Welcome to the eighth installment of –


Please send all comments to pepe.k@eudoramail.com

The following story concerns the Toonsters’ freshman year of Acme Looniversity at college level. This tale of mystery is best read from the beginning – the other parts are available at HKUriah’s TTA Fanfic site, among others. I suggest you read it from the start or you’ll not know what’s transpiring.

This story contains many references to music, some of which you may be familiar with. It contains and was inspired by the music of Danny Elfman’s soundtrack of the films, EDWARD SCISSORHANDS & MEN IN BLACK.

In order to enhance this experience, I’ve made notations as to where each specific piece of music fits into the story. If it’s available to you, I’d strongly suggest getting the CD or cassette tape, so that you’ll not only read the story, but hear it happen as well. All the music is available on CD. Most is from Danny Elfman’s Original Motion Picture Soundtrack "EDWARD SCISSORHANDS (#MCAD-10133) and MUSIC FOR A DARKENED THEATRE – Vol. 2 No, I don’t make a living selling music for 20th Century Fox or MCA but Mr. Elfman’s music is incredibly beautiful, IMHO and well worth it.

I’d like to thank HKUriah, Thorne, VmC ...and Danny Elfman This story is dedicated to my Beloved Wife.

And now – Part 8 of –

"World Without End"


Chapter XXX

Art by Leloni Bunny

The full moon was bright, as Fifi stood in the very center of the hedge-maze. Her formal white silk gown and high heels made her feel out of place, as if it weren’t real – but with Doctor Lord’s chilling eyes upon her, she knew she couldn’t avoid what was about to unfold.

Lord stood like a statue, his wine-colored velvet suit, musketeer’s boots and flowing purple cloak making him seem like some eighteenth century, romantic highwayman. The wind blew his cape softly across the pointed toes of his black leather boots. His usual smile was instead an icy stare, as if he did not see her. His stillness was eerie, like some great stone gargoyle. Fifi shifted her feet nervously. The air was filled with the songs of crickets and cicadas.

"Is this the same man I danced with?" she thought.

Lord stood frozen as his voice in her head replied, ["I am."]

After a long silence, she timidly asked, "Won’t vous speak to moi?" Lord’s gleaming silver eyes moved – looking down at the purple skunkette half his size, his white triangular pupils focusing on her like a gunsight.

"Mark me" he intoned.

"...Ah weel.." Fifi whispered.

Art by Thorne

Lord’s long arm swept up, carrying his cloak with it in a dramatic gesture and all the noises of the insects in the garden ceased! Lord’s soaring voice was riveting.

"I am thy Father’s spirit! Doomed for a certain term to walk the night – and for the day condemned to fast in fires, till the foul crimes, done in my days of nature – are burnt and purged away! ..But that I am forbid to tell the secrets of my prison house – I could a tale unfold, whose lightest word would harrow up thy soul! Freeze thy young blood!!"

Fifi stood paralyzed with fear by the powerful histrionics – until she realized something and cautiously asked, "Hamlet?"

"Act I, Scene 5 – I thought it most apt" Lord quipped with a smile.

Fifi didn’t laugh. "Vous are not mah father...and you’re not a ghost" she told him.

Lord’s silvery facial fur shone in the moonlight, as he turned to stare at it. "A ghost is the spirit of one who is condemned to live on past it’s death. It must exist as a lonely vagabond and atone for its’ past sins."

Fifi saw the faraway look in his eyes. "But you’re alive...tu are real."

Lord slowly turned to gaze sadly back at her. "I always have been, my dear."

He broke the mood with a short laugh and smiled as he crossed to the park bench where Pyewaket, his black cat, sat watching. Lord swept his cape over the back, nearly covering the wrought iron bench. The feline crawled into his lap as he sat down. She purred as he gently scratched her under her chin. Fifi was a bit disturbed by his changing moods.

"Vous make moi nervous when you act like zees."

"I am no longer acting, Petite" he said, his eyes like a mirror.

"You mean zis eez how vous truly are?" she asked.

Lord nodded. " When I act my age."

Fifi sat on the bench beside him. "Ah came out to see eef tu were alright...Are you?"

"I am – now that you are here."

"Ah can’t eemagine how tu must ave felt – to lose your wife like zat."

Lord looked at the moon with a queer look on his face.

"At the time..I went a bit insane..and wrecked the house. Red was everything to me – my whole world. When she was gone...I had no purpose ...no life anymore. I couldn’t face anyone knowing that secret."

"Zo..tu went to Europe" the skunkette said hesitantly.

His cat-like white pupils looked at her.

"Kirrik told moi. ..Pavel? Why deedn’t tu tell anyone? Why keep eet such a secret?"

Lord looked back to the moon.

"Blaming television – blaming the humans – could have brought about an end to the cooperation between the two universes and widened the schism between toons and humans. The two worlds have not always gotten along. In the beginning, they didn’t trust one another, you know. ..Anything perceived as different is always feared and misunderstood – and is quite often shunned. I had no wish to see a conflict arise....and also..it was her dying wish."

"Vat waz?"

Lord’s eyes closed as his head hung down.

"... She put her fingers to her lips... she didn’t want it told.. in her suicide note, she made it plain that it was not to be announced" he said.

"But she had all zos friendz!"

"A few..yes – but she saw too many men who wanted her as a prize – not as a person."

"Boot Yakko said ‘Eee was her-"

"He was not a friend!" Lord interrupted abruptly, "He may have thought so – but my Beloved found him most annoying –as did I! – What was I to do? ..I could not refuse her last wishes. She wanted to be remembered happily and with proper dignity – as though she were still alive. She could not change nor destroy the image she had become. And she couldn’t live up to it She wanted the legend to survive... but she herself couldn’t live with it. "

Pyewaket stretched in his lap and Lord petted her.

"No one should be blamed for finding out...but...If there’s anyone to blame for her death – it’s me."

"But why?!"

"I should have seen it coming. I should have been there for her more... I just couldn’t believe that such a thing could happen in such a perfect world."

"Tu mustn’t blame yourself", said Fifi, "But.. tu said zat tu were werking een Reality? Doing vat? Vat waz zo eemportant zere?"

