The Weasel's Plant
Story by DoodLeS
I had decided to walk a bit around in the 'Hood. Tramen was busy on some invention, and I didn't want to disturb him with that, and Gnimen just had a research on Lurcus, his favorite - ewwwk - Weasel (how can someone actually LIKE them? *I* know nothing more scary than those huge crabs!). And I was just in the mood to be a bit alone anyways, to collect my thoughts, or whatever.
Near the Mush Room, in a gap between two of those tentacle-like trees, I finally found something really interesting.
It was a plant. But I had never before seen such a STRANGE plant - it looked like a big yellow-purple spotted bowl with some strange greenish liquid in it. I had seen many strange plants in the Neverhood, but this one was somehow... really attracting...
I carefully dunked one finger into the liquid - it was cool and fresh and the surface of it ribbled in a funny way, like it was more a paste than a liquid.
In the tree next to me opened a little hatch, and a blue eye stared at me, exclaiming: "If I were you, *I* wouldn't touch that!"
I turned around to the being in the tree. "Oh - hi, Tukkos. Um... why not?"
"Well, it's a Weasel's Plant."
I quickly pulled my finger out of the green water and backed a few steps. "Weasel's Plant?? What is that? I never heard of that!"
"They are kinda rare, and they don't bloom very often. Don't worry, they don't bite."
I relaxed a bit and looked at the plant again. "But why are they called 'Weasel's Plant' then?"
Tukkos blinked and rolled his visible eye. "They... um... well, just keep your hands away from them, yes? Their juice is said to be really delicious, but... let it just tell me this way: No-one has tasted it for a long time now, and they must have had their reasons, right?"
With these words the little hatch in the tree closed again, and Tukkos had gone. I stared a while at the spot where he had appeared, then I looked at the plant again.
'Really delicious'? Hm....
I closed a few steps again until I could see the reflection of my face in the liquid. Normally I'm a REALLY careful person, especially if it is about Weasels... but Tukkos just said this stuff would taste good... and it just seemed to PLEAD a quiet 'drink me'...
Again, I dunked my finger into the juice, then pulled it out again. For a thoughtful second I looked at the drops rolling down and falling onto the ground.
I licked one of the drops from my finger. This stuff tasted REALLY good! I started to smile enthusiastically and took some more juice from the plant.
Some hours later, evening...
I was in my room, sitting in my bed and reading some book. I still had the taste from the Weasel-juice in my mouth - I really wondered why it was called that - it tasted really fine, nothing like a Weasel (which taste more like... well, crabs, I suppose), and no Weasel had appeared while I drunk from it. I just hoped that the smell of that juice didn't attract those crabs... oh well. Time to go to bed now. Tomorrow I'll tell Tramen about the plant, or maybe Keeno - HE surely knows something about it.
I turned out the light and lay down.
The next morning...
"Awwww...." I yawned and had a stretch. It seemed to be a wonderful morning, since it was seldom that I woke up all by myself, and that before lunchtime. It was quiet outside, except for some awking KlayBirds and a group of far away Hoodians who played some game and laughed.
I tried to rub my eyes - but I wasn't able to. So I opened my eyes and looked at my hands - and screamed! Panicked I tried to back away from my own hands, still screaming and staring... my HANDS!!! Or, should I say: Claws?
Instead of my usual eight fingers there were only two sharp clippers, like those of a... Weasel...
The realization hit me like a fist-onna-spring - the Weasel's Plant! I even stopped screaming when that thought went through my head.
Then I remembered something else: I just had a shock of my life - now I'd surely (gulp) turn into ED again... but would that be THAT bad? Maybe those... THINGS at my arms would vanish when I transformed... or they would become a really dangerous weapon on my evil self...
I jumped out of my bed, arms as far as possible away from my body, and looked into the mirror of my cupboard. My eyes were still normal... strange... no sign of ED... I looked at my hands again, and I felt like I could begin another scream. I HATE Weasels, they are my worst nightmare! And now this... I couldn't bear that! I had to tell Tramen! Tramen... what would he say if he sees me that way? How should I explain?
