Chapter Forty-one: HostagesEdit

Brian grunted as the two henchmen, Bill and Godfrey, forced them into their car. "Now you three is gonna listen to us," Godfrey said in a tough, gangster voice. "Youze is gonna kill that daddy of yours, 'cause he's a threat to the nation! Then you're gonna help us get the rest of these monsters! Understand?"

"Sure," said Grandma Harper. "Now let's get on with it!"

"You don't sound very reluctant," said Bill sarcastically.

"Of course we are!" said Audrey, angrily. "But there's nothing we can do about it, so we might as well get it over with!"

"That's the idea!" said Godfrey, as the car pulled out of garage of Shimming's makeshift hideout in the Porcupine Mountains. A thick blanket of snow lay on the ground, which slowed the car's progress significantly. But that wasn't the only reason. As the vehicle rumbled through the silent forest, a pair of hideous eyes gleamed, watching its progress.

Suddenly, there was a loud thump overhead as something landed on top of the car. "What the..." exclaimed Bill, as claws began to dig through the top. "IT'S A WEREBEAST!" shouted Godfrey, reaching for his gun. "Don't let him through!" The top of the car began to rip away. Godfrey shot several rounds through his gun. There was a horrible shriek, then a gurgle. Then a limp body fell from the top into the snow.

The two got out to look at it. "Wolverine," said Godfrey. "That's disgusting!"

"Wonder where he came from," said Bill.

But the creature wasn't dead yet. As Bill was looking at its wound, its eyes flashed once more. It grabbed at his leg with its claws and managed to attach its mouth to the leg before being shot again. "YOWCH!" shouted Bill, looking at the teeth sunk into his skin. "Get it offa me!"

"Hold your horses," said Godfrey, grabbing the head and loosening the jaw. Suddenly he stopped. "Wait a minute," he said, looking at his partner. "That were-animal just bit you! You're one of them!" For a moment there was silence, as his partner looked at him in horror. "You're not going to—!"

"It's neccessary," said Godfrey unemotionally, drawing his gun and firing. Bill fell dead on the snow, blood flowing from the wound in his chest and the bite on his shoulder, a shocked look on his face.

"You monster!" cried Audrey, horrified. "You've killed a human, and your own partner nonetheless!"

"It's my job to get every single werebeast that comes along," said Godfrey.

"He was still human!" shouted Margaret furiously. "You're more of a monster than any of them would ever be!"

Without so much as a reply, Godfrey got back into the driver's seat and continued down into lower Michigan. But the three in the back had a plan.

Chapter Forty-two: The Cat ReturnsEdit

"Well, Henry," said Carol Jennings to her husband, "We've finally developed that vaccine, but we've spent about fifty-thousand doing it."

Henry shook his head. "That's outrageous," he said. "But at least it's done. When do we start administering it?"

"As soon as possible," said Carol. "We still have to perfect it. But that virus is continuing to spread all the time. There's no telling when it might end up overseas. Then we'd really have a mess!"

"And, of course," added Dr. Henry Jennings, "There's this confounded Alliance which thinks that all these were-creatures are a threat to civilization and are killing everyone they suspect of being one! How are we going to deal with them?"

"The military will take care of them," said Corporal O'Grady, coming into the rooom. "We still have to figure out where their chief, Deman Shimmings is. We have one of them in custody, but so far he refuses to tell us anything. We may have to resort to extreme measures soon."

"Like what?" asked Carol.

"Like administering the virus to him," answered the man grimly. "Perhaps it would at least motivate him to talk."

The two doctors looked at each other. "Isn't there another way?" asked Henry.

"I'm afraid not," the corporal replied gravely. "Killing him wouldn't do much good, because we still wouldn't have the information we need."

"So how would this be any better?" asked Carol.

"His own men would be against him," answered the corporal. "And of course, he would know where they are in his subconcious, so he would perhaps lead us right to them."

"That might work," said Henry. "But it doesn't help us clean up this virus any faster."

"No, but it will remove one obstacle. If we can do that, we can get to capturing the virus faster."

Chapter Forty-three: The FlyEdit

Peter O'Henry, best known as Pete, had run the O'Henry Candy Company in Penmount for most of his life. He was satisfied with it, especially since, being a family business, it had freed him from having to go to college and having to be a doctor or lawyer (he despised both). But today his business would virtually collapse on him. It started with the monster that he spotted outside his window at midday.

The Fly peered into the candy shop through its compound eyes. It could see the sweets heaped in the window, and could smell the rich, delicious scents that wafted under the door. An immense hunger filled it.

