The only way I can even have a chance at ending this is if I try to get them out of the way. If I can’t bring myself to fight them, they’ll only be another roadblock keeping me from beating Blowhole once and for all. The only thing I can think of to do is leave them out cold until I can figure out what to do.
Now, I may be strong, and I may be fast. But to think that I can just charge straight into this and expect to be able to give a little knock to each of their craniums and expect them to be out long enough for me to do what I needed to do would just be unrealistic and stupid.
So, that’s why I went to Rico.
Yes, he’s under the influence of the Serum, but that doesn’t mean he’s broken. All I have to do is plant the slightest thought into his mind and give him another good kick to the gut.
When I arrived at the scene, I pushed through the struggle between my 프렌즈 and Blowhole and tackled Rico away from the group. When he realized what was going on, he turned on me and I struggled to pry him off of me. When I managed to throw him off me, I said, “Rico! Gas mask!”
As soon as the flicker of confusion sparked in his expression, I drove my foot into his gut and a gas mask is exactly what came out. Snatching up the mask, I added, “Chloroform!”
When I tried to deliver another blow to his abdomen, he grabbed my foot and threw me backward unexpectedly. Upon landing on the floor, I involuntarily glanced at the struggle behind me. Blowhole nearly had the situation under control. I found myself hoping that Kowalski could hold them off for just a few 더 많이 seconds.
Just as Rico started his 다음 attack, I rolled to the side and jumped to my feet. When he once again advanced in my direction, I spun threesixty on my heel, kicking under his feet and causing him to fall on his backside. Turning my cry of defiance into the name of my desired item from Rico’s gut, I drove my fist into his abdomen once again and Rico coughed up a bottle labeled CHCl3. All I had to do was break it into the floor and let the fumes get to the other’s minds and leave them out cold. I 비둘기 for it and as it met my grasp, I turned back to the events unfolding behind me.
Before I even had time to think, I was staring straight into Private’s blank eyes as he drove his fist into my abdomen and I heard Kowalski somewhere behind him scream my name. Past him, I could see that Blowhole had already gotten the situation under control. I felt the gas mask and chloroform fall from my grasp. That’s when I realized that Private’s fist was still driving into my abdomen. If he didn’t hit that hard, then why was my vision starting to fade in and out? Why did I feel all of my strength draining from my body? I looked down and had my 질문 answered for me. Private wasn’t driving his fist into my abdomen.
He was driving a blade into it.
I recognized it as the blade that was previously being held to Marlene’s throat. For a moment, I watched as my feathers started to redden even 더 많이 than they already were. The lacerations that Marlene had made on my flesh were minor, and most of them had already stopped bleeding. But this blade must have been going two 또는 three inches into my body. It took effort to lift my head again to see Private’s face.
His blank eyes were starting to soften, almost as if he was starting to realize what he was doing. He pulled the blade from my stomach—causing me to involuntarily gasp—and took a couple of steps back as the blade fell from his grasp. My knees weakened and I fell to them, putting my right flipper in front of me before I face-planted into the floor. My other flipper wrapped around my abdomen and grasped the opening in my flesh. I couldn’t speak. I could barely even breathe. It took every ounce of the strength I had left to even remain awake, let alone upright.
“Skipper…? Wh-What have I done?!” I heard Private’s voice say in front of me. At least, I was pretty sure I did. Considering the state I found myself in, I could have been hallucinating. “No! Skipper!”
I felt someone grab my shoulders and push me up enough to bring my head up. Through groggy vision, I saw Private. He was still saying things, but they were so muffled 의해 then that I could only make out fragments of words. I tried to respond, but my tongue just sort of flopped around the inside of my beak, unable to gain enough energy for even itself. Private looked at me as if he was trying to make out what I was saying, but quite frankly, even I wasn’t even too sure what I was trying to say. Finally, he released me and turned around, leaving me to fall to my side.