I held up the right claw and slowly opened the two halves... they were SHARP... I might hurt myself with them... I clapped them together again - it made a loud *SNAP* and seemed almost to part the air...
I widened my eyes and stumbled backwards - someone must HELP me!!!
I looked at the trunk in the corner of my room. Somewhere in there were some bandages - I'd cover those horrible clippers with them, so I couldn't accidently cut anything, and not at least that no-one could see them.
I tried to open the lid, which came out pretty hard without fingers. Oh, why ME? Didn't I have enough bad experiences?
But finally I managed it, and I was lucky - the bandages were right on top of all my stuff in the trunk. I carefully pressed them between my two arms and balanced with them to my bed. All the time I tried to keep the clippers closed - I never wanted to hear that *snap* sound again.
With one claw and my mouth I wrapped the bandage around my right arm, until only two thick white cloth lumps could be seen where that ACCIDENT was. Now I only needed to cut the end of the bandage off... I looked around in my room, searching for some scissors, then my eyes were locked on my left 'hand'. With a nasty feeling in my stomach I opened the claw and cut the bandage in two with it.
Then I used the rest of the band to cover my other hand. And now explain this to Tramen...
I went to my exit and pressed the call-button for the Lakewall Car. Steering it wasn't that easy, but possible. Down on the Lakeground I headed for the Radio Room, as fast as I could - some Hoodians saw me and looked questioning at my hands, but I just ignored them and ran on.
Finally in the Radio Room I closed the door behind me and leaned against it, breathing heavily. Tramen, who sat on the ground in front of me, looked up.
"Hello Doodles! Um... what's up? Some Weasel after you again?"
I stared at him. "If it was only THAT!" I exclaimed, which seemed to confuse Tramen a bit.
"What? WORSE than a Weasel? I really can't imagine... I thought they are the worst thing you can think of? And what happened to your hands?" He focused on the lumps of cloth.
"I.... that's.... um..." I felt really embarressed. He STARED at my hands! He surely SAW it....
I gave up and sat down, starting over: "That's exactly the problem..." I said in a rather depressed tone.
Tramen looked a bit strange at me when he answered: "What? What is the problem? Did you color your hands and can't wash it away?"
"No." I looked at the ground.
"You knotted your fingers and can't get them right again?" he quizzed.
"Don't kid me, Tra. I mean it." I became even more depressed. How should I TELL him?
He noticed that I reallyREALLY felt bad. "Well then, WHAT is it? It must really be horrible - you weren't that unhappy since when I had to put you the Clappers on the first time."
I looked up at him. "Do you know Klipp?"
Tramen blinked because of that complete new topic. "Um, yes. I've seen him a few times... strange guy - that Weasel claw of him is pretty cool, tho!"
I still looked at him, thinking of what to say.
"What?" my friend asked, slighly puzzled about my strange behaviour.
I slowly shook my head - best I'd just show him... "Are all the doors locked?" I asked nervously.
Toast looked around. "Um, yes. Why? Now just spit it out, Doo - what IS it?"
I sighed. "Now don't scream or anything, yes? *I* did that long enough already."
With these words I just snapped the right claw together, the bandage was cut easily and fell to the ground. Tra stared at what was left of my hand, his mouth wide open in surprise. I didn't move until he found his voice again. "What the - ... What happened to you??" He still couldn't stop staring at the pincher claw.
"I *dunno*!" I answered unhappily, "I just woke up today and found THIS!" I waved with the right arm.
Tramen looked at my other, still bandaged, hand. "And... your left arm? Is that too...?"
"Oh WOW!" Tramen exclaimed, standing up and waving wildly, "my friend turned into a Weasel! What'll happen next? Dancing trees?"
"Well..." I carefully continued, "it didn't JUST happen, to be honest...." I looked down again.