Smith could no longer eat food the normal way; it had to inject a strong enzyme into the food to dissolve it, and then sucked it through its straw-like mouth. Nonetheless, it did not in any way detract from the flavor (at least to him). At any rate, he could eat a lot now, due to a fly's immense appetite, combined with his immense appetite.

The deformed creature broke down the door with its enhanced insect strength and stumbled into the shop. Peter, the owner, looked in terror at it in terror. The monster looked back at him, its mouthparts moving grotesquely. Strong, acidic saliva dripped from them and fell to the tiled floor, causing a slight corrosion. A horrible gurgle came from the beast as it observed the chocolates underneath the counter.

"Get out of here, you monster!" shouted Pete. He knew about the were-creatures, so it didn't come as much of a surprise to him. But as he hadn't seen one yet, the appearance horrified him. Suddenly, a siren was heard, and then a police cruiser pulled up in front of the shop.

The creature seemed to sense their presence, and rushed to the back of the store. Pete was about to go after it with a broom, but then an officer burst in the door. "Where'd that thing go?" he asked commandingly.

"He's over there!" shouted Pete, pointing to where the Fly was examining the bulk section. "Stop him!" Already several bins had been overturned, their contents spilled all over the floor. Officer Ernie Morris slowly approached it, raising a special gun with a dart affixed to it. The creature paid no attention to him, as it was busy sucking up a disgusting-looking brown puddle on the floor, the remains of some seafoam.

However, its compound vision allowed it to see him from off to the side. It whirled around as he approached. "Easy now," said Officer Morris. "We're going to give you a little dose of this sedative. Come on..."

Suddenly, the fly leaped at him, knocking him to the floor. O'Henry jumped over the countertop, grabbed one of his large metal spoons and ran over to where the Fly was and began beating it on the head. Finally, it fell limply to the floor.

But it was too late. A large bite was visible on Officer Morris' cheek.

"Okay, get the Rat, I'll take care of the other monster!" shouted Samuels, pointing at Chaleen.

"Shouldn't we have the gun?" a doctor asked him. Samuels tossed it over to him as the others ran out of the room.

However, it was only once the others were gone that Samuels realized he was outnumbered and unarmed. Samantha thew a heavy machine at him that knocked him on the floor and Chaleen tied him up with an I.V. tube. Samuels screamed for help, but he couldn't be heard over the sounds of the giant Rat.

"Let's get out of here," Chaleen told her mother. "I hate those were-rats."

As they made for the door, Samantha suddenly found herself face to face with the demon itself. Its claws were bloody, and the remains of the other doctor in the hall under its feet.

"AAIIIEEEE!" she screamed, jumping backwards. The Rat came in after her. Then Chaleen got an idea. The open window was right behind her, so she pushed her mother out of the way and started taunting the creature.

"Come on, come get me!" she said, slowly backing towards the window. Then she jumped out the window and grabbed a tree limb. The rest of the hospital staff ran into the room.

"Let's hope the monsters destroy each other!" a nurse shouted as the Rat climbed into the tree after Chaleen.

However, Chaleen made it to the center of the tree, while the limb was too heavy to support the giant Rat and broke, sending the Rat to the ground.

"Good," said a female doctor, raising the gun, "that's one monster down." Samantha pushed the doctor to the wall and wrestled the gun from her.

"Catch!" she shouted, tossing the gun to Chaleen. She didn't throw it far enough, however, and the gun fell to the ground in front of the tree. As the hospital staff ran for her, Samantha jumped out the window and landed on the ground ten feet below, where she immediately grabbed the gun.

"Get down there now!" Samuels shouted at them. "And get more weapons; that blasted woman has my gun!"

The Rat, however, was not dead. As soon as it saw Samantha, it leaped up and lunged at her. She fired several times, and the beast fell. "Chaleen!" she shouted up to the tree. "Get down! Hurry!"

Chaleen took a flying leap and landed next to Samantha, narrowly missing a gunshot. Samuels looked out of the window at the two fleeing women. "After them!" he shouted furiously, waving his arms. Suddenly, however, the air was filled with a buzzing, and then the snow began to swirl around in drifts. "Oh, doggone it!" cursed Samuels as a police helicopter came into view. He quickly dissappeared inside the building.

