All Dogs go to Heaven
Little Memories of a Beautiful Life
Episode 2: "History Histery".
Charlie B. Barkin & Sasha La Fleur
Balto & Jenna
Charlie B. Barkin was sitting on the thick purple carpet of the family room beside a nice warm hearth, reading a history book that he had recently gotten from the library. It was a cloudy saturday morning, and the rainfall had left a wet and cool whether in the past days. He could hear the human children rooting and playing on a baseball field close by, not minding if there should be sun or rain. The library from which Charlie got his books was meant for humans, but there was a dog that was one of the librarian's pets always sitting outside, and he helped dogs that wanted books get them without any trouble, carrying them out through the back door. Charlie had been reading many books, but none was quite as absorbing and interesting as this history book, which took his mind to the times of William Wallace, Kublai Khan and Napoleon Bonaparte.
Just then, Sasha La Fleur came into the room, greeting Charlie in her usual sweet manner.
"Good morning, Charlie",said Sasha cheerfully.
"Good morning, Sasha",said Charlie with a smile; he looked up and closed his book",how are you?".
"Great",said Sasha",how 'bout you?".
"Really good,"said Charlie.
Sasha walked up to his side.
"What are you reading",asked Sasha.
"It's called 'Lexus History of the World' ",said Charlie",it tells everything, from the Stone Age to the Cybernetic Age. I got it from the library yesterday".
"Sounds great!",said Sasha.
"Would you like to read it, Sasha?",asked Charlie.
"Oh, well, you're reading it",said Sasha.
"That's alright",said Charlie",I can get it out of the library whenever I want."
"Well, OK, then",said Sasha",I'll be right back."
Sasha left the room. Charlie opened the book and read a few lines. Suddenly, there was a burst of flame in front of him! It was like a silent explosion. Then the fire materialized into the shape of a dog. Not just any dog, it had demon wings and a black cloak around the spiked collar of a black jacket. Charlie knew instantly who it was.
It was no other than the evil, devilish cousin of Anabelle, Belladonna.
"Why hello, Charles",said Belladonna, with a rasping metallic tone in her voice",long time, no see, huh?".
Charlie didn't look up from his book.
"Get out of here, Belladonna",said Charlie",nobody wants you about."
"Is that the way to treat an ol' friend",said Belladonna",after all, I am preacher's little cousin."
Charlie looked up from his book.
"That 'preacher' is my friend",said Charlie",And her name is Anabelle, in case you forgot. And, I advise you hit the road before you seriously get in trouble."
"Ooh, I'm so scared", mocks Belladonna",look at me, I'm trembling. By the way, what kinda garbage are ya readin'?".
Belladonna snatches the book, and goes through the pages. With one glowing finger, she touches one of the pages. Charlie didn't notice this.
"Alright, hand it over",said Charlie",or I'll use a miraculous tag, shine holy light on you face and send you to the nearest plastic surgeon."
"Fine then",snaps Belladonna",I see I'm not getting anywhere with you idiots. I'll go pick on someone else."
Belladonna drops the book, and disappears just as she came. Just then, Sasha returned to the room. She noticed the look on Charlie's face.
"What's wrong, Charlie?",asked Sasha.
"Just Belladonna",answered Charlie",she was here a moment ago, pestering as usual."
"Oh",said Sasha"it seems that she never gives up."
"Well, she's gone now, let's forget about her",said Charlie, cheerfully.
Sasha sat down beside Charlie on the carpet, and they began to read a chapter with the title of 'William Wallace'.
"William Wallace was a Scottish patriot that lead his armies to the defeat of the English ruler Edward Longshanks",said Charlie, reading out loud", and for the many battles of which he was triumphant, he was granted the title of 'Sir William Wallace', the leader and savior of the Scottish domains..."
Charlie & Sasha spent a lovely half hour reading together. The warm hearth gave them a cozy feeling. They felt happy to be together. Then suddenly, they heard the wooden door knock downstairs.
"That's probably Flo. Here",said Charlie, giving Sasha the book",I'll be right back."
Charlie went to see who it was, and Sasha stayed in the room.
"Charlie is so nice",said Sasha to herself",it's so great to have him close".
Sasha began to read the book; she had not read four lines when suddenly a red glow came from the book! She felt herself pulled into the pages! The glow was actually pulling her into the book!