Lord looked at her in surprise, then lapsed into silence.

"Rise and walk with me" he said finally, getting to his feet.

"I’ll show you." After placing the the cat on the bench, he walked to the black obsidian statue of a winged dragon behind them. Fifi followed, but was confused as he just stood there. Again, he seemed disconnected, staring at nothing.

"Where are we going?" she asked finally.

He turned and she saw his eyes glowing all white. Fifi’s hair bow spun off her head like a helicopter rotor blade and then returned to it’s place atop her startled face. She then laughed as he smiled at her. "Tu look lahk Banjo, zee opossum!"

Lord wiggled his eyebrows and said, "We’re going to Reality – into the past ...–or past reality" he punned.

"But shouldn’t we go eenside.. to your Time Machine?"

Lord pointed to the statue. "We are at it’s focal point", he told her, "My entire property is honeycombed with underground chambers and tunnels. The Time – Dimensional Displacement Apparatus is directly beneath us."

"So zat’s how you are able to make zis maze and ze fountains appear?"

Lord nodded and turned back to the statue. Suddenly Fifi was shocked as she discovered that she could barely hear anything. Lord seemed frozen in concentration. The skunkette then did notice a sound – she felt a high electronic noise like a television with the sound turned off.

"Vat are you doing?" She heard her voice faintly.

Lord spoke without breaking his trance-like concentration. "Setting the coordinates of our journey ... done."

Suddenly, a clap of thunder rolled out the distance as the air pressure fell slowly around them. Fifi jumped, as sparse, threatening percussion began.

"Must you always use muzeeque?!" she asked in frustration.

Art by Leloni Bunny

"It serves to indicate what’s happening" he said turning to face the northern sky.

Lightning flashed nearby as more percussion stabbed through the night.

"Eet frightens moi!"

Lord looked at her, his eyes shining like white headlights.

"Take my hand and hold on tight."

Her small purple paw slipped into his black hand and he smiled again.

"You need never fear anything, Petite. Behold!"

Far off on the dark blue horizon, a sheet of utter blackness was coming towards them. The inky blackness raced over the landscape, covering everything like a blight. The music from Lord’s mind grew from ominous to terrifying and Fifi’s eyes started from their sockets, her hair standing on end like a fretful porcupine. In the drawing of a breath, the blackness covered them and she saw nothing – not the maze nor the ground nor the sky. All she could see was Lord, holding her hand and still staring.

["It’s coming"] he said in her mind and pointed.

A bright light appeared – like the headlamp of an oncoming train.

Wordless voices sang a rising crescendo as the light grew closer, larger and brighter.

"Ah’m scared!!" Fifi cried out, but could hardly hear her own voice.

["Don’t be – that is our gateway"] said Lord’s thoughts.

The light grew closer and closer, the thrilling music grew louder and louder and more frightening. The music and light swirled and spiraled into such pure colors that it hurt to look at it. Fifi shielded her eyes and trembled as the circle of light stopped just before them. She shivered with fear as it opened like a doorway and the music came to a thunderous climax.

["Hold on!"] came Lord’s thoughts, ["Step in with me – Now!"]

Together they walked into the blinding circle – and were gone.

In a flash – the night and the hedge-maze were as before.

The crickets began to chirp again.


Chapter XXXI

Fifi felt herself moving – falling, rising, spinning, hurtling beyond the speed of light. She could see and hear nothing – the bright white light blanked out everything, so she shut her eyes tight and screamed soundlessly. She felt it in her throat and heard the rending fear within herself shriek! The only reassurance she held in her hand – Lord’s strong fingers and palm held her’s tightly. Suddenly the light popped out... and the world of sensation returned.

Fifi felt her feet on the ground. Sand shifted under her shoes. It was hot and the air was dense. She felt terribly heavy and her tail sagged to the ground. She opened her eyes ... and the world was wrong.

It was dark, so she began using her night vision to see. They were standing on a small hill overlooking a desert. Everything appeared dull-colored and overly detailed. So this was reality. She looked up to see Lord still holding her hand.

"Well done, Petite" he said, his voice sounding odd.

"Mon dieu!," she exclaimed, "Ah feel lahk ah’m made ov lead!"

She noticed that her own voice sounded slightly different too.

"It’s because the gravity here is heavier than in the Tooniverse" he told her.

Fifi pulled in a deep breath and coughed. "Zee air eez so heavy!"

"Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it. And when your human host arrives, you’ll feel just fine."

"Mon human – oh...oui – you told us..."

"Just be careful" Lord cautioned," We’re in Reality now and are subject to its laws of physics."

Fifi looked at her paw and at Lord and saw how out of place they appeared – their sharp clean colors contrasted against the billions of details and irregularities that made up this world. She stared about at their surroundings. There was a rough military shack off to their right and down the gully. A trench had been dug in the sandy clay behind them. It was nearly dawn, but was still as black as midnight. She heard the sounds of insects. Rumbles of thunder rolled across the plains. A drop of rain landed on her pink nose and trickled down. The sensation was unlike anything she’d ever felt before. Astonished by this strange world, Fifi didn’t feel her heels sinking backward into the sand. She began falling backwards, but the tall skunk’s arm caught her before she could fall into the muddy trench.

"Merci, Pavel," she said standing up again, "Where are we?"

"Reality", he said, "North America. The nearest town is Los Alamos, New Mexico – but we’re miles away – near Alamagordo."

"Vat are we doing h-"

Fifi found herself tearing up a piece of paper. Her hands moved – she moved – but not of her own accord. Her hands were now human!

"What are you up to, Oppie?" asked Lord’s voice. Her hands tossed the shreds of yellow paper on the ground like the petals of a flower.

"Just a little experiment" she heard herself say in a male voice.

Fifi felt better – normal – but not herself.

"Given the range to target and the projected blast wave – this should work" she thought. Fifi suddenly knew that she was within the mind and body of a human. She glanced at Lord and saw him standing there – but wearing dirty tan pants, a button-down shirt and a brown homburg hat.

Art by Thorne

["Just relax, Petite"], said Lord’s mind, ["You are within the mind and body of Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer."]