"Stay where you are," boomed the loudspeaker on the helicopter. "We have the building surrounded. Do not try to escape, or you will be shot!" Samuels dared to peek out of the window, but Chaleen and Samantha were out of sight. Then the door burst open, and two police officers came in. "Hands up, Samuels," one said gruffly. "You're under arrest. We know what you've been doing."

Samuels cursed silently as he allowed himself to be led out into a cruiser.

Chapter Forty-four: ExperimentationEdit

James Harper opened the door to the experimentation room. Several scientists were experimenting with a new kind of ultraviolet radiation emitter, which they hoped could be used as a safe alternative to tanning booths. It had been a long night for him, in which the general had questioned him about Shimmings and the Alliance and any possible clues as to the whereabouts of the mad doctor's location. Harper hadn't been able to tell him that much, unfortunately.

One of the scientists in the room, Paul Dean, saw James standing in the doorway. "Ah, Dr. Harper," he said warmly. "Come on in. We'd like to hear your opinion as a physician. Would this be safer than a tanning booth?"

James walked over to the round, ball-shaped mass of wires and generators. "Looks pretty safe," he said, examining it. "I've never seen anything like it, except for gamma. Has it been tested?"

"No," said Dr. Dean. "We're just about to do that now. We'd like you to help supervise. Stand clear, though. No telling what may happen!"

He motioned to a technician standing nearby, and the man flipped several switches on a board. "All right, behind the glass shield!" said Paul, running for the shield standing a safe distance from the generator. Suddenly, there was an alarm, and then an electronic board displayed "Danger: Overload". Dr. Harper looked up, just as the machine exploded and sent lethal radiation everywhere. Then all he saw was blackness.

General Stuart suddenly heard a commotion outside his office. "What the #$^%#$#!!! is going on now?!" he thundered, opening the door. As if in answer to his question, a soldier was thrown past the doorway and into the far wall. Stuart looked in the direction the man had come from, and saw something horrible. A monstrous cat-like creature, human-sized and standing on two legs, was making its way down the corridor.

"Dr. Harper!" he shouted. "How did you—" He ducked into his office as the monster threw a table down the hallway. He closed the door quickly and pushed against it, while grabbing his radio.

"Captain!" he shouted into the radio. "Marone, what the heck's goin' on? How did Harper change into that cat again?!"

"We were testing the new UV radiation output device," said Marone, breathing hard. "Something went wrong; I think it was a glitch. Anyway, Harper got too much radiation and I think it activated the virus again!" The door shook as the monster started pushing against it.

"Listen Marone," he shouted, "Tranquilize him! Get him away from my office! Is there any cure available?"

There was a thud outside the door, followed by some shouting and footsteps. "The last I heard," said Marone, "The nearest place where we can get some is the St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Rapids."

"Get him there!" said Stuart, angrily. "And from now on, he stays away from those UV rays! Get it?"

"Yes, sir," said Marone, hanging up.

Stuart dared to open the door a crack. The monster was lying face down on the floor, a dart in its neck. Two soldiers were standing over it. "We got him, sir," they said.

"Good," said the general. "Now get him onto the helicopter." Suddenly, his radio buzzed. "Hello?" he said irritatedly.

Picture 015

Dr. Harper becomes the cat again.

"Sir? General?" said a voice. "This is Colonel Hendersen. Listen, that fellow Blake Jones is with the Alliance!" Stuart swore and banged his fist on the wall. "Idiot that I was!" he said silently. "What's he done to McPherson and Montgomery?"

"They're fine now," the colonel said, "But Blake was on the verge of shooting them. He already killed Andrews."

"WHAT?!!" Stuart yelled. "How could he?"

"He did," said the colonel. "We've got him in custody right now!"

"Listen, Colonel," said the general, "Is there any word on James' family?"

"They're with the Alliance," said Hendersen. "But we're not sure whether or not they're alive."

At those words, the cat suddenly seemed to wake up. The three stood back as the creature's eyes flashed. "That's funny," said one of the soldiers. "They're supposed to last longer than that!"

"Don't you have any more?" demanded Stuart.

"No," said the soldier.

"Well run back and get one! Hurry, before Harper fully revives!"

But it was too late for that. The cat was fully revived now; the dart had contained a weak sedative, not strong enough to keep the Bobcat sedated for long. The animal jumped out and looked around, then charged down the hallway.

"After him!" shouted General Stuart, pursuing the creature. But it was too late. The beast jumped through the window at the end and onto the fire escape.