I fought to stay awake. I forced eyes to obey and felt them swivel around, scanning the faces of my other friends. Even though I was barely conscious, I knew exactly what was happening. The looks on their faces were no longer blank. They were a mixture of confusion, shock, and anger, just as Marlene’s was when she’d come out of her trance. Then I saw Blowhole, whose wildly appeased eyes were trained on my draining abdomen. He didn’t even realize that his brainwashee’s were starting to turn on him at first. When he did, he started calling the lobsters for backup, but it was too late. They were already taking out their anger on him.
Lying there on the cold stone, the thoughts that came to my mind freed me of the pain. When I woke Marlene up, it was through romantic love. But when Private drove the blade into me and everyone watched as the life started to drain from my eyes, I broke them free with a different kind of love. We were all a family. And no matter what, when 당신 know you’ve 로스트 a member of that family, 당신 can feel it. It’s a feeling that starts in the center of your 심장 and escapes through your actions.
Even the lemurs. They get on my last nerves and sometimes all I want to do is knock ‘em into 다음 century. They might even feel the same way about me. But we’re still family. All of us. The chimps, the badgers, the lemurs, the elephant, the gorillas, and whoever else is back at the zoo. We’re probably the craziest, weirdest, most incomprehensible family on the planet, but it’s what we are. And we all 사랑 each other like one.
I could feel the end cutting closer than it has in a long time. But I was happy. When I saw Private driving the blade into my abdomen and the first of my strength started to leave me, the first thought that crossed my mind was that I’d failed. Blowhole had won, I had lost, and my 프렌즈 were at his mercy. But when I had the knowledge that I’d freed them of Blowhole’s authority and they were giving him what was coming to him, I knew everything was going to be okay. My team would get everyone to safety. My brothers would get everyone to safety.
I started to see my life flashing before my eyes. I saw the first memories I’d shared with my team and I. I saw the 일 Private hatched and became our first rookie. I saw the 일 we arrived at the zoo for the first time. I saw our Madagascar journey, to our circus adventures, and finally re-returning to the zoo.
I saw Marlene’s face for the first time all over again. Her kind eyes and her beautiful smile. I felt the first feelings I’d ever started to feel for Marlene again for the first time. I felt the 키스 we’d just shared again for the first time.
I’ve come close to dying before, and never have I experienced my life flash before my eyes like this before. I was seeing all of the good things in my life in a new light. I was experiencing peace. The peace of mind that I’d served my time here on earth, and I’d served it well.
When I thought about Marlene, I struggled to turn on my other side. But I managed. I saw Marlene lying on the ground about fifteen feet away where I’d left her. With the last bit of energy I had, I pushed myself up 의해 my flipper and literally dragged myself forward. It took about a 분 to reach her. I felt my earholes pop and everything sounded like it was underwater. My 심장 was pounding with ferocity, fighting to not give out.
When I reached her, I fell once again to my side, perpetually unable to keep myself upright any longer. I reached out and grabbed her shoulder. I just needed to tell her one 더 많이 time before I went. With a shake, I was surprised to see her eyes flutter slightly, coming back into reality. When she saw me, her eyes widened and I think she screamed something that sounded like my name. Upon pushing herself upright, she held the side of her head in pain and faltered. Probably from when she took an eight foot drop. She seemed unconcerned about herself though, taking me into her arms and putting her paw on the opening in my abdomen. She was trying to tell me things, but I couldn’t make them out. I tried to get my mouth to form words.
I was unsure if she made out a single word I said, but it still felt good to finally say it to the real Marlene. Suddenly, we were surrounded 의해 everyone else and I could feel someone starting to work at my abdomen to keep me hanging on. But I don’t know who it was 또는 what they were doing. My vision was finally going black. The last thing I felt was a smile on my face as the breath left my lungs for the last time.
♦ ♦ ♦
“He’s been unconscious for almost two days…I’m getting worried, Kowalski. What if he doesn’t wake up?”
“Don’t worry, Private. I’ll admit, the fact that he died for six 분 when he was in surgery was a bit frightening, but all of his vital signs look fine, now. I haven’t seen any complications since we sewed him up. I’m sure he’ll be waking up any hour, now.”
“Kowalski, do 당신 think he can hear us?”
I think I am…But how? Aren’t I supposed to be dead?