The sound of a radio came from the metal shack, where a dusty old truck and several older cars stood. "The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" played from a trumpet-shaped loudspeaker at the shack’s eaves and a human in a tan khaki uniform stuck his head out of the door.

"Sorry Sir!" he called, "This is the only thing on, this mornin’."

Fifi felt herself wave him off.

"Never mind" said Oppenheimer.

"Almost time, Sir" called the man before ducking back into the lit metal hut. The familiar child-like, ballet music by Tchaikovsky made the scene quite macabre, until it was cut off. Oppenheimer/Fifi and Lord both stared down toward the plains below.

["What’s going on?"] asked Fifi’s mind.

["There’s a metal tower down there"] Lord thought to her.

Lightning struck off to the left, showing the plains below for a moment.

"What if lightning strikes the tower?" asked Lord, as they climbed down into the muddy trench.

"It’s grounded, but remember – General Groves wants this done now", Oppenheimer remarked, "Do you really wanna find out?"

Lord laughed and said "Absolutely not." They both fumbled with the wielder’s goggles they wore around their necks. Oppenheimer looked at his watch.

"Almost time" he said.

["What’s going to happen?"] thought Fifi.

"Good luck, Oppie" said Lord shaking his hand quickly before they crouched down in the trench.

"Well," said Oppenheimer, "If it doesn’t work – we’ll all look like idiots and if it does work...there’ll be hell to pay."

"45 seconds" said the loudspeaker at the shack and the voice began counting down. The two put on their goggles, making the already dark scene unobservable. Fifi felt the man’s excitement as the culmination of years of work drew near.

["An experiment – the first of it’s kind"] Lord thought to her.

Fifi tried to recall as the voice counted down.

"10 – 9 – 8 – 7 – 6 –"

["July 16th"] , Lord’s mind told her, ["5:29 am – 1945"]

"5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 – Zero. "

Abruptly, the blindness ended. White light turned night into day!

Art by Eric Hound

It was as if the world’s biggest flashbulb had been set off in their faces.

The bright light lessened, but was replaced by an earth-shattering roar!

This crack of doom continued unabated, shaking Fifi to her very core. They pulled off their goggles to scramble up the bank to look and she witnessed something she’d never forget.

Fifi saw what looked like a terribly bright, blinding sunrise, but the sun moved and expanded! Clouds of dust boiled at its base. The fireball rose and blistered. A circular wave of wind was coming at them, flashing across the sand. The blast was immense and nearly knocked them down. The roar of the tremendous concussion was deafening and Fifi watched the shreds of paper fly like confetti past her, along with the sand and rain.

"Twenty one kilotons!!" Oppenheimer yelled above the din. Fifi and Lord watched as the orange and purplish grey mushroom cloud rose to twenty thousand feet! Thunderstruck, Fifi stared at the giant cloud of boiling purple dust and was staggered by what she’d witnessed. Dumbfounded, she thought to Lord.


["Trinity."] , Lord thought, ["The world’s first atomic detonation."]

They stood in awe as the landscape far away burned and smoked, the ground swept clean by the terrible force.

["The temperature at ground zero rose instantly to ten million degrees Celsius, releasing a million pounds of pressure – vaporizing the tower – and all life within a half a mile."] Lord’s mind told her. The mushroom cloud hung in the air like a god’s gravestone.

"Congratulations, Oppie – you did it." said Lord, solemnly shaking Oppenheimer’s hand again.

The human stood regarding the monstrous spectacle.

"..I’m reminded of a passage from the Koran", he said quietly, "Now I am become Death... the Destroyer of Worlds." He sighed and remarked, "Now we’re all sons of-"

Suddenly, Fifi felt herself free again – and heavy. She looked to find Lord as his normal self and realized that their visit to 1945 was about to end. Neither skunk spoke, but stood silently regarding each other.

"Zo..you were helping to build zee atomique bomb."

Lord looked away and closed his eyes. "It was built to stop a world war.. and it did." he said quietly. "Please come and take my hand – we’ll be returning in a moment."

Fifi trudged over to him as they moved to the exact spot where they’d arrived. Lord put out his hand for her’s and noticed how slowly she took it. The skunkette looked thoughtfully at the immense scar left on the plains by the atomic blast – a blackish green stain that was half a mile across. The sun was beginning to rise behind them, lighting the dim desert. Not knowing what to think, Fifi searched Lord’s face.

"Fifi..please don’t judge me before you know the facts."

"Vat eez zere to judge? Vous helped create a weapon ov mass destruction."

"We created a threat – that threat ended the war. People had been dying for six years. We put a stop to it."

"By deestroying thousandz more?"

"Perhaps 112,000 died and 70,000 were wounded by the two weapons – the war took over thirty million lives and wounded thirty-four million others. The war cost over one trillion, four hundred and two billion dollars – and that was in the nineteen-fourties. We ended that. The bomb brought peace."

"But zis was een 1945! ...Your wife ..died years latair."

"Yes, while I was in the Pacific, at Bikini Atoll... we’d created a weapon that stopped a war, but still needed one that would keep the peace for good. I was helping Edward Teller to build the H-Bomb."

Fifi turned away to shut out the distasteful images and facts.

Lord continued to summarize, " So in helping to create peace in this world – I lost all I had in in the other."

Fifi stopped talking and shook the sand from her tail. As dawn broke, Lord kneeled down next to her and looked into her eyes closely.

"I’m sorry, Petite," he said softly, "You need to know the truth about me... and it will be hard for you to accept. I know this changes your views of me...I’m not what anyone thinks I am. It may prove to be too much to accept – But I won’t hide the truth from you." He paused and spoke intimately.

"You are the reason I returned...You are the most important person in my life now."

The streaked desert sunrise bathed them in orange light. Fifi was more than a bit surprised at Lord’s statement.


"Yes, my little one," he said in French," Now that you’re old enough – the truth can be told to you at long last."

She saw her nervous reflection in his sliver eyes and refocused her own on him. She was taken aback, but saw the true softness and gentleness in his eyes as he looked upon her. Then his eyes’ white pupils expanded – becoming the white ovals she’d seen before. They turned in time to see part of the sky darkening behind them. The blackness was upon them and she saw the time tunnel of brilliant light arching towards them. Lord stayed on his knee, holding her paws gently as it approached.