Chapter Forty-five: The MinotaurEdit

Blake Jones sat sullenly in cell number twenty-four, the same that had held Chaleen Bright several days ago. He heard footsteps, and two men approached. One of them was Hendersen, the other was Montgomery. "Listen Jones," said the colonel as they reached the cell, "There's several things we could do with you as a punishment for your crimes."

"WHAT CRIMES?" shouted Blake, jumping up and running to the bars. "Protecting the innocent civilians of our country?"

"Murdering a human," said Hendersen. "Don't give me any of your nonsense; you're not helping one bit by killing every were-animal you come across. If you all really wanted to be useful, you'd help us isolate the virus."

"You've also vandalized several people's homes," said Montgomery, "Including mine. I could sue you big-time!" Jones hissed through his teeth.

"Now, Mr. Jones," said the colonel, "You have two options. You can either tell us where Dr. Harper's family is and get free of this cell to a better one, or you can refuse. If you do, well, just have a look at this!" He pulled a small syringe with a needle on it out of his pocket. "This is a serum containing bull's blood," he explained. "The bull was shot because the owner thought it had mad cow disease. Incidentally, it had something even worse: the were-virus!"

Blake sat silently as Hendersen continued. "It's simple: cooperate, and you can serve your sentence in a better cell. Or, you can be quiet and recieve a little injection with this syringe. Your own organization will kill you if they find you!"

Jones sat still for a moment, unsure of what to do. Finally, he said, "And you think that would help you find what you're looking for?"

"It might," said Hendersen, rather confidently. "But that's not the point. You would become one of the were-creatures that you hate! It would be a suitable punishment for your crimes, but nonetheless..."

Montgomery opened the door, and the two entered the cell. Blake refused to look at either of them. Hendersen stood in front of him. "I think you should have made your choice by now," he said. "You know what will happen. So, what will it be, Mr. Jones?"

The two waited for an answer, but Blake said nothing. After about five minutes, the colonel made a decision. "Mr. Jones," he said, "We'll give you an hour to think it over. If you haven't made a decision by then, then you will be punished as if you had chosen not to speak." He and Montgomery made for the door, but then Blake spoke up. "Fine then!" he said. "Give me the serum! You'll never find out where the Harpers are!"

Hendersen looked him in the eye. "So be it!"

Picture 018

The Werewolf strikes again!

The wilderness around Detroit was still in the soft moonlight. But not for long. Soon, a loud howl was heard, and then a huge beast came into a moonlit clearing. Two soldiers were waiting. "There he is!" one whispered exitedly. "D'you have the dart ready?"

"Yep," answered his companion. "Here he comes!"

The monstrous werewolf approached the hideout, sniffing a human scent on the air. It growled. "All right," whispered Corporal O'Neil, "Fire!"

Seargent Holmes pulled the trigger, and the dart flew through the cold air and lodged itself in the monster's chest, allowing the cure inside it to flow throughout the creature's bloodstream. Jackson howled in pain, but soon succombed to the sedative that had been added to the fluid, and after staggering about for a few minutes, toppled to the snow.

"We've got him," said O'Neil exitedly. "In a few hours, he'll be back to normal. Now let's get him back to the base!"

Chapter Forty-six: Roadside encounterEdit

The truck rumbled on through the growing winter storm. Godfrey was in the front rambling silently to himself about something, when suddenly Brian leaped forward and gave him a vicious karate chop on the side of the neck. The man gasped in shock, then fell forward as the blood to his brain was temporarily cut off. Then Brian jumped into the front and pushed on the brakes. Once the truck was stopped, the three got out and dragged Godfrey to the back. They had managed to get free of their ropes via Bill's knife, and so they tied Godfrey up with them and laid him in the back. Then Brian took over driving.

"We're going back to Penmount," he said, steering it back north. "Then we're going to catch a flight over to Detroit. I can't believe he was going to try and go there in this truck."

"I wonder how McPherson and Ranger Montgomery are?" Audrey inquired.

"I just hope Blake hasn't managed to kill them yet," said Margaret worriedly in the back seat.

"Brian! Stop!" cried Audrey, suddenly jumping up. "There's something ahead!"

Brian stopped the vehicle and the two got out. A small child lay in the snow, but what a child! It was covered in an as-of-yet scant layer of brown fur, it's eyes were large and almost completely black, and as it gave a cry the two could see that its mouth was full of sharp teeth.

"It's another wolverine!" gasped Brian, stepping back. "It must be related to the one that Godfrey murdered. Come on, we can't let that thing in the car."

"Brian!" Audrey glared at him. "It's still human! We can't leave it here to freeze to death!"

Brian sighed and bent down. The little creature stared up at him, but didn't try to attack. "It's just a baby," he said. "I guess we can take it. But you and Grandma will have to take care of him." Audrey nodded, taking the small were-creature from him.

Large bull

Blake Jones as the minotaur.

Montgomery, McPherson and Colonel Hendersen watched as the change came over the sedated criminal. Stiff, brown hairs were growing all over his body, which was getting progressively larger and more muscular. Soon, two horns were visible growing from the sides of the head.

Muscles rippled from the chest and arms of the creature now, and its shoulders had grown to at least three times their original size. "Good heavens!" exclaimed McPherson. "Look at that! It's like a minotaur!"

"I guess we'll have to build a labyrinth around him to keep him from getting out," remarked Colonel Hendersen.

Suddenly, the creature's beady black eyes opened, and then it let out a loud, earthshaking bellow that nearly sent the whole building down. The three covered their ears. Finally, the creature was finished, and now set about examining its mutated features. Saliva dripped from its mouth as it looked at its monstrous hands, and the feet which were now very hoof-like.

"He's gonna break out!" exclaimed Montgomery, backing away.

"'Course he isn't!" said Hendersen, pulling him back. "What do you think these bars were made for?"

"Not super-strong bull-men, that's for sure!" said McPherson.

And it was true. None of the Rats had ever been strong enough, but now even Hendersen began to doubt the stability of the steel bars against the huge hulk that was now advancing toward them, snorting and growling.

Without hesitation, the monster took hold of the bars and twisted them out of shape, then snapping them off. "I hate being right in things like this," said Montgomery and McPherson simultaneously, before dashing off down the dark corridor with Hendersen right behind. "RUN YOU FOOLS RUN!" shouted Hendersen, looking back to see the huge minotaur stepping through the gap it had made. "Get outta here!"

Fast as he was, however, Hendersen could not outrun the Bull. It took a flying leap with its powerful hind legs and landed right on top of him, sending the life from him immediately. Seeing him dead, the hungry minotaur began to devour him. Montgomery and McPherson didn't turn around to see.

Chapter Forty-seven: The SpiderEdit

In its subconcious mind, images of Brian, Audrey and Margaret were flashing through the Bobcat's mind. Now, as it made its way through a dark alley through the bad section of Detroit, a couple of thugs spotted him. Incidentally, these thugs were members of the Alliance.

"Hey! It's that cat!" said one quietly. "It's Dr. Harper! C'mon, guys, let's get him!"

The group, which consisted of three men and two women, silently followed the beast into the alley.

But the Bobcat could hear their footsteps. It quickly crouched into a low doorway and waited. One lone man came into the alley, carrying a gun. His companions had split up, going around to the other end of the old building.

The Cat waited in the doorway until the man came past, his gun in the air. Then the creature pounced quickly, taking him out with a bite to the throat. "There he is!" shouted one of the woman from the other end. "Shoot him!" The Cat whirled around to face her and another man who had joined her. It arched its large back and hissed loudly, narrowing its pupils to slits.

BANG! BANG! Two gunshots rang out. The Cat dodged out of the way, back into the doorway. Suddenly, the door opened, sending James tumbling down a dark stairway.

The Cat leaped up as soon as it hit the bottom. Surrounding it were several soldiers. One of them had a gun with a dart attached. The dart flew and stuck in the monster's leg, followed by a roar of pain. The Bobcat scratched at the dart, but couldn't get it out. "It's gonna stay there until it's empty," said one of the soldiers to another.

Soon, the Cat became slower, and then after a few minutes fell to the ground in a heap. "That sedative was triple the strength," said Captain Marone, emerging from the group. "C'mon, boys, let's get him to the hospital!"

Outside, the three Alliance members were being rounded into the army helicopter. Captain Marone eyed them. "Is this all?" he asked the pilot of the chopper.

"No, sir," the man replied, "They said they had friends. But we're not sure where they are."

Marone sighed. "Well, they'll do for now. Come on, let's get Harper out of here."

Chaleen and Samantha watched as the helicopter dissappeared from view over a tall building. They had not been able to get to it in time to be rescued.

"Great," said Samantha. "I'll bet this area's just crawling with those Alliance dickweeds!"

"No kidding," said Chaleen, for once without the high-pitched giggly voice. "C'mon, let's get outta here. There's a bus stop not too far away."

As the two hurried down the sidewalk, they were unaware that they were being observed. A dark shadow in the form of a monstrous arachnid fell across the empty backstreet in the afternoon light.

