A better ED - Special Halloween story
Story by Evil Doodles

Doodles nervously entered the dark and chemical-loaded Bobby Room, searching for Keeno. "Y-you asked for m-me, Keeno?"

The chemist looked up from his work and smiled. "Yes. Hello, Doodles. Would you please come over here?"

The short hoop-head carefully stepped down the staircase, his only guide in the darkness some glowing substances in beakers next to the Bobby Machine.

"Why is it so dark in here?" he timidly asked.

"Sorry. Some of those mixtures I have here are photosensitive and would lose their special properties in the light."

Doodles, now standing in front of his fellow Hoodian, blinked. "Um... whatever you say, Keeno."

"Well now..." began the chemist, picking one of the glowy beakers with a red liquid, "I think I finally found something that might help you with... ED."

Doodles, who had focused questioningly on the beaker, looked abruptly up at Keeno. "With ED? You can heal me? HOW??"

Keeno took the beaker into both hands while explaining: "Well... I can't really HEAL you from him, but I think I found something that might let you control him better."

He paused, waiting for a comment from Doodles, but the hoop-head just stared hopefully at him.

He continued: "You never have managed to get rid of ED again since the incidence with Hoborg's crown, right?"

Doodles just shook his head sadly.

"But since your first mutation into him it has become... better, yes? You CAN control him a bit. And Tramen has managed to tame him."

At first Doodles hesitated, but then nodded slowly. The first few times he had changed into a monster it had destroyed practically everything that was in its way, but since ED had accepted Tramen as a master he was comparedly calm. Whatsoever, it didn't change anything about the fact that ED was a big, dumb and dangerous monster, and everytime Doodles got shocked, he transformed into him, and he couldn't do anything about it.

"Now, as I see it", Keeno said, "ED is a part of you, your 'Evil Self', and so I really don't know how we could just make him disappear. BUT: Your worst problem seems to be that you can't control him. You told me once that you could turn into ED whenever you want, but you can't turn back, am I right there?"

Doodles looked at the ground and answered quietly: "Yes... ED just doesn't THINK about such high things like 'turning back'... He only wants to eat and sleep and be together with his master... I believe he doesn't even KNOW that he is normally me... he's just not interested in that."

Keeno now held the beaker with the red substance in front of Doodles' eyes. "THIS here should solve that problem. It can't make ED disappear, but it can make him more intelligent - you'd still be able to think clearly and could turn back whenever you want. And it would have no effect on YOU. Do you want to try it out?"

Doodles just stared at the beaker in front of his eyes. ED intelligent? That COULD solve his problem! If he'd turn into that monster again, he'd just have to turn back right afterwards, as if ED had never existed... But on the other hand... Keeno's experiments HAD helped many Hoodians, he had healed many from illnesses or poison, but some of his experiments failed and got people into trouble...

The hoop-head unsurely took the beaker out of Keeno's hand. There were some Hoodians who were afraid of talking to Doodles, and they tried to stay away from him, just because they knew about ED. And Evil Doodles was STILL dangerous if Tramen WASN'T around... Doo was every minute afraid of suddenly turning into ED, just because someone played a prank on him or something unexpected happened.

Looking another time at Keeno he put the beaker to his lips. What was the worst thing that could happen? That the mixture wouldn't work and ED would still be dumb.

Doodles drank the sour liquid with one gulp. Then he gave the empty beaker back to Keeno and waited for the chemist saying something. He was nervous - he realized that, whatever will happen now, it would change his life completely.

"Good." Keeno smiled encouragingly. "Now let us wait a few minutes to make sure the substance will work. Then you should try to transform to ED - and back. Do you feel anything yet?"

Doodles shook his head. Then he thought for a second and added: "Wait, yes. It... tickles a bit in my stomach..."

"VERY good!" Keeno told the hoop-head. "The substance is starting to work then."

Doodles shifted from one foot to the other. "Do you... do you know where Tramen is? What if - just in case - it doesn't work? I don't know what ED would do if Toast isn't here..."

"Tramen is repairing the Mush Room mechanism, I think. Don't worry - it WILL work. I promise."

The hoop-head shivered out of nervousity and excitement while nodding in uncertain agreement.