"Charlie, help!",cried Sasha.
Charlie, who had been downstairs opening the door to his spiritual sister Flo, had heard Sasha's cries, and ran up the stairs as fast as he could with Flo right behind him. When he got there, he could see Sasha being pulled into the pages by a strange red glow.
He raced towards Sasha to grab her arm and pull her back, but it was too late. She had disappeared into the page, and was nowhere to be seen. Then, out of thin air, Belladonna appeared. Charlie and Flo glared at her.
"Belladonna, you fiend!",cried Flo",what have you done to Sasha!?".
"Aww, I just wanted to have a lil' fun, heh, heh",mocked Belladonna",it's your job to clean up the mess!".
Charlie lunged at Belladonna, baring his sharp canine teeth, but she disappeared in flames. For a few moments, Charlie took it all too far, and he felt the world blurring around him. When he regained his sense, he realised what he was up against.
Flo didn't waste time, and called the others. Itchy, Jenna and Balto came to the room instantly.
"What's the problem?",asked Itchy.
"It's Belladonna",said Flo",she sealed Sasha in this history book."
"Belladonna again?",said Jenna",won't that devil ever stop!?".
"Aww, man,"said Itchy",whenever we stop a demon, another one is bound to show up!."
Balto went to confort Charlie, who was overwhelmed by the whole thing.
"This is all my fault",moaned Charlie", I shouldn't have left her alone".
"Don't blame yourself, Charlie",said Balto",you couldn't know this would happen. It took us all by surprise."
In that moment, the room was filled with light, and Anabelle the Arch-angel appeared. She walked towards Charlie, and sat down.
"Charles",said Anabelle",I'm sorry for being late. I already know what happened, and came to help."
Charlie looked up at Anabelle.
"Anabelle",said Charlie",what happened to Sasha?".
Anabelle was truthful.
"Sasha is in great danger",said Anabelle",but you can save her if you hurry. I can help you go to where she is, but you must find out the way to return, for even I don't know. Meanwhile, Sasha can be in any page in the book, in the place illustrated on the page."
"You mean,"asked Charlie",she could be in the middle of the the French Revolution, or in the times of Moses, or in Colombus's Ships?"
"Exacly",said Anabelle",if she wanders about, she will go from page to page."
Charlie was determined.
"Anabelle,"he said" I'm ready to go."
"Right! Give Belladonna a taste of her own medicine!",said Anabelle", But it's dangerous to go alone, Charles; take somebody with you".
Charlie looked at his friends, and thought quickly.
"OK,"he said, looking at Flo",let's go, sis."
Flo walked up to him. She was nervous, but also determined.
"Anabelle, we're ready!".
"Good luck, then,"said Anabelle",everybody stand back!."
Anabelle extended her arms and a bright light seemed to swallow Charlie and Flo. The next moment, they had disappeared into thin air.
"Good luck, brother",said Balto.
Charlie & Flo appeared suddenly in a dense forest. The air was heavy with the scent of fresh rain, and the leaves were dripping silently.
"OK, we're here, somewhere",said Flo.
"We have to find Sasha quick",said Charlie", I know this place. It's where a battle between English and Scottish takes place."
"SASHA!",Flo starts calling out",where are you, SASHA!!!".
"Where is she?",Flo starts getting worried.
"Let's see. If I was Sasha, where would I go?",Charlie said, then frowned.
"What is it, Charlie?",asked Flo.
"Sasha wouldn't move",said Charlie", She would stay put, and wait. She wouldn't risk getting more lost than she already was. Which means only one thing."
"You don't mean...",Flo stopped dead.
"Yes. Sasha has been abducted. Some one took her,"concluded Charlie.
Charlie and Flo were confused.
"Who would want to kidnap Sasha?",asked Flo.
"No one would find her here in the first place, unless they knew",said Charlie," which shows that this is just one more of Belladonna's filthy tricks. She must have planned this beforehand. Kidnapping Sasha to lure us to her."
Flo was beginning to clear things out.
"The first thing we gotta do, is try to pick up her scent",said Charlie", if Sasha was really here, our noses will tell us. Come on".
Flo & Charlie start sniffing the earth for clues. Shortly, Flo finds Sasha's scent, along with another strange one. Charlie also picks up some clues. He scents Sasha, a stranger, a persecution, but worst of all, fear! Charlie sensed fresh tears of desperate fear on the forest floor.