Toast froze in place, arms high up in the air, and slowly focused on me. "Why? What did you do?"
"Iiiii.... found that strange plant and... well... its juice tasted really good and... well...." I trailed off.
My tall friend let his arms sink. "Now don't tell me you've drank from the Weasel's Plant."
I abruptly looked up at him. "You KNOW about it?"
"Yes, of course! Last week all Hoodians have been warned not to touch it..... oh. I see. You weren't here on that day..." Tramen thoughtfully crossed his arms.
I just had arrived three days ago, before that I had been in my home dimension on Earth... and nobody had told me about that plant...
"What should I DO now, Toast?" I whimpered, "This is too much for me! And I can't even DRAW with those things!!!" I shuddered - I really couldn't... but drawing was my LIFE! Oh dear...
"Well, we could..." Tramen started. Someone knocked at the outer door.
I turned around behind me, staring and ready to jump into some hiding place.
"Who's there?" Tra asked in normal tones.
"Keeno", was the muffled answer from outside. "Why is the door locked? Some invention of yours?"
"No - Doodles is here. He has a big problem..." Toast replied, ignoring my wild head-shaking, "Maybe you can help him there."
"Sure - if you let me in I'll try, whatever it is."
I pressed myself against the opposite wall, hands behind my back, when Tra let Keeno, the Neverhood's chemist, in.
He walked up to me. "Hi! What is it, Doo?"
"NOTHING!" I squeaked out, trying to bury me in the wall.
"He has drank from the Weasel's Plant." Tramen answered in my place.
Keeno turned to me again. "Really? I was always curious how that would look like."
He tried to look behind my back, but I hastily followed all his motions so he couldn't see anything.
"Now come on! Show me! Do you really have Weasel claws now?"
That last sentence hurt me a bit - it was so EMBARRASSING. What could be worse now? I showed my hands to Keeno.
"Oh! Fascinating!" he said, taking my uncovered arm and looking at it from all sides. "Can I take off the bandage on your other arm?" he asked.
Resignedly I cut the other claw free and let Keeno have a look.
"That substance must be really interesting! How much did you drink of it?"
I nervously looked around, then back at Keeno. "Um... is that... relevant?"
"Well, yes. The quantity determines the period of time of the mutation effect." He looked at me, waiting for my answer.
"Um... how long would that be, for example?" I finally repied.
"I heard of one Hoodian who drank about one handful of it, and he had those claws for a week."
I widened my eyes.
"How much, Doo?" Tramen asked, looking suspiciously at me.
"Um........ mebbe....... well......."
"Let me guess: All of it?" Toast grinned - he knew me.
"NO!" I exclaimed. Then I continued timidly: "Well... not REALLY all of it... mebbe.... weeeell...... YES, ALL OF IT."
Keeno and Tra looked at each other.
"Uh-oh", stated Keeno after that, turning to me again. "It might remain for years then. And you can be glad that you didn't WHOLLY turn into a Weasel."
I just stared, sitting down.
Tramen rubbed his chin. "Can't you just... turn to ED or human or whatever?"
I raised my eyes up to him. "No, I can't turn into ED. It just doesn't work. For the first time I WISH it would happen, and for the first time it failed... and going to my dimension? What if I'd still have those things here?" I lifted both arms and carefully clapped both claws a few times together. "I don't think my parents would like that..."
"Well then... cut them off! Or something!" Tramen suggested.
I eyed shocked at him. "CUT them off?? I should cut my own hands off?? Are you nuts?!"
"They would regenerate! And maybe you'd have your hands back then!" my friend stated.
I thought for a long time. I KNEW that I would regenerate - I had made that experience yet. But... hng... On the other hand (or claw, in this case o8-/ )... I couldn't wait YEARS to get my hands back!
I looked at my right arm. Then I positioned the left claw around it, took a deep breath, and cut.