"Vous are going to tell moi?" she asked earnestly.

"Everything, my dear" he said, "But I must warn you – you may not like all that you’ll find. The knowledge will change you – and all that you know."

The tunnel of light swallowed them.


Chapter XXXII

Fifi felt the strange sensations of hyper-speed as they flew through the perpetual white-out of time travel again. Despite the shock of transition, she fought to keep her eyes open and to keep her fears at bay. Her mind told her that her body was moving, but the blinding white light revealed nothing. There was nothing to see or feel, but the pressure of Lord’s hands around her own.

Suddenly it blinked out...and she found herself back next to the black dragon statue in the center of the hedge-maze. She looked up and saw the time tunnel pulling away, like the funnel of a white tornado. It flashed and disappeared into the sky and the sounds of night returned. Pyewaket meowed and tossed her tail on the park bench as if nothing had happened at all.

Feeling dizzy, Fifi staggered over to the bench holding her head. She sat back and held her forehead with both paws, wishing she could shake what she’d seen, like sweeping away a bad dream.

"Are you alright, Petite?" Lord asked as he crossed to stand at her shoulder. The small skunkette looked up at him.

"Oui...ah’m just overwhelmed, zat’s all."

"You’ll feel alright in a moment."

Fifi looked up and turned to point at the black dragon. "Why can’t ah see or hear anytheeng eenside zat..tunnel?"

"We’re traveling faster than light or sound, so we get the white-out effect" Lord told her.

"Lahk being snow-blind?" she asked.

"No, that’s where everything is reflecting back. The gravity is extreme and is pulling both the light rays and sound waves – and us along with it. Time, space, and dimensions are bent and pulled. It’s a bit like how a black hole functions."

"But zen we shouldn’t see zee white light."

"Everything inside the tunnel works backward. It’s...complicated."

Fifi shrugged. "Ah’ll leave zee physiques to Calamity – ah am not zee how you say? –Math whiz."

The tall skunk smiled. "Perhaps some day you will be."

Together, they looked at the moon as Fifi regained her composure.

"Tell me about yourself, Petite."

Fifi was puzzled. " Vat do you mean?"

"Tell me about your family." he asked pleasantly.

"Ah.. thought you knew about zem..."

"Perhaps I do – but I don’t read minds all the time, you know. Not unless someone won’t tell me what I need to know – or if I’m working with someone."

"But you just deed een our time travel?" she exclaimed.

"That was just talking to each other", he reassured her," If I actually read someone’s mind – I’m searching into their minds and memories. And I won’t do that unless it’s absolutely necessary... So who are your family?

Fifi sighed and lowered her eyes. "...Ah don’t ave much ov one anymore", she said sadly, "..Mon Papa died when ah was ten..and ah was raised by Mama..and mah seestair, Moufette."

Lord noticed the distaste in Fifi’s voice.

"You don’t like your sister?" he asked.

She shrugged. "Oh ..ah suppose she’s alright, but we nevair agree on anytheeng... Moufette eez..very deefrant from moi. ..Now zat Mama eez gone, Moufette runz our farm lahk she alwayz wanted to. She eez happy weeth her beezness and money...All ah ave eez mah Hamtone and heez familee and mon friendz – and zey are good to moi."

Lord cocked his head. "There’s no one else?"

"Not really", she sighed and then laughed, " Of course zere eez mon Grandperé Putois. ‘Ee eez a funny old skonk who lives on ze hill next to our vineyards. ‘Ee helped take care when Papa waz sick and ‘ee payz for mah education at Acme Looniversity."

"Your grandfather?"

Art by Thorne

"Oui" Fifi smiled, remembering. " Grandperé eez an eenventor.

Alwayz werking on some strange machine. Zometimes ‘ee would blow out all zee power een our province!"

"You like him?"

Fifi laughed ,"Oui! ‘Ee taught moi to ride a horse before ah learned to talk! ..."Ee eez a sweet old theeng. – A leettle crusty, but lovable."

Lord put a hand on her shoulder. "And yet you grew up feeling lonely."

Fifi looked at his hand and turned to face him. "Eet takes one to know one, yes?" she asked sympathetically.

Lord looked away at the moon and nodded, blinking softly. She raised her eyes to his.

" Now tell moi – Who are vous? How do vous know moi? – How do I know vous?"

She stood and pointed at him. "Evaire seence ah first saw vous, ah knew we’d met somewhere before! We met yesterday, but why do ah feel lahk we’ve known each ozzer all our lives?.. What are you – zat you can do zees theengz??"

The tall skunk took a deep breath and looked at her seriously.

"The time has come, the Walrus said, to talk of many things, –"

Fifi interrupted him. "Of shoes and sheeps and sealing wax – of cabbages and Keengs, And why ze sea eez boiling hot – "

"And whether pigs have wings," he finished for her slowly.

Fifi was annoyed with his delays and said, "Ah’m not Alice...and zis eezn’t make-believe. Tell moi..please!"

Lord was not surprised at her tone nor that she knew the poem so well. He walked slowly around and stood before her, his moonlit shadow covering her.

"It is a secret that no one else may know." he said, his voice like iron on velvet. "To be kept between only you and I. There is no one else who knows the full story."

"No one at all?" she asked.

"No one that’s alive," he said ominously.

"What about Shirlee? Vous must ave told her."

His expression didn’t change. "Shirley knows only what she needs to know – and has also been sworn to secrecy. To prevent her discovering it too soon, it was necessary for me to deprive her of her powers until I could explain the danger."

"Vous deed zat? Why? Vat danger?"

Lord crossed to sit on the bench. "A Spirit. – Today at the race, you were witness to it’s power. You saw my body moving beyond the speed of sound? You witnessed the storm? You heard the terrible sound?"

"But zat was you! Your powers –"

Lord gazed fatefully at her.

"Up to the point before Mach Two – yes. ..Then – I let the Berserker take me.

"Ze Berserker? " Fifi gasped remembering.