"Do you want to try it out now?" Keeno asked while putting the beaker back to its shelf.

"You really think this isn't dangerous?" Doodles asked back, still afraid of what might happen.

"If I thought it was dangerous I wouldn't stay here with you." Keeno pointed out.

Doodles nodded slowly. He straightened and looked at the chemist - and then his eyes changed. At first only his pupils became long and thin like those of cats, then Doodles transformed completely. And all the time he kept looking at Keeno, half sad and half hopefully. Keeno had never before seen Doodles mutate from such a short distance.

Only about a minute later, ED stood in front of the chemist. The monster stared at him with its blue/white eyes. He really looked dangerous: He was much bigger than every other Hoodian, even taller than Tramen who was about 6 feet. EDs razorsharp claws, spikes and three huge fangs were able to destroy anything in an instant and he could run fast and jump very far. But he didn't do anything of it. He just stood in front of Keeno and grinned.

"Doodles?" Keeno asked, looking up at the giant in front of him.

ED didn't show a sign.

"Are you alright? Do you know who I am?"

At first, ED stayed silent, just looking up and down on Keeno. Then he nodded.

Keeno relaxed a bit. It worked! "Good! Do you know who YOU are?"

ED nodded.

"Tell me." Keeno said.

ED came a bit into the chemist's direction and blinked, still grinning. Then he said, between his fangs and in an unpleasant growling voice: "ED."

Keeno nodded. "Yes! And do you know who you NORMALLY are?"

ED shifted from one foot to the other, shortly hesitating. "Doo-dlef." he lisped.

The chemist started to smile. "Great! Now try to turn back, will you?"

ED didn't move, but something in his expression changed, though you couldn't tell what it was.

When nothing else happened, Keeno repeated, his smile slowly vanishing. "What is it? Try to turn back!"

Suddenly ED leaped forward, grabbed Keeno at his collar and lifted him up to his face. He narrowed his eyes and his grin disappeared as he hissed: "NOOOO!"

For a second Keeno didn't know what to say. But ED *was* intelligent now! He should have no problems with... he thought for a moment. Then he half-pleaded: "Doodles! Turn back! NOW!"

ED tightened his grip even more and growled deeply. He snarled angrily: "NOT DOODELF! EEEED!!!!"

After that, the monster simply let Keeno fall to the ground, like a toy he had lost the interest in. He turned around and headed for the exit, not without leaving claw-marks in the walls he passed.

Keeno carefully stood up and took another beaker from his shelf, in it a blueish liquid that could get anyone to sleep only by spraying it over him. He just reached back to throw it at ED, when the monster turned around again and simply grabbed Keeno's wrist, causing him to let the beaker fall. Then he threw the Hoodian into one corner of the room, without any effort.

Keeno knew that, if ED would leave the Bobby Room now, he could cause big damage to all the Neverhood. So he stood up again and shook his head to clear his thoughts - and when he looked up ED stood in front of him. With an evil sparkle in its eyes the monster grinned at its former friend, then opened its mouth and bit Keeno deep into his right shoulder. Then ED reached with one big jump the upper side of the staircase and left the room growlingly.

Keeno screamed and slapped his left hand to the wound. After the pain started to ease off he looked at his shoulder. The marks of ED's three fangs went deep into his skin, but what worried the Hoodian even more: His arm didn't regenerate. Even more: He felt that his shoulder started to dry out around the marks of ED's teeth...

Meanwhile, ED headed for the palace. He didn't run - he knew he'd have all the time of the world to get to his aim. When he reached the door of the Mush Room he saw Tramen, still at his work to repair the mechanism. When the mechanic turned around to see who was at the door, ED quickly jumped back and leaned to the outer wall of the Mush Room, so Tramen couldn't see him. The Hoodian furrowed his brow, but turned around again and continued on his work. ED grinned.

He figured that he couldn't reach the castle through this way, so he went back to the Whale's Mouth and stepped into the teleporter that stood there. His yellow claw moved searchingly over all the buttons, until he found the one that led to the castle and pressed it. Before ED activated the teleporter he hissed full of anticipation.

In the Throne Room, Hoborg sat with some of his sons on the ground in a circle and listened to one of his fellower's telling a story.

The peace was interrupted when ED suddenly stood in the entrance of the room, snarling dangerously. Most of Hoborg's sons stood up hastily and fled into the opposite corner of the room, while Hoborg himself just stood up and looked alarmed at the monster. But he knew: This was Doodles, one of his sons, and he had NEVER hurt anyone since he was naturally good-hearted. But he had destroyed a lot - even the most innocent creature in the multiverse couldn't control its Evil Self.

Hoborg went a few careful steps into Evil Doodles' direction, making calming down gestures.

"Doodles", the king said quietly, still coming closer until he stood right in front of his son. "Everything is alright, son. We'll get Tramen for you, yes? You don't need to..."

ED hissed and simply snatched the crown from Hoborg's head. The other Hoodians in the room were frightened and didn't know what to do - they just could watch ED leaving, with the ruler's crown. Hoborg stood there, frozen in his posture and unable hold his son back. A few steps away from the king, ED turned around again and grinned even more evil, holding the lifepower-giving crown in his claws. Then, out of pure cruelty, he growled: "Fankf, dadday."

He left the palace again through the main entrance, and when he reached the KlayPlains he saw that the Mush Room was now down on the ground - Tramen must have repaired it.

ED put the crown of his father away and came closer to the building. The same moment Tramen left the Mush Room through the door, and he saw Doodles' Alter Ego. He ran to him.

"Doo! I mean... ED! What happened? Why are you transformed?" he looked worriedly at his friend.

ED looked back at Tramen - his expression was absolutely neutral, except for the slight grin he always had set on.

The mechanic blinked confused. Then he opened his chest-compartment and pulled out a Chip Butty. He held it into EDs direction and tried to smile. "Here ED, for you! Take!"

ED focused on the bread. After a second he carefully took it and shoved it into his mouth, sitting down while chewing.

"Well, what do you want now, hm?" Tramen asked the quiet beast.

ED blinked and laid down on his belly, curled like a dog that was ready for sleep, but kept looking at Tramen expectingly.

The mechanic smiled. "You want pat-pat, yes? Go to sleep, and you'll soon be yourself again."

He bowed down and patted ED on the head. Evil Doodles closed his eyes and rolled himself onto the side, lying more comfortable. Tramen came a bit closer so he could continue patting his friend - he knew that ED would fall asleep soon if he kept on doing this.

Suddenly, without forewarning, ED opened his eyes again and stared grinningly at Tramen, his left claw closed hard around Tra's wraist.

The mechanic was completely surprised. "What...?? ED! What are you doing??"

With the right claw ED pulled Hoborg's crown out. Tramen's eyes widened. "What..."

The monster hissed as it tried to set its friend and master the crown on, but Tramen's head-stems were in the way.

And then Keeno appeared from somewhere. He was exhausted from running, and up to now his whole right arm and a part of his torso were completely dried out, colorless and stiff from EDs bite. He found Tramen and ED and ran into their direction.

"Keeno!" Tramen shouted out, still trying to prevent ED from setting him the crown on. "Quick! Help me!"

Keeno had brought another beaker along to stop the monster. He came closer and held it to EDs face. "Give me the crown, ED, or I have to use this substance on you - and I wouldn't like that."

Surprisingly, ED handed the crown over to Keeno, but kept on holding Tra tight in his claws so he couldn't move. But still, Tramen was partly relieved - he was safe from the evil influence of the crown. Who knows what might have happened to him...

"Thanks, Keeno, that was close..." The mechanic looked up at the other Hoodian - and froze.

Keeno's eyes glowed in a bright unpleasant yellow, and as he moved his right dried-out arm it began to grumble - and under the skin there was another arm... a bony, red arm with a clawed hand. It grabbed Tramen's free arm. The mechanic looked wide-eyed up at Keeno's face - it formed an evil smile. Then he looked at ED's face again. ED stared grinningly at Keeno, as if he held him under control by only looking at him. Then he shortly widened his eyes, seemingly some sign for Keeno to act. The chemist had the crown still in his left hand, and he slowly positioned it now above Tramen's head.

Tramen realized what they were up to. He tried to free himself, but he had no chance against two mutated evil beings. "NOOOOOOO!!!!"

ED grinned. Tramen would be a GOOD ruler. And ED would be his pet.

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