"Sasha was chased by some one", said Charlie",and that someone caught her. She was scared, and she dropped some tears to help guide us."
Then he sinks in.
"Oh, Sasha",Charlie says glumly",where are you?".
Flo walks towards Charlie to confort him, but she stops dead.
"Charlie! Look",Flo cries",cartwheel tracks!".
Charlie looks up at Flo.
"Over here!",says Flo excitedly.
Charlie ran to where Flo was, and surely enough, there were cartwheel tracks engraved in the earth. Charlie sniffed at the tracks, and instantly recognised Sasha's scent.
"So",said Charlie",what do you make of all this?".
"Sasha arrived, was chased by a human because only humans use carts, and was taken",reasoned Flo", She was frightened, and she couldn't help shedding a few tears. And now all we have to do is follow the trail until we find her."
"Right! Let's move on, bro",said Flo.
Charlie and Flo easily navigated the trail, and where filled with new hopes of finding Sasha.
Sasha opened her eyes uneasily to look at her surroundings. She felt weak and tired, but she didn't want to fall asleep again. She was imprisoned in a wooden cage mounted on a cart, and a man was driving it with the help of two strapped horses. Sasha was frightened and confused. A moment ago she was safe at home, reading with Charlie in the family room, and the next moment she is captured by some strange human who locks her in a cage and puts her in a cart without saying a word. She remembers the cold fear that she felt, and Charlie's desperate effort to grab hold of her paw. Charlie. Where was he? Was he alright? All these thoughts raced through her mind, and tormented her. Why did this have to happen so suddenly, what would they do to her, and would she ever see Charlie again?
Sasha couldn't take it anymore. She began to cry. Tears of desperate sadness filled her eyes, and dripped on the hard wooden surface of the cage.
"Oh, Charlie",Sasha thought sadly.
Flo and Charlie ran through the forest following the trail.
"I hope there aren't any wild animals in these woods",said Flo.
"Me too",said Charlie",but it's the humans who worry me most. This trail is too obvious, too easy. What if they're waiting for us in ambush?".
For the first time, Flo thought about this. But it was too late to turn back.
"We might as well be prepared for anything",said Flo",there's no telling what's ahead of us".
Charlie just looked forward with determination.
"I just hope Sasha's alright",he finally said",that's the only thing I pray for right now."
After a lot of running, Charlie and Flo grew exhausted. They had no choice but to stop and catch their breath. There was a stream close to where they stopped, and they both went to drink from it. When they finally had enough, they sat by the stream, regaining their strength.
Suddenly, Charlie caught sight of something in one of the trees. He looked closer, and saw a little man! A tiny man with a spear in his hand. Then, out of nowhere, other little men appeared, no taller than Charlie's foreleg. They jumped out of the trees and started running towards the canines.
"Flo!",said Charlie",get ready to fight!"
The little men charged at Charlie & Flo, who bared their teeth and got ready to strike at the first false movement.
The battle took place. Charlie and Flo attacked the men, biting and clawing fiercely. Most of them fled, but a few remained. The canines also recieved some damage, mainly from the spears. It was a total chaos. A mixture of teeth and spears, claws and fists.
Suddenly, a high pitched yell was heard. All the men retreated, and only one remained, obviously the boss because of his feathered garments.
"You dogs no match for the Zolbi elf tribe",said the chief",Zolbi natural warriors. You just weaklings, just like the other green eyed one. Hahaha."
"What green eyed one!",Charlie yelled at the chief.
"Green eyed female dog with silky fur",said the chief",we watched her catched by human. Coward, she run and cry like baby, no fight. Hahaha."
Charlie was suddenly filled with a deep and terrible rage. It was Sasha. They had seen her been caught by the human, and they laughed at it.
"Where did the man take her",Charlie shouted.
"I know where. No tell you, hahaha",mocked the chief.
Charlie lost his temper. He jumped right at the chief and caught him in his jaws, then he threw his victim against a tree. The others where so shocked and scared by this, that ran away. It was Zolbi tradition to leave the chief in hands of his enemy if he is defeated in battle.