Two Alliance members were following the pair. One was a tall and bearded, the other was short and stocky. "The fools," said the tall man. "They're walking straight into our trap!"

The short one gave a low chuckle. "Our friends are waiting for them over there," he said. "They don't want to join us, then they're dead!"

Suddenly, without warning, something pounced on them from behind. Neither of them ever knew what had happened, because their deaths were quick and the beast had devoured them within the space of a few minutes.

Looking up, a hideous spider-like monster watched the two Brights as they reached the bus stop. It gave a horrible gurgle and then darted up one of the webs it had spun across the street. No one saw it as it made its way to the top of a deserted office building overlooking the small side street.

The two Brights made it to the bus stop, but were shocked to see four women and two men with guns suddenly surround it. One of them stepped forward; it was the female doctor with whom Samantha had struggled. "I'll bet you thought you were off scot-free," she said with a smirk. "Not anymore!" She signalled to the rest of the people, and the prepared to pull the triggers.

Suddenly, however, a strange netted rope-like object descended on them from above, covering them and the bus stop. It was white and sticky, rather like a giant spider web.

Then the monster itself came crawling down a strand onto the net. It was the most horrible creature Chaleen or Samantha had ever seen; it was covered in a black skin with little hairs all over it, it had at least six hideous eyes and three thin, long black arms with claws on the end. It had no obvious mouth, but a syringe-like structure that extended down from the bottom of its head, obviously for sucking up the remains of digested food.

"It's a were-creature!" shouted the doctor. But none of them could move; the web was too strong and sticky. "HELP!" two of them shouted.

The Spider jumped on the head of the doctor, and then jabbed it with its needle-like mouth. She screamed, but then suddenly she went limp. Chaleen watched in horrified fascination as the woman turned a ghostly white, and then as her whole body began to shrivel. "Her internal organs are dissolving!" exclaimed Samantha to the horrified group.

Finally, the monster had waited long enough, and injected its mouth in the shoulder of the corpse. Samantha and Chaleen turned away, horrified and disgusted, as the diabolical creature sucked out the juice from the shrivelled shell that had once been the skin.

Chapter Forty-eight: ReunionEdit

The car pulled into the parking lot of the small Penmount airport. There were no large passenger jets here; most of the aircraft were small, one or two person planes with just enough room for luggage. Luckily, Brian knew several of the pilots here, and it was on one of them that Margaret had been able to fly in on.

Brian, Audrey and their grandmother entered the hanger, where they saw one of the pilots, Eddie Morris. Morris looked exasperated. "Hey Brian," he said, out of breath. "I hope you're not looking for a flight right now."

"As a matter of fact, we are!" said Brian. "What's the matter? You look all out of sorts!"

"I just found out that my brother Ernie's been bitten by one of those doggone were-creatures," said Eddie, slapping his knee.

"Not Officer Morris!" said Brian. Officer Ernie Morris had been a good friend of their family, as one of McPherson's superiors. "I can't believe it!"

"Neither can I," said Eddie, almost tearfully. "I just hope they can get him cured before that dad-blasted Alliance finds out."

"I don't really think they need to find out," said Audrey. "They'll kill anyone they suspect of carrying the virus."

"Well," said Ernie, "If they so much as touch my brother, I'll have their heads on silver platters, dang it! Anyway, I can't get my plane to start right now; the weather's too cold. You'll have to wait for another day."

Just then, Brian's cell phone rang. He answered. "Hello?"

"Brian Harper? Is this you?" It was Monty.

"Monty!" exclaimed Brian. "Where are you? How are you?"

"We just barely escaped a horrible death," said the ranger. "Anyway, we just found out from General Stuart that your dad just changed back into a werecat again!"

Brian's heart sank. "How could that happen?"

"He got a big overdose of UV rays," Montgomery answered. "Anyway, they managed to get him to the nearest hospital with a cure. You're going to have to get to the St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Rapids as fast as you can."

"But there's no plane available!" replied Brian, his face a model of horror. "How are we going to get there?"

Eddie looked at his own plane and then back at the trio. "Well, I guess I'll just have to try it," he said urgently, "Considering the weight of the situation."

"Never mind, Monty," said Brian. "We've got ourselves a ride. Thanks for your help." He hung up the cell phone.

"So, how are you going to start it?" asked Grandma Marge. Eddie looked at his Cessna 177 for a couple moments. He hadn't flown it in over two years.

"With great difficulty," he said eventually.

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