Amnesty arrives at the top of the stairs and sends an energy blast towards the door.
The energy blast breaks the door open and Betwixt tosses the portable hole down on the floor, causing a large swirling vortex to appear as he grabs the tied up man and tosses him into the wheelbarrow atop the large collection of toys and merchandise: putting on what appears to be an old-fashioned miner's hat.
"Moggy! deal with these freaks - and hurry!" he declares, pointing at the group.
Moggy simply turns to face the group and walks calmly forward, sticking his nose in the air as he sniffs slightly, dusting his suit as he sighs somewhat "very well, sir" - he then grows substantially larger and more muscular (exaggerated in classic "cartoon-style") as he advances towards the arriving group.
Amnesty fires a beam of green light at Moggy, which would turn him into stone if it were to hit him.
The armored figure suddenly reshapes herself into a physical form and unleashes a stream of black lightning at Moggy almost in unison with Amnesty's attack.
Moggy is hit by the beam of green light and becomes in akin to a statue - resulting in the black lightning crackling across his frozen form: yet after a few moments the stone cracks and splinters as Moggy flexes, shattering the stone and sending small splinters of stone flying in all directions.
Moggy proceeds to charge straight at the group like a bull, however anyone who has watched a cartoon can figure out that once a "toon" starts charging they can only ever go in one direction - in Moggy's case straight forward.
Meanwhile Betwixt frowns visibly as he watches, balancing the wheelbarrow full of toys and merchandise (plus one very confused captive) on the edge of the swirling vortex as he taps his foot impatiently "you got exactly one minute to deal with these freaks, Moggy - or I'm leaving without you.. I mean it!" he snaps.
The armored figure watches as Moggy breaks free "..alright - seems we need to start thinking like toons.." - she then steps to one side as Moggy charges "..I don't imagine you guys have ever seen cartoons?" she speaks to Amnesty and Red.
"I've got better things to do, but that doesn't mean I don't know anything about them." Amnesty steps aside and stands next to the armored figure.
Moggy crashes straight through the room and down the set of stairs with a resounding crash - Betwixt frowns and grabs the wheelbarrow as he gets ready to leap into the vortex, "..idiot -" he begins, then stops as the storm worsens and the area shakes violently as the vortex begins to change, becoming more akin to a puddle of ink.
"no.. I'm not finished.. I still have time.. you can't.." Betwixt growls, yet it is too late and before he can fully react inky tendrils shoot out of the vortex, wrapping around his legs and drag him into the puddle - he claws madly at the ground as his eyes grew wide before he disappears into the strange vortex: the wheelbarrow falling over to one side, causing the toys and merchandise to topple across the floor and the prisoner to roll awkwardly on the ground.
Amnesty sighs. "Let me guess. We're supposed to follow him?"
Red grips her axe for a moment as she watches, bracing herself a little before she eases a little "..I don't think so - whatever happened.. he didn't seem to like it.. besides, it doesn't seem likely he'd of abandoned his "prize" like that.." - she picks up a toy, then tosses it aside as she walks over and begins to untie the prisoner.
The armored figure steps away from the wall and looks around, "she does have a point, he didn't seem very keen to leave - which makes me wonder..".
Amnesty turns around and walks back to the stairs. "I wonder what became of that other guy..." she mutters as she moves to check on Moggy.
Chapter 3a - Betwixt Battle
The strange vortex suddenly begins to bubble as the area shakes violently - reality starting to return to normal as the "cartoony" effects slowly fade away: yet as this happens a disturbing roaring sound echoes from within the vortex as the inky substance bubbles even faster than before and the shaking continues.
As this happens Moggy arrives on the scene again, he is visibly starting to fade away - yet looks concerned as he looks at the vortex "..oh my - you.. you shouldn't of done that.. Betwixt is terrified of Nowhere.. he can't stand being forgotten.. he..".
Moggy doesn't get a chance to finish before the vortex suddenly bursts like a fountain of ink as a gigantic and horrific version of Betwixt emerges as the vortex swirls around him - trying to suck him back into the Land Of Nowhere. Betwixt's form is literally falling apart, revealing disturbing skeletal features and terrible claws as he lets out a terrible roar.
"..NO!! I.. WON'T.. GO..!" Betwixt snarls, slamming his arms onto the ground as he lifts himself up out of the portal, up to his midsection - the massive claws scraping across the floor in the process. As this occurs Moggy seems to pick up courage and heads over to Betwixt, still fading away as he speaks out "..Betwixt.. stop fighting.. please.. it's.. over.." - yet all he recieves in return is a vicious blow from Betwixt that sends him crashing into a nearby wall.
Betwixt's eyes flare up with intensity as he looks to Moggy "FINE.. I DON'T NEED YOU.. I DON'T NEED ANYONE!" he snarls, then turns his gaze towards the group, swinging one of his arms at them, which stretches into an unnatural reach that almost spans the length of the room..