"An evil spirit that dwells within me", Lord told her with guilt crossing his face," Anger... loneliness.. rage. A horrid, violent spirit with no fear – and no pity."

Fifi remembered what she’d thought of last night and said, "A murderous fury driven to destroy. – Ze "Berserker gang."

Lord nodded. "Yes. If Shirley were to read my mind unawares and review my past lives – she could unknowingly bring the Berserker to consciousness. This must never be allowed to happen!"

Fifi was confused. " Eetz weetheen you?"

"Yes – locked away, confined, controlled. It slumbers – but I am never rid of it."

"But why does eet exeest? Where deed eet come from?"

Lord gestured for her to sit.

"Because of who and what I am, Petité. Come, let me tell you the world’s longest story."

"Would vous please stop calling moi zat?" she said petulantly, "Ah am not a leettle girl!"

Lord’s secretive smile creased his face. "I know." he said gently, "That’s why I’m going to tell you. I’m not a young person myself."

Fifi hiked up her skirt a bit so she could sit comfortably and felt a little embarrassed at herself.

"Ah’m sorry..ah guess compared to tu – most people are young."

His smile widened. He reached out and gently lifted her chin with a finger.

"And you shall always so. Young.. and beautiful."

Fifi’s white cheeks blushed crimson and she looked at her lap to hide her smile. Lord sighed deeply.

"It’s always best to begin at the beginning. That was a long time ago. I was born in a tiny hamlet called Woldacann, in what would later be called Gaul. Today it would have been in that region of France called Normandy."

"Zo tu are French, yes?" Fifi asked in delight.

"In a way, yes..." Lord speculated, " We were Celts. I was a hunter – a warrior tribesman. We fought our enemies – for food, land, possessions, women – everything. Those were savage times – and we were barbarians."

"Vat?" Fifi asked confused. Lord went on.

"One day we fought the blue-painted Britons on the beach. I had almost vanquished my foe – but I had forgotten his comrades.

One of them ran me through with his sword – "

Fifi gasped in horror then asked, "Deed tu hit heem weeth a mallet?!"

Dr. Lord shook his head. "I felt it pierce my heart and fell face first into the cold, wet sand and pebbles – and thought I would meet my maker."

Fifi fought her confusion.

"But zat doesn’t make any sense! Zere were never any wars!"

Lord regarded her sadly. "You don’t seem to understand. "

He paused, making a hard choice and took her right paw and gently kissed it in the Continental style.

"Forgive me, my little one" he said, " I hadn’t planned to show you quite so soon, but...Take my hand and tell me what you see."

Fifi slowly took her own hand back, confused by her feelings again and took hold of the hand he offered her.

"Look closely" Lord said " What do you see?"

Fifi looked at his large hand before her.

"Ah see a black skunk’s paw.. weeth claws and gold rings" she whispered uncertainly.

"You’re being too polite, Fifi – it’s not a paw...is it?"

Fifi winced and said " No... eetz a hand ..weeth five fingerz – not four.

Lord nodded. "Correct. Now watch it closely."

Fifi stared at his hand, unsure. One of the rings caught her eye – a large oval amethyst gem set in gold. She suddenly saw the hand was changing! The black fur receded before her eyes, the claws became clear and flat. The pale skin was revealed; dull-ly colored and with hundreds of tiny details. The rings remained the same but the hand was now real – and human!

Fifi looked up to see that strangely familiar 3-D human sitting next to her. A man not to thin nor too fat, not too tall nor too short.

"Kirrik!!" she whispered in complete shock.

Kirrik nodded sadly. "Yes, Petité. That is the name my parents gave me."

Fifi turned over his hand in her own, staring in disbelief.

"Vous are human?!!?"

The man shook his head. He saw the disappointment in her eyes. "No – not quite... But I am originally from Reality."

Fifi was stunned couldn’t believe it. Slowly, she let go of his hand.

"...You’re not a toon?"

Kirrik saw the pain on her face and heard it in her voice.

"I am ..what I am – when I am", he said slowly, "When I change – I change completely – inside and out... When I am Dr. Lord – I am Dr.Lord. When I’m at rest or asleep – I’m like this."

Fifi was crushed, her mouth hung open.

"Vous lied to moi" she whispered almost in tears.

Kirrik leaned forward to plead with her and she shrank back.

"Nonono, Petité! I’m here – I’m telling you the truth right now!" he begged. "Please! Don’t be angry, I beg of you! I had to wait until we were alone like this! I couldn’t let anyone else find out what I am!"


It was Kirrik’s turn to be shocked and hurt. He slowly got up – and knelt at her feet with a look of sorrow.

"I am a very.. very old ..and lonely creature....I am an Immortal."

Fifi’s eyes went wide and she sat back on the bench, speechless.

Kirrik’s eyes locked with her’s and he told her. "That day on the beach, I was pierced to the heart. Swords were expensive and hard to come by..so my opponent withdrew his ..He turned me over to strip off my leather armor..and my eyes beheld the sun again – and I saw my mortal wound close! It healed before our eyes...and I rose up! ...I’ll never forget the look of utter astonishment on his face.. I felt the miracle too. That look remained with him – even after his head rolled in the surf." Fifi cringed away from his words.

"Yes, I repaid him for giving me the knowledge of my own immortality. I managed to slay several others of his kinsman before they fled in terror. I knew that I was invulnerable! ...I turned in triumph to my comrades ....but instead of a crown of laurels – they threw stones! Instead of cheering – they called me "Witch!, Demon! ...Devil!" Kirrik stood and looked at the moon again and spoke bitterly.

"They turned me away – Mankind. So I turned my back on them – and ran. I ran and ran...and I’ve never stopped. I thought all that night, out alone on the moors."

Kirrik began pacing as his fervor rose.

"I thought till I’d thought a hole in the ground. Who was I? And what? And Why? ...And what should I do now? Was I a God? Or just a insignificant man? What was my purpose? Where did I come from? All these things I could not fathom. So I went home. Perhaps my family had a clue."

He stopped pacing to look at Fifi and tell her.

"But there was a blackened heap of ashes where my hut had been..where my Father and Mother had been..they and my little brother and sister had been murdered by the superstitious villagers. My answers were gone, along with all my kin."