The chief was merely stunned, but he had dropped his spear in the moment of the impact. Flo grabbed him by the legs with her teeth and lifted him off the ground, so that he was dangling helplessly. Charlie then took hold of his arms, so that both dogs held him like a piece of meat, ready to play 'tug of war'.
"Now, little man, you're gonna tell me where the human took the green eyed dog; or else!",said Charlie, in a shivering calmness.
"And what if I refuse, canine?",said the chief.
"In that case, my little sister and I will use you as a wish bone, and see who gets the larger piece",said Charlie with a touch of relish on the details.
"You no scare me, mutt",said the chief.
"Ok, then I'll get scary. Make a wish, Flo!",said Charlie.
They both pulled, but only enough to get the man nervous. And was he ever! He yelled and howled and cried out for mercy.
"Fine, fine",yelped the man," I tell, I tell. They take her to castle, where great ruler of fire shall decide her fate."
"Where is this castle?",asked Flo.
"Follow path, you can't miss",howled the man.
"That's a good little elf,"said Flo. And with that, Charlie let go, and she threw the man in the bushes.
"Come on, we can't waste any more time",said Flo.
And so, Charlie and Flo raced back down the path, following the trail, and hoping for the best.
The cart came to a sudden stop. Sasha looked up and spoke for the first time.
"Why do we stop?",she asked.
The driver merely pointed forward. Sasha realised they were at the foot of a huge castle, looming silently over them against the steel-colored sky.
"Here's the place",bellowed the driver, dismounting the cart and lifting a stone in his hand. He threw the stone at the castle gates, and they slowly rised. He got back on the cart, and they entered the castle.
Sasha closed her eyes again, blocking the sight of the world around her. When she opened them again, she found herself in the middle of the castle courtyard, green and mossy, with overgrown hedges, a fountain full of scum, and thorny vines creeping up the wall. It was a very gloomy sight. It reminded Sasha of a scene from The Legend Of Zelda.
When she looked forward again, she realised the driver and horses were gone. But where could they go? There was no exit to the courtyard except for the entrance they came in through. And the man couldn't have unharnessed the horses so quick and silently.
Sasha understood immediantly what was going on. It was all an illusion. The driver and horses where merely visions. Then it came to her that maybe the cage was a deception too. Unfortunately, it wasn't. But, maybe she could try to escape. Sasha nibbled at the ropes that held the cage together. They broke! She chewed through the other ropes, and finally, she swung open the cage door. Liberty at last! Sasha climbed out of the cage, and walked a few paces away from it. Next, she scanned her surroundings. Was there any way to get out of there? The gates of the main entrance where shut the moment they came in. But, could she open them somehow?
"Think, Sasha, think",Sasha told herself",there must be some way to open the gate."
Casually looking down, she saw some pebbles scattered on the floor. Quite large, some of them were.
And then it came to her!
"Of course",said Sasha",the driver threw a rock at the gate."
Sasha lifted one of the larger stones.
"It's worth a try",she thought.
The stone went flying in the air and banged loudly against the iron gate. Unfortunately, nothing happened.
"Didn't work",said Sasha",I wonder why?".
"Because you're an IDIOT!",boomed a voice suddenly.
Sasha turned around, and saw what she feared she'd see. Sitting in a high throne, with torches burning on both sides, sat none other than Belladonna herself!
Flo and Charlie came to a sudden stop. They were at the foot of a huge castle with dark walls.
"That must be it,"said Flo.
"Yeah, but how do we go in?",said Charlie.
Flo looked around, and suddenly saw a drain canal that came from inside the castle, which was the source of the moat outside. It was the only way in besides the main entrance, which they didn't dare to take in case it was being guarded.
"Let's get in through there",said Flo, pointing at the underwater canal.
Charlie hesitated. They didn't know how long it was, how much air they had to breath in, and if there was anything alive down there such as alligators or something. And worse still, they didn't have any tags to waste. Charlie had only one, and they might need it in the future. With the hurry, Anabelle had forgotten to give them some.
"OK, I'll go down",said Charlie",and see how long it is."
"Shouldn't we both go?",suggested Flo.
"No, if we both get killed, where would we be?",said Charlie.
Walking to the edge, Charlie get's ready to dive.
"If I don't come back in ten minutes, find another way in",said Charlie",and take this with you".
Charlie tosses Flo his only tag. Flo catches it, and before she can say anything, Charlie submerges himself in the cold, murky water and swiftly swims into the canal.