It was horribly easy to cut with those claws, and it HURT! After a short while the stump of my right arm began to grow back - and produced another clipper. I groaned and shook my head in despair, exclaiming "oh CRAB" under my breath.
Keeno still focused my hands, when he mumbled: "Pity... if I had some of that substance I could try to develope an anti-dote... and I could find out WHY it produces that Weasel-effect..."
I lifted my head and felt hope coming up. "I DO have some of it left!" With the left claw I opened my chest-compartment by pressing my button. Then I looked a while at the opened hatch. "Um... there should be some small beaker in there with that stuff - I wanted to save it for later... um.... could you, er...."
Keeno awoke from his thoughts. "Huh? Oh! Yes, wait. I'll get it out for you." He reached into my chest and pulled the beaker with the green juice out, not noticing that I anguishly closed my eyes - I STILL couldn't stand the feeling of an open chest.
He looked at the liquid. "Perfect! That's enough for my research! Wait here - maybe I'll have the anti-dote in a few hours!"
He ran through the door to the Bobby Room, where he worked and lived, leaving Tramen and me to ourselves.
"Why DO you stick everything into your mouth, Doo?" Toast said after a while, smiling at me because he KNEW the answer.
"Because I'm hungry?" I guessed.
Tra wordlessly sat down and pulled some tools and a strange gizmo out from one of the room's corners. "Well, what'll you do now?" he asked, picking up a screwdriver and starting to work on his latest invention.
"Sitting here. Waiting. What else should I do with those things attached to my arms?" I answered, trying to hold the claws far away from my body and not to move.
"You could go out there and cut some trees into artistic shapes?" Tramen suggested.
"I WON'T go out there like this. It's embarrassing. And scary. And please tell no-one when this here is over, ok?"
"How can Klipp LIVE with such a thing?"
"Well, he was BORN that way. There's a difference."
"I'd SAY so! If people see ME walking around like this now, they'll know that... that..."
"...that our little hoop-head again has eaten something he shouldn't have to?"
"Yes... nevah again!"
Tramen grinned. "You don't even believe yourself that you'll do it 'nevah again', right?"
I rolled my eyes. "Right."
It went on like this a few hours. Tramen and I smalltalked, I watched him inventing his stuff, and I just WISHED I could take out a KlayPaper and draw something... but the only thing I could do with paper now was cutting out little paper-Hoodians... But I'd nevah use those claws for ANYthing! They're those parts of Weasels that scared me to death! I gotta get RID of them!!!
"I GOT it!" the voice from the Bobby Room shouted out triumphantly.
I woke up. I must have fallen asleep a while ago, still in my sitting posture, waiting for a way to get my hands back. "You got it? The anti-doty stuff??"
Keeno ran into the Radio Room, with a red bubbling liquid in a beaker. "Yes! Just drink it! It'll take a while, tho, and it might taste pretty sour, but tomorrow you'll be fully yourself again! Can I keep the rest of the Mutagen, for further research?"
"Huh?" I blinked.
"The green liquid. Can I keep the rest?" Keeno repeated.
"Oh! Yes! Of course! I really had enough from that, really." I looked at the beaker in his hand.
He followed my glance. "Oh. Here. Take it. Drink it as fast as you can - if it tastes like it smells you better should drink VERY fast."
I lifted my right arm to take the glass, but then remembered something... "Um. Er... could you help me with that... please? I don't think I can hold it..." I looked excusingly at the claw.
"Er, yeah, of course. Sorry. Open your mouth." Keeno emptied the whole flask into my mouth, and I swallowed the red anti-dote as fast as I could.
I shuddered. This REALLY tasted EVIL...
"Well? How do you feel?" Keeno asked me after putting the empty beaker away.
"Um... sleepy..." I answered. Indeed, suddenly I had a hard time keeping my eyes open.
"Good. That's what it's supposed to do. You'll sleep for a while now, and tomorrow we'll see again - and you'll have your hands back then. I promise."
"Good..." I said, before I lay down on the spot and fell asleep.