Fifi sat silently, not knowing if she could or should believe his words.

Kirrik turned away again to the cold moon and stars.

" I took my revenge on them – that’s why you’ll never hear of the village of Woldacann. I was immortal – but had to to live among superstitious savages who were not. They would fear, hate and shun me. So I traveled, living as a mercenary. If I lived in a place too long – the gossip and fears of witchcraft would begin. So over the centuries that followed – I learned to control the healing, the regeneration of myself. I learned to change my appearance because I had to."

Fifi trembled with emotion and finally spoke, but held her eyes shut . "Vous expect moi to believe zis?" she said with tight lips.

Kirrik turned and sat next to her again and spoke softly. "I’ve never told you anything that wasn’t true, Petité. You saw the Race today – I burned up every last bit of energy in my body and crashed at over twelve hundred miles per hour."

Fifi remembered and her emotions began to tumble out of her.

"Zee Flash said you were dead!", she cried, "And ah believed heem!! Why? Why Deed You Do Zat?!"

She saw his form change and grow dark, his face widening and his eyes changing color, till the form of Lord sat next to her again, spreading his cape around her shoulders and holding her.

"Don’t cry, little one," he said in French, "Or I may just join you."

The words sounded strangely familiar and Fifi looked at him curiously.

His accustomed skunk form quieted her a bit and he spoke gently. "I have married many times, my dear. Had children, raised them, watched them grow and thrive... but I’ve also watched them age, weaken and die. No one has lasted. I’ve had ...one hundred and forty-seven children. Even more grandchildren and great grandchildren ...but they..and all my wives are gone... I learned a long time ago – that although my life cannot be destroyed – I can still be deeply hurt." He put his black-furred hand on his heart.

"Here. .. I can no longer bear to lose the ones I love. I’ve lost my heart many times and even had it given back once or twice, but I can’t bear the losses anymore. So on occasion I’ve tried to claim that which I’ve been cheated out of. An ending. Peace at last."

Fifi stood and began walking around him, trying to understand.

"Zo vous are an eemmortal being, yes?"

Lord kept his eyes on her, his head turning around, following her.

"Yes. You wouldn’t care to see me mortally wounded to prove it, would you?" he asked offhand.

Fifi stopped and glared at him. "Certainlee not!"

Lord’s head spun back like a rubber band unwinding.

"Good, I’m not into pain." he said with a dry smile. She smirked at him. "Vous know, your moods swings are driving moi crazy."

"I’m sorry. It comes from being so many people."

This caught her interest. "And ‘ow many people vous been?"

Lord sat back and recalled.

"Hmmm..in the beginning, I wasn’t adept at controlling my power to change. Everything takes time and practice.I used other forms of disguise. When I’d learned how, I would stay in one form for seventy years or so, then fake my own death and move on. I had to remain looking like a human in order to live with them. In the Middle Ages, I began experimenting with the forms of animals and lived among them. They’re so less complicated than people."

"Easier to become?"

Lord shook his head. "No, they’re nicer and more understanding. They don’t make war upon each other."

"Zo vous ave been many creatures – and men" "Yes, perhaps about four hundred of them or so." " ..And how long haz zis been going on?"

"Tonight marks a significant date", he said cheerfully, " This evening’s celebration was the anniversary of my birth night. Of course, no one knows that but you and I and Pyewaket."

"Mrrrroww" said the cat, rubbing herself against his shin.

"Thank you" Lord said to the cat.

"Vat deed she say?" Fifi asked.

"She said, "Happy third millennium."

Fifi’s jaw hit the ground and stayed like that as the realization registered.

"Petité, you’ll ruin your makeup" Lord said picking her chin up off the ground. Fifi’s eyes remained huge as she shut her mouth.

"Vous are Three Thousand years old???"

Lord looked at at his watch and said "Yup".

"Mon Dieu! Zo compared to vous – everyone eez a child!" Lord shrugged and said " Perhaps, but I really don’t like to think of my friends that way. Would you care to sit down?" Fifi ignored his invitation and resumed pacing around him.

"Vat about zee telepathy?"

"That was a fairly recent acquisition. It only began about a century ago. All of a sudden, I could hear people thinking. With a great deal of practice, I learned to send my thoughts to them. Even later, I learned to read their minds and probe their memories, but I dislike doing so – it’s an invasion of privacy – like seeing them naked: things aren’t always...attractive. Won’t you sit down?"

"But vous still do eet."

Lord’s neck was twisting ridiculously.

"Yes, when I’m working closely with someone and it proves advantageous. In acting, a producer wants everything done right the first time and he wants it done yesterday. So knowing what your partner is thinking of doing is a great advantage – communication makes things happen very quickly. That’s why Porky and Daffy and I enjoyed working together so much. They never minded the communication as Bugs did."

Lord’s neck could twist no more and his head spun crazily back to normal. "Would you please sit down??"

Fifi was taken aback and sat on the bench beside him immediately.

"Thank you!", he said as his eyes rattled about. "Now let me show you a bit of history."

Suddenly the bench began to lower into the ground like an elevator.

The section of grass and the bench with Lord, Fifi and Pyewaket moved down a steep shaft and it grew darker than it already was. Fifi’s wide eyes shone in the dark.

"Where are we going now?" she asked.

Lord’s glowing eyes blinked. "Into my underground complex. I thought you’d like to see a few things I’ve acquired."


Chapter XXXIII

The bench came to rest at the base of an elevator shaft in a titanic room. White steel walls and a concrete floor gave the place rather an industrial look. Pyewaket meowed loudly and suddenly leaped off her master’s lap and raced away down a corridor.

"Vat’s wrong weeth Pyewaket?! " Fifi asked in alarm.

"She’s hungry," groaned Lord rolling his eyes, "C’mon."

Fifi followed him around a corner and down a blue corridor. There were a multitude of doors like a floor of a hotel. At the end they turned and found the cat waiting near a small, but ultra-modern kitchen. Lord fed the cat from a small 3-D metal can. Fifi smelled the fishy scent of the cat food and began to wonder.

"Vat do you eat...eef you’re not really a toon?"