It seems like an eternity, but finally, Charlie surfaces again. Flo is relieved.
"It's about twenty feet long, so we gotta be fast",said Charlie",are you ready?"
Flo gets up and jumps into the water.
"Ready, Charlie!",she says.
Both at the same time, Charlie and Flo dive into the murky water.
Charlie leads the way and swims swiftly towards the other end. Flo swims fast too, but has problems holding her breath for a long time. In the end, Charlie pushes Flo in front of him, praying for her not to drown.
At last they surface in a big and dark room full of shallow water. Flo and Charlie gasp for breath, and finally stand up since they can now reach the floor.
"What is this place?",asks Flo.
"Probably a laundry room that rotted with disuse",said Charlie.
Walking around, they find stairs that lead to an upper floor, and cautiously climb them. Light seeps through the cracks in the wall, which indicated the that they were close to the surface.
At the end of the stairs, Charlie and Flo find an old, rotten door made of wood. Charlie gives it a push, and it creaks open. A little garden full of weeds greets them, and a long corridor at the end of the garden as well. Light shines brightly into their eyes, but not a soul is in sight.
"Well, we're in",said Charlie",let's start looking for Sasha."
Sasha stared at Belladonna. The devil whippet was now rising from her throne and walking towards her. She smiled malignantly, and her smile filled Sasha with fury.
"Of course, Belladonna. You're behind all this",said Sasha.
"And who else would be so brilliant to design such an evil scheme?",mocked Belladonna", now you are all alone, hopeless and weak, and I can finally get even with that worthless cousin of mine, capturing her favorite little angel, Charles Barkin, in this stupid book. See? That's what you get reading too much until your brain swells like a balloon."
Sasha was infuriated.
"You'd better not harm my Charlie,"growled Sasha", or I'm gonna.."
"SHUT UP! What do you think you can do, you little blister",snapped Belladonna", you're just the bait anyway. Merely a lure to make him come to me. That idiot is bound to show up, and when he does, I'll make him wish he never borrowed this stupid book."
Sasha suddenly had a thought. The way Belladonna said 'this book', it meant that they were not interfering with any historical events, only caught in the book itself, not back in time. Also, Belladonna was expecting Charlie to come, and that meant he would undoubtfully come. Charlie was coming to rescue Sasha, and this was both good and bad. Good, because Sasha knew Charlie would never let her down, he would rescue her or die trying, and this made her feel very nice.
Bad, because Belladonna had planned it this way.
"If only I could warn Charlie",thought Sasha.
Belladonna was talking, but mostly to herself.
"They really make these castles unconvenient,",said Belladonna", all the corridors are dead ends, and they all lead to the courtyard. If y'wanna go to the kitchen, of the great hall, y'gotta cross the darn courtyard every blazing time. Twice a morning, twice at noon, and so on..."
Sasha was suddenly struck by an idea. If all the corridors lead to the courtyard, then even if Charlie came in through another entrance, he was sure to end up here. That way, he would be able to pick up Sasha's scent.
But Sasha was thinking in something else. There was a little patch of wet sand not too far from her, and if she could write a message to him in that sand, he would surely find it.
Sasha decided to take action. While Belladonna was talking to herself, Sasha slowly walked towards the sand, sat down, and with one finger, wrote the following:
Charlie: I'm ok. Belldonn waiting 4 U. B careful. Love, S.
Next, Sasha got up, and walked slowly around the courtyard to leave her scent. But she was interrupted by Belladonna's menacing voice.
"Hey, this ain't no hotel for ya t'be walking around",said Belladonna", I guess you'd better go to your cell. Come on!"
Sasha stopped. Belladonna made a gesture for her to come towards her, and Sasha had to obey.
"Go forward, blister",said Belladonna", just t'make sure ye don't try nothin' funny".
Sasha went in front, and they entered one of the dark corridors that lead to the prison cells.
"Oh, Charlie",thought Sasha",I hope you're alright".
After crossing the little garden, Charlie and Flo walked down the dark corridor. It seems to extend forever into the darkness, until they finally reach the end. Charlie looks around. They are in the courtyard of the castle, where just minutes ago Sasha had been.
"Now this is what I call vegetation",said Flo, looking at the overgrown hedges.