“It’s a possibility, I guess. Though, if he can, that might mean that he’s starting to regain consciousness. Of course, we’ll never know if he can hear us 또는 not.”
Yes! I can hear you! Wait, I’m just shouting that inside my head, aren’t I?
“I wonder if he’ll remember anything. I would really like to know what he said before he went out. It was so hard to understand what he was saying.”
“Well, he was barely hanging onto life. It’s unlikely that he’ll remember much up to the point where you—I mean, he was stabbed.”
Right! I was stabbed! By…Private?
“Look, Kowalski, it’s not a big secret. 당신 can say it. I know I stabbed him. We all do! There’s no point in trying to pretend like I didn’t when even my conscience won’t let me forget it.”
Oh, yeah. Now I remember. Private stabbed me and it snapped everyone out of the influence of Blowhole’s Serum. So, I really did 사랑 my way out that one! Not in the same way, but still, in your face, Blowhole!
“Private, 당신 had no control over your thoughts 또는 your actions at the moment. If anything, 당신 saved his life. If 당신 haven’t triggered the emotional connection we all share with Skipper, he wouldn’t have been saved.”
“I guess that’s true. I just wish he’d wake up so I could tell him I’m sorry.”
No, Private! 당신 don’t need to apologize! Ugh! Why can’t I get myself to wake up!?
“Hey, guys. Any change?”
“Oh, hello, Marlene. No. He’s still unconscious. How are you? Have 당신 remembered anything yet?”
“No. Everything from before I went under the influence of that Serum and ahead is a big blank. That fall really gave me a bad case of amnesia. I don’t think I’ll ever remember.”
She forgot? About…Everything? Even our kiss?
“It’s probably not that big of a deal. All that really happened was that Skipper somehow snapped 당신 out of your trance, then he had to face us, the lemurs, the chimps, and the badgers on his own. I don’t think he would’ve made it without me jumping in to help him.”
Thanks, Kowalski. I’ll remember never to make 당신 my wing man.
“After that,” Kowalski continued, “Private stabbed him and, well, 당신 know the rest.”
There was a brief silence that followed. All I wanted to do was wake up and tell them that everything was okay. That I was okay, and that I didn’t blame them for anything they did. It was all Blowhole’s fault.
Finally, I started to be able to do 더 많이 than hear. I felt soft cushion under my head and stone under my body. A warm cloth enveloped my body and I felt my flipper twitching when I commanded it to push myself up. It wasn’t doing what I wanted it to, but at least it was trying to.
My first disadvantage of my newfound sense was that it came with an agonizing pain in my abdomen. It felt as if there was a big rock embedded into my skin. Luckily, the pain caused me to release a moan that finally let them know that I was waking up.
“Hey, he’s waking up!” I heard Private say.
“No, Private, be gentle with him,” I heard Kowalski say. I felt someone touch my shoulder.
And finally, I felt my eyes part slightly. The light hitting my retinas caused me to close them again, but at least I knew that I had the ability to open them when they adjusted.
“Skipper, can 당신 hear me?” I heard Marlene say. I tried to say yes, but all that came out was another moan of pain.
Gradually, my eyes adjusted to the light and fluttered open. First, I saw the bottom of the bunk above me. I slowly swiveled my head and eyes down to see Kowalski at the foot of my bed. Private was to 다음 to him, Rico was behind Private, and mere inches from my head, Marlene stood there with her paw on my shoulder. If I wasn’t in so much pain, and I didn’t feel so weak, I would’ve hopped right out of my bunk and hugged each of them with the joy that they were okay. I knew they would be, but it’s different when it actually happens. When 당신 know you’ve won.
Marlene smiled. “Welcome back, Skipper.”
♦ ♦ ♦
For the 다음 few days, I was completely immobilized. Well, I could 옮기기 with help, but it was extremely painful. But the boys took good care of me. Marlene came in and out throughout the day, helping out if the team had a mission to complete 또는 to just be here 다음 to me.
Shortly after I awoke, Ringtail and his subjects dropped 의해 and Ringtail’s reaction to my consciousness was claiming that he was an ‘uncle’s monkey’ and declaring a ‘Get Well Soon’ party for me. I gladly declined and kicked him out of HQ. Ah, just like the old days.