Red leaps over Betwixt's arm as it swings around, then strikes at him with her axe - reaching over to grab the captive in order to keep him out of Betwixt's line of fire: "..wait - the old man.. he said something didn't he? about toons.. he said no matter what happens.. toons can't kill.." she thinks aloud.
"Killing isn't the only thing we should be worried about Red, you should know there are other ways to harm innocents" Amnesty yells as she fires a few orbs at Betwixt's face.
Betwixt shakes his head violently as he's hit, the area shaking in the process as he once again slams his arms against the ground and lifts himself up slightly - transforming one of his hands into a huge and malicious-looking hammer, which he smashes down with great force near the group, shattering the floor in the process as the vortex continues to slowly but surely draw his struggling mass into the Land Of Nowhere.
"MOGGY! DO SOMETHING!" Betwixt roars, despite his previous statement - it's as if ordering Moggy around is the only thing he really knows what to do: sure enough Moggy begins to falter as he looks over at Betwixt, then at the group.
"..sir.. I.." Moggy begins, only to be interupted.
"NOW!" Betwixt snarls, his eyes are a volatile mixture of rage and fear - he knows his time is short but he isn't prepared to leave without a fight.
"..yes.. sir.." Moggy sighs, then leaps at Red - aiming to grab the prisoner from her: "..I'm sorry but toons have to stick together.. it's a rule.." he notes to Red.
Amnesty charges at Betwixt.
The armored figure lifts herself off the ground and unleashes a beam of black lightning at Moggy from behind, looking at Betwixt and the vortex "..the vortex is trying to pull him in - aim for the arms..".
Red blinks a little, tossing the prisoner over her shoulder - surprisingly strong despite her relatively small size - she holds her axe in one free hand and uses it to try and block Moggy's attack "..why do you help Betwixt? can't you see he's simply using you? he doesn't care about you or anyone else.. all he cares about is himself..".
Amnesty starts slashing at one of Betwixt's arms. "No use in fighting anymore, go to where you belong!"
Moggy is hit with the black lightning and stumbles, extending his claws and swiping at Red but the axe blocks them - causing slight sparks to fly, as he speaks his form begins to distort "..generations of being forgotten will do that to a toon - we exist to make people laugh.. when the laughter stops.. it scares us.. because without laughter a toon's just a memory.. memories fade away.. yet they never truly die.. you can't understand.." - then Moggy vanishes, melting away into an inky puddle.
"I WON'T GO! I STILL HAVE TIME! I'M NOT FINISHED!" Betwixt snarls as he struggles against the vortex, only for it to ultimately suck him in - the room shaking violently as the vortex acts almost like a drain, taking in all the "cartoony" effects of the room and forming it into a swirling mass of black substance not unlike ink, which bubbles away before vanishing as the area returns to normal.
Amnesty puts her swords away. "So, this is it? We're done?"
The armored figure touches the ground with a gloved hand - ".. we need to destroy the merchandise - prevent them from coming back..".
The collection of scattered toys and merchandise litter the floor, the ex-prisoner finally managing to remove his gag in order to speak "..what's going on? why are you in my home? I - I'm calling the cops!" he blurts out, panicking a little.
Red grabs the man and uses her axe to swiftly cut him free of any remaining restraints, then lets him go - she then uses that same axe to destroy a good number of toys and merchandise: looking back at the man she notes "..no need for that: we're finished here..".
Red proceeds to turn to Amnesty and the armored figured and pulls her cloak over herself, hiding her features and forming that distinctive red "hood" - placing her axe over her shoulders "..I think we'd best keep what happened here our little secret, not that anyone would believe us anyway..".
Amnesty nods. "I have no intention of telling anyone of anything I do. People shouldn't know more than they can grasp."
As the group start to depart from the building the scene shifts into black and white, then tears away into white as Betwixt smashes a projector to the ground - tearing the screen apart as he breathes heavily.
"No! No! No! It's not fair! It's not fair!" he complains, clutching his fists as he is once again surrounded by a mountain of trash, looking up at a pitch black sky with a strange tear in it just as before.
"..sir.. I.." Moggy begins, only to freeze as Betwixt leaps at him with anger in his eyes.
"You! This is all your fault! You -!" Betwixt begins, then stops suddenly as Moggy covers his eyes, cowering in place.
After a moment Moggy uncovers his eyes and blinks as Betwixt reaches down and pulls a small object from beneath one of Moggy's footpaws "..what's this?".
"..I.. I must of accidently stepped on something.." Moggy begins, only to grow silent as Betwixt stares at the object and grins.
"Moggy, I think you just redeemed yourself.." Betwixt states, dusting the object off - revealing it to be a slightly torn poster, clearly of considerable age, it shows Betwixt and a whole gang of equally colorful cartoon characters from the mid 20s, the text reading: "Betwixt & Friends: The Laughter Never Stops!".
Betwixt grins even wider and then starts to chuckle, his laughter growing louder and more disturbing as he breaks into outright insane cackling as lightning crashes across the skies..
- THE END -