Charlie walks into the yard, and suddenly something strikes his senses. He lifts his nose in the air and takes a long, deep breath. Then he recognises a scent.
"Sasha!",said Charlie",she was here, very recently."
Charlie sniffs the ground, and comes up with another scent, one that makes his eyes go wide.
"Belladonna was here too',said Charlie.
Then he sees a patch of sand, and slightly makes out some scribbles and scratches on it.
"Flo, look at this",said Charlie",it's a message".
Flo gets closer, and they both examine the writing. Finally, they understand it.
"Belladonna is waiting for you. Be careful,"said Charlie",Love, Sasha."
"That devil knows we're here",said Flo.
"Or so she supposes",said Charlie",she knew I'd come to rescue Sasha, she planned it that way."
"What now, Charlie",asked Flo.
Charlie sat down and thought. He could follow Sasha's scent, but maybe that was what Belladonna expected. Then again, if Charlie didn't hurry, Belladonna could harm Sasha, and that would be something he would never forgive.
"If only I knew where Sasha is",thought Charlie.
"Charlie",said Flo", we still have one tag. You could use it to find Sasha."
Charlie seriously thought about this. But he decided not to use it yet.
"I might need it later",said Charlie",so, what I'll have to do is follow Sasha's scent. But that may put you in danger too."
"Don't worry about me, Charlie",said Flo",since the moment I got into this crazy world I knew I'd be in danger. I'll follow you."
"Thanks, Flo",said Charlie.
And bracing their selves to anything, Charlie follows Sasha's scent, that leads them into the dark corridors again.
Dark Castle Dungeon
Sasha was locked into a jail cell in the underfloor dungeon. Everything around her was moist and darkened with time. She was bored, and worried about Charlie. The only thing she could do to make time pass was sleep on the cold bed of straw that hung from the wall. Belladonna had gone to the main hall to wait for Charlie to show up, or so she said.
Sasha was sick with fear thinking what Belladonna could do to Charlie. Worst of all, Sasha couldn't help him or at least warn him about the trouble. She had hopes that Charlie would find her message in the sand, but what if he didn't? All these thoughts invaded her mind, and she couldn't take it anymore. Sasha began to cry. All she could do was pray for Charlie to be alright, and hope for the best.
"Oh, Charlie",Sasha sobbed",please, be careful."
Sasha cried until she was too tired to keep on. Then she just curled up on the bed and instantly fell asleep, an empty and dreamless sleep. Only time would tell the ending of this horrible day.
Charlie and Flo got to the end of the corridor, and found a large, decorated room. It was better illuminated that the other parts of the castle and very clean and tidy indeed. This was very strange. Charlie had a feeling it was a trap of some kind. There were candles burning away on an altar in the corner; or at least it looked like an altar.
"I don't like the looks of this place",said Charlie.
"It's too clean to be deserted",said Flo.
Suddenly, a voice from came from somewhere around them.
"SO YOU DON'T LIKE TIDY ROOMS, HUH?",it shouted.
"That voice",said Charlie.
"I'VE BEEN WAITING FOR YOU",it boomed again .
"Of course!",exclaimed Charlie",It's you! Come out, you demon! Stop hiding!"
Belladonna stepped out of he shadows, smiled malignantly. Charlie glared fiercely at her.
"OK, Belladonna",said Charlie in a menacing tone", where is she?!"
"I do not know what you are referring to",taunted Belladonna.
"Don't give me that",snapped Charlie",you know what I'm talking about! You better tell me where Sasha is right now!"
"And, supposing I don't",sneered Belladonna", what would you do?"
Charlie took a step forward, and Belladonna simply laughed.
"You're not gonna solve anything with violence",teased Belladonna trying to sound like Anabelle",but if you insist!..."
Fire surrounded Belladonna, and she hovered in the air above them.
"Anyone for roast angel?!",said Belladonna.
Charlie and Flo were ready to strike. Belladonna hurled a blazing ball of flames at them, but they dodged it easily. The fireball went right through the floor, making a large hole. Belladonna hurled more fireballs at them, thus making more holes on the floor, and on the walls too. Charlie and Flo couldn't attack, but they could at least dodge the blazing flames. What Belladonna forgot was that directly under them was the dungeon, and the holes that her fire made in the walls could be used as escape routes for prisoners. And that's exactly what happened.
Sasha woke up. There was an intense heat in the room she was in. Fire was consuming everything around her, and there were large, scorched holes on the walls. Sasha realised that if she didn't do something quick, she would be consumed as well. Suddenly, a ball of blazing fire flew over her head, and crashed on the wall behind her, making a large hole. She could see the outside world through that hole, and only one thought came to her mind in that moment, she could escape!
With a terrific leap through the hole, Sasha was out of the castle and running into the distant forest. She had to get as far away from the castle as possible, so that Belladonna would have a hard time finding her. It would be dark by the time Sasha got to the forest. The sun was hiding behind the horizon.
"Oh, Charlie",thought Sasha as she ran",be strong, please".
Belladonna was growing exhausted. Her fire was weakening slowly. Charlie and Flo noticed this, and took advantage. Flo leaped into the air, pouncing on Belladonna and pinning her to the ground.
"Great move, sis",said Charlie, quite impressed.
Belladonna was furious. She tossed this way and that, trying to bite Flo with her vampire-like teeth.
"Now, you'd better tell us were Sasha is",said Flo.
"Not in your life,"snapped Belladonna.
"Cough it up, Belladonna! Or I'm gonna...",Charlie's voice was interrupted be a loud collapsing sound. The ceiling was falling on them!
Belladonna managed to free herself, and vanished in a blast of fire.
"Try the cellar, you twits, I'm outta here",she shouted as she disappeared.
"We have to find Sasha and get out of here, Charlie",said Flo.
"But where is she? Where's the cellar?",said Charlie.
Suddenly, it came to him. Charlie jumped down one of the large holes in the floor, followed by Flo, and there it was, the dungeon. He quickly searched each cell, most of them blazing in flames.
"Sasha!",yelled Charlie",where are you!"
The ceiling was starting to crack, and bits of it were falling on Charlie's back. He had checked every cell, but there was no sign of Sasha anywhere.
At that moment, the ceiling came down in large chunks.
"Charlie, we have to get outta here!",said Flo",or we'll both get killed!."
Charlie had no choice. He and Flo jumped out of the nearest hole, and out of the castle they went, just in time. The whole huge castle was burnt to the very founations, and not a single soul could have survived such destruction. Charlie and Flo watched as the castle tumbled down into rubble, and the fire died out when there was nothing else to burn.
Night came as Sasha reached the forest. It was damp and shadowy, but Sasha kept running. Ghostly shapes seemed to loom behind the trees. She was frightened, but she had to run. It was her only hope.
"If only Charlie were here",thought Sasha",I'd feel a lot more secure."
The wet grass seemed to be draining her energy. She needed to stop and rest, but where?
Just then, she came to a large clearing, that looked more like a plain than a clearing. In the distance, a large rock formation loomed against the moonlight. Sasha ran towards it, and saw a cave. The rock had a cave entrance in it, big enough to drive a tow truck with load through.
Sasha had found a good place to hide, and maybe even to sleep for a few hours. She ran all the way to the cave and looked in. She could see another entrance at the end. It was like a big stone pipe with entrances at both ends. She walked cautiously inside, and curled up on the floor close to the wall.
"You have to sleep, Sasha",she said to herself",just a few hours. Then you can go on."
She closed her eyes, and tried to sleep. But her mind was not at peace; she was worried about what had happened to Charlie. Did he find the castle? Did Belladonna get him? Was he alright?
Sasha fell asleep before she could try to find answers to these tormenting questions. All that was left now was hope.
Dark Castle Ruins
"SASHA",called out Charlie",WHERE ARE YOU?".
"SASHA LA FLEUR",yelled Flo.
But there was no answer. The fire had almost died out completely, and only ashes and scorched stone remained.
"This is all my fault",said Charlie with tear dripping from his cheeks",I should have ignored Belladonna and run to the dungeon instead."
Flo felt sorry, but she couldn't do anything to help. She just kept calling out and trying to find any sign of Sasha among the fallen stones and embers.
But she gave up trying. It was impossible to see anything because of the smoke. She just lied down and tried to think of something. Cassually, she lay her head on the soft wet grass, and there it was! Sasha's scent! Flo was instantly up, and sniffed the ground. Yes, it was Sasha alright. She had been here just before the castle tumbled to the ground.
"CHARLIE",called out Flo",come here quick!"