It took about a week for me to be able to get around all on my own. Though, my team insisted that I still steer clear of missions until I was completely healed. As difficult as it was, I couldn’t argue.
During cute and cuddly routines, all I could do was smile and wave. I told Kowalski that if I didn’t get any exercise, I wouldn’t work up any strength. But he convinced me that going for a swim this soon might cause my stitches to reopen. So, we decided that waiting at least one 더 많이 week first would be the safest thing to do.
You’re probably wondering if I told Marlene about what happened in Blowhole’s lair. The answer is no. I wanted to. I still do. I want to so badly it almost kills me not to. But this comes back to why I never told her about how I feel in the first place.
I have enemies. A lot of enemies. Enemies that will do whatever it takes to make me let my guard down. If there’s even just the knowledge that I have feelings for Marlene, her life is at risk.
I know Blowhole figured it out, but I made sure that one of the missions my team went on while I was bedridden was making sure he didn’t remember anything from his last scheme. They kept wanting to know why, but I just told them that it would make me feel better if he didn’t. They respected my wishes and never questioned me on the matter any further.
Back to why I haven’t told Marlene. I realize that it’s kind of a clichéd reason, maybe even a stupid reason. But I 사랑 Marlene too much to put her life at risk, no matter how much I want her. Maybe in the future I can stop being afraid and work up the guts to tell her. A part of me is actually counting on it.
I don’t even know if she feels the same way. I know my 키스 brought her back, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that she loves me…Does it?
Well, the point is that I can’t protect Marlene from my enemies all the time. There are going to be times when I have to run after the fiend that decided to pick the wrong person to lay their fingers on. Really, I guess it doesn’t matter if Marlene and I are an item 또는 not. Her association with me is enough to make herself a target. Sometimes I still 질문 if this is the real reason I haven’t confessed. What if it’s just an excuse that I make to myself because deep down I’m afraid things just won’t work between us?
Honestly, my biggest fear is that I’m not good enough for her. Marlene’s so full of life and I’m always going on missions and protecting the city to the best of my ability. Marlene deserves someone who can be at her side at all times and not have to run off every 일 to obtain justice on wrongdoers. She needs someone who can be there if she needs a shoulder. Someone who can catch her if she falls. Someone to care for her in sickness. I mean, I would do all of those things in a heartbeat without a 초 thought. But what if her desire for someone to be there comes when I’m on the other side of the world? It’s not like she can call my cell phone and pull me out of a mission. I’d do it gladly if I had a cell phone, but unfortunately, penguins weren’t made with pockets.
One 일 I’ll tell her. When I can understand my 심장 and get myself to be man enough, I’ll tell her. I just hope it isn’t too late when I do.
Don’t get me wrong, I have no doubt in my mind about my feelings for Marlene. I’m in 사랑 with her and I can admit that much to myself.
It’s not so bad when I think about it. I can still see Marlene everyday. I can still be there for her most of the time. I can still see her peppy smile and hear her beautiful laugh. I still hold the privilege of being her most trusted friend, 또는 so she tells me. And I can still be the one that has to protect her. There’s a lot of things in my life that I know that I have to do, but protecting Marlene is 의해 far at the 상단, 맨 위로 of the list. Marlene is my other half.
To sum it up in one word, I suppose 당신 could say my life is like a curse that needs to be broken. And that curse is protecting Marlene. But it is also my destiny, whether she wants it to be 또는 not. I hate having to hide my feelings for her, but I’ll do anything to keep her safe.
So, I guess that’s it. You’ve heard my story. Maybe 당신 understand my point on why I haven’t told Marlene, 또는 maybe 당신 understand it and think it’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever heard and think I should just go for it. I can’t say I don’t agree.
But when you’re in my line of work, some sacrifices have to be made. The sacrifices can be painful, and in 더 많이 ways than one, but 당신 just have to know what’s best and believe that one 일 당신 can overcome them.
I guess all that’s left to say now is over and out. And for the sake of Marlene, 당신 didn’t see anything.