Lord looked a bit embarrassed and shrugged. "I have to eat real food, although I can survive without it. Eating is a hard habit to break! When I’m hungry I take my meals privately. Come with me, I’ve a few things to show you."

Leaving Pyewaket to eat in peace, Fifi followed behind Lord’s billowing cape as he strode through the corridors. She felt a little like a stormtrooper following in Darth Vader’s footsteps. They reached the center of the hall, when Lord turned to face the steel-lined wall. Fifi was mystified as he stared at the wall..and surprised when it opened before him.

They walked into a secret treasure trove. Antiques of every description lay cataloged on large metal shelves. Fifi saw ancient weapons, maps of parchment, suits of armor, Etruscan, Greek and Roman vases. There were beautiful Roman frescoes and mosaics, paintings centuries old, superb white marble statues, a Greek siege catapult, and glass cases of military uniforms dating back to the dawn of Man – and all of it was real – as 3-D as Pyewaket’s can of cat food.

Fifi was spellbound by it all and didn’t know what to look at first. She was drawn to a painting of Red Hot across the room on an easel and crossed to look at it. Lord followed and sat on high stool before the unfinished picture. Fifi saw the oils and brushes and that the background was incomplete. She sat nearby on a fifteenth century gilded throne to get a better look. She watched Lord stare sadly at the portrait and pick up the brush. He silently began filling in the details of the pale green trees behind the figure. Fifi picked up a beautiful, enameled German music box and opened it. Tiny mechanical, jeweled figures began to dance and twirl in circles – their movements like an enchanted fairyland. The music box began to play a lovely tune in the silence. Fifi watched the tiny statuettes spin inside the box. Lord hummed the tune as he put little dots of paint as leaves on the painting.

"What’s zat song?" Fifi asked.

Lord was silent a moment and didn’t look up from his brushwork.

"It’s..."Muss i Den" ..it’s a German song", he said quietly, "It’s about a man who must leave his sweetheart.to go away. And he’s promising to return."

He put his paintbrush down, but continued looking at his painting of his wife.

"It’s always sung by German sailors..when they leave port to go to sea."

Fifi saw the sorrow rising within him and closed the box, shutting off the song. Lord’s chin lowered and he wiped his eyes on the white cravat at his throat. She stood at his shoulder.

"Pavel –?.. uh, ..ah dunno what to call tu now" she said gently.

Lord sniffed and said "..I kind of liked it when you called me Pavel."

Fifi put a comforting hand on his shoulder. "Pavel? Why deed tu come to ze Tooniverse?"

Lord cleared his throat and told her,

" I was tired of having to change in order to fit in. I heard of the early nickelodeons and black and white cartoons. I heard it was from a real place. A place where toons lived on laughter or at least for a very, very long time without changing or growing old. A place with no wars or real people to fight and where no one died. I knew I could reach it – that through the drawing board, I could go there – perhaps even to live there. I changed into my present form and came here in 1920."

"And tu found your wife."

Lord smiled as he recalled it.

"I found a new life! Where I could fit in, where I could stop fighting and running – and rest. I met the most wonderful woman in the world...and she’d always be there! Always and forever!....." Tears filled his eyes as he spoke. His cheeks were flushed.

"But then the War came again! I couldn’t let my old world perish or loose all it’s freedom to fascism..so I helped them to ..stop it. ...And after I helped save their world...their stupid arbitrary decision took away everything I had!!"

He turned his face away looking to hide his anger and the tears that fell and soaked into his velvet lapels. His face twisted as he couldn’t find a place to conceal his weeping eyes and savagely turned away as Fifi tried to calm him. The easel tipped and the painting fell. Lord almost dove after it, but Fifi caught it with her soft, plume-like tail. Quietly, she handed it back to the grieving skunk, who stared back at her as in a moment of personal epiphany.

"Eetz alright..." she said carefully.

Lord gulped back his sadness, but went on.

"I have to tell you, Petité! Forgive me, but I must tell you the rest!"

"Eetz alright" she repeated, helping him to sit again.

Lord shook his head tragically and took her hands in his.

"When I lost her – I lost my mind...I had to have someone to be with forever.. "

"But tu had zee Time Machine, yes?,"Fifi asked confused, "Tu could go back and save her!"

He shook his head pitifully.

"No...Why do you think I built it in the first place?" he said. "I had two obsessions – one was to get her back. I labored for decades to make the machine work. And it finally did! .....But I can’t break the Time-stream! I tried! And I tried and I tried and I tried!! I lived my days with her over and over and over and I can’t save her!!!"

Fifi felt the pain in his voice and felt it as her own.

"Ah understand! ...Tu can’t bring her back anymore zen I can bring back mah parentz. Mah Grandperé tried to save mah Father. But he aged – when toons should not age! Ze same happened to mah Mama! Grandpere tried everytheeng he knew, werked day and night to save her!..Eet deed no good."

Lord’s face fell, but he held it in place and turned away. Fifi didn’t understand. Lord spoke gravely.

"I know..what your Grandfather did. ..I was there."

Fifi was astounded and pressed him with questions. "Tu were!?..Eez zat why tu were at Mama’s funeral??"

Lord slowly turned to face her, a look of guilt on his face.

"My second obsession was to bring into being another immortal like myself."

"Tu mean – make someone like Docteur Frankenstein?!"

"No, of course not!" he exclaimed, "I searched the world’s genetic files for someone with a DNA pattern close to mine. And I found a precious few."

"Tu mean you found ozzer immortals?" she asked.

"No.. There never were any others. I spent millennia searching for them and never found another! I was condemned to be alone – forever! ..But, I’d found some who were close."

He spoke tensely, like a man obsessed.

"I sought them out. They were of two good families.... But I learned the reason why most of my children had died – It was the genetic code – unless it was almost exactly like mine –the children would survive as immortals!.. If it was but only mostly like my code – the children would have short life spans and prematurely age. So unless things were correct – my children would not live long into adulthood. ...The gamble would be dangerous, indeed."

Fifi drew back from him. "Vat deed you do?" she asked quietly.

Lord spoke quickly. "I linked my mind with the woman. She was already showing signs of age and I told her of my plan. She understood, thank Heaven. She consented to marry me and bear my child. I vowed to try to save her life or prolong it, with every power I had. She was a wonderful giving person and I devoted myself to save her life. ..In time, our child was born."

Fifi had read about how marriages used to be arranged in olden times, but had never actually heard of a real one and was disturbed.

"Deed your gamble pay off?" she asked cautiously.

Lord only shook his head and closed his eyes.

"No... my daughter... lacked one gene ..it was all that was missing."

Fifi saw his heart sink into depression and felt the same for him. "So tu gave up trying?"

"No..", he said in a hushed voice, "I’d vowed to find something to help them and I partially succeeded. An enzyme present in my body could and did help them to survive longer than they would have. So I threw all my energies into preserving my wife and daughter. I linked with both their minds – we shared our thoughts and feelings as no family had before! As the years went by I grew certain that they would live. Twenty years past and my daughter met a handsome older fellow. They fell deeply in love. Naturally I was curious about him – you don’t just marry your daughter to anyone! ...and to my complete surprise – I found that he was of that same rare breed. I tested him and found that he possessed the one special missing gene that my wife and daughter lacked! "

"Zo you let zem be married – knowing he would not live long either?"

Lord was humbled by her words. "I could not refuse my child’s happiness... I loved her – I loved all of them – right or wrong – I loved my children!"

The purple skunkette sat back down and opened the music box. The tiny figures spun like dolls. "Muss i Denn" began to play.

"And did zey have children?"

Lord froze at her tone. For the first time, Fifi saw fear in Lord’s eyes.

"Yes" he whispered carefully, "But the first was a genetic mismatch...It’s DNA was completely normal...unlike it’s parents. That’s when the trouble began."

The child-like music rang loudly,but began to slow down.

"What trouble?" asked Fifi breathlessly.

Lord"s eyes looked at the floor, his head moved nervously.

" My enzyme was no longer effective on my family. Their bodies had grown too used to it – they began to age again. But they all knew of me – my immortality ... and my beloved son and daughter decided to try... one more time."

Fifi trembled as her fears took hold. She carefully closed the music box and put it down. The room was silent except for the sound of their anxious breathing.

"Tell moi..." she whispered, almost certain. Lord nervously rubbed his fingertips together and cautiously knelt before her. His hand shook as he brought it up to delicately place it on Fifi’s left cheek, temple and forehead.

"Gaze deeply into my eyes".

Her eyes locked with his, blinking as sweat formed on both their foreheads. She felt his quivering touch and she raised her fingertips cautiously touching his face, copying his actions. They blinked uncertainly between their fingers. The trance began as their eyes closed as one.

{ES #7 – "Ice Dance"}

Art by Leloni Bunny

Fifi saw an operating room and heard herself playing a magical, ethereal song in her mind – It was the most beautiful piece of music she’d ever heard. Wordless voices sang like angels. Something was cradled in her rubber-gloved hands and she looked upon the most perfect newborn baby skunk. The baby was plump and cute and adorned with purple and white fur. Her large tail curled over her little legs and she peeped shyly from behind the tip of it. Her large dark purple eyes looked innocently .

"She’s beautiful, Josephine!" she said in French, "Just like her mother!" She looked upon her lovely young mother’s face, streaked with the sweat of having just given birth.

"Oh, she’s perfect!" said her mother joyfully as the baby was gently placed into her arms, "And she’s purple like me! Francois! Look at our child!"

Fifi saw her father standing at her Mother’s side. He was handsome and black and white, his wide smile underlining his glasses. He leaned in and kissed his wife adoringly.

"I’m so proud of you, darling!" he whispered lovingly, "We’ll name her after you."

"My nickname? "her mother asked," Yes!"

They both held the baby skunkette and snuggled her.

"My little Fifi," said her mother happily trying the name. The baby cooed softly as she was put in Fifi’s arms and Fifi turned to look at the changing table where clean linens and sterile cleaning wipes sat waiting. The music built to a miraculous moment and Fifi felt something close around her pinkie. She looked and beheld the child holding her finger in it’s tiny hands. On the baby’s dimpled face was a smile – a real smile! A learned behavior! Her eyes shone with recognition – with knowledge!

"My God!" exclaimed Fifi in awe, "She’s the One!!" She felt tears of joy fill her eyes and run down her furry cheeks as she looked upon the child’s glowing expression.

"At long last – She is the One!! Thank Heaven!"

"It’s true!" said her mother, beaming with pride.

"Join us all now" said her father putting a hand under the baby.

"Yes, link us all together" her mother asked.

She saw her gloved hands join that of her parents, as they drew close together over the child. The baby stared back with wide eyes as the family held each other.

"Welcome to our lives, little one," she said, "You’ll never be alone."

A soft purple light embraced them all, curling around the amazed baby, who smiled and laughed as the purple light enveloped the family like a warm downy blanket of love.

The contact ended. Fifi looked into Lord’s tear-filled eyes and felt her own eyes brimming with the same joyful tears. Their hands trembled as they moved apart.

Fifi’s ears felt like they were burning.


Lord’s eyes smiled. Then they were turning gray – as was his fur. He seemed to shrink. His muzzle grew short and white. Bifocals perched on his nose and an old brown suit covered his aged frame.

"...Grandperé Putois!..." she said in astonishment her eyes as big as saucers.

Her grandfather smiled with Lord’s smile.

"Don’t cry, my little one", the old skunk said, "Or I just may join you."

Fifi and her Grandfather embraced each other with a warmth she hadn’t felt in many a year. He patted her head and she kissed him with all the joy she had to give. Then...

Fifi drew back as it hit her! She realized the implications and turned for the door. The old skunk stood and began to follow her. She spun at the door and her look of horror froze him where he was.

"Does zis mean zat I am???" she sobbed.

Her grandfather ‘s paws pleaded with her, but ...

"...Yes...it does..."

Putois changed before her eyes again into the form of Dr.Lord.

"Forgive me, Petité!!"

All that was heard was the sounds of her heels running up the corridor as she cried and then the sound of the elevator, lifting the park bench up and out of the complex.


Look for the next Chapters of –


coming to you soon.