Charlie rushed all the way to where Flo was.
"What is it, Flo",asked Charlie.
Flo didn't need to answer. The scent hit Charlie's senses at once. He sniffed the ground, and went silent. Suddenly, he exploded.
"Sasha's alive!",said Charlie excitedly",she escaped right before the castle fell to the ground."
Charlie tried to follow the scent, and found that it went towards the forest.
"Come on, sis",said Charlie full of hope",we've got to find Sasha."
They ran of into the distance, following their noses. They got to the shadowy the forest, and went on.
Later, though, the grew very tired. The fight with Belladonna had taken a lot from them. They decided to search for a place to sleep. They got to the huge clearing, and found a big cave to spend the night. They went inside through the end opposite to where Sasha was sleeping and looked around. They saw the other end, but it was so dark to make out any shapes. Just darkness.
"You go to sleep, Flo",said Charlie",I'll stay awake and watch for danger."
"Why don't we take turns guarding?",said Flo",that way you can sleep too".
"Don't worry about me",said Charlie",I won't be able to sleep anyway. I'm too worried."
Flo decided not to insist. She just curled up and closed her eyes.
"Good night Charlie",said Flo.
"Good night Flo",answered Charlie.
Flo instantly fell asleep. She was too tired to stay awake any longer.
Charlie was also tired, but he stood at the entrance of he cave, watching, ready for anything to show up. Hours passed. Charlie grew more and more tired. He decided to give up. He curled up, and slept like he never slept before.
Itchy, Balto and Jenna were in the family room. They were all worried about Charlie, Sasha and Flo. Anabelle had to leave, and had instructed them to guard the book very carefully.
"D'you think Charlie and the others are alright",asked Itchy.
"We hope so",said Jenna",I just can't understand how Belladonna managed to do this".
"She must have planned it all ahead",said Balto.
Many were the questions, but the answers were few.
"Let's just hope for the best",said Itchy.
Sasha woke up at the first hours of the morning. It was still dark, and the chill of the night had not yet disappeared. There she was, cold and alone, forced to run from her tormentors. Looking into the darkness, she could only see distant trees and hills, but nothing more.
Would this nightmare ever come to an end, or would she be forced to run forever?
The only thought that came to Sasha now was Charlie. He was for her a symbol of protection, security, love. She longed so much for Charlie to be with her. He would always rise her fallen spirits when she was down. Tears filled Sasha's eyes, streaming down her cheeks. Sasha felt lonely. She had almost forgotten that feeling ever since she met Charlie. Charlie's love had banished her childhood loneliness completely. This was the first time Sasha felt lonely after meeting Charlie, and it seemed to be even more painful now than it was when she was a puppy, for now she knew that there was somebody who truly loved her, back then she didn't.
When Sasha was lonely as a child, she would sometimes sing. She had to express her feelings in some way, let all her sorrow and pain flow out from her heart. She sat down looking into the distance, and began to sing an old, sad folk tune she had heard as a puppy.
It went like this:
'Come all you young fellows so young and fine,
And seek not your fortune in this dark dreary mine,
For 'twill form as a habit and seep in your soul,
Till the stream in your blood is as black as the coal,
For it's dark as a dungeon and damp as th dew,
And the sorrows are many, and the pleasures but few...'
Sasha sung so sweetly, but at the same time so sorrowfully. Her frail voice seemed to seep out of the deepest feelings of her heart.
The cave's echo made her singing travel across the whole place. And, as if miraculously, it reached the ears of another sorrowful soul.
Charlie awakened from his sleep only to find himself in the same place, under the same cave, and with the same empty feeling. The air was chilly, the ground was damp, and his spirits were down.
He wasn't in the mood for running or following scents, but he didn't care. He would follow the trail until he found Sasha, no matter what.
Charlie was thinking or getting a head start and waking Flo. Maybe if they searched in the early morning they would find Sasha asleep in a hidden place.
But in the end, Charlie decided not to wake up Flo. She must have been very tired, because she had been fast asleep for hours.
"Let her sleep",thought Charlie",she deserves it".
Charlie lied down and closed his eyes. And all of a sudden, as if magically, he heard someone singing. Charlie could very faintly hear a soft singing coming from somewhere not too far away.
"Do my ears decieve me?",thought Charlie.
He decided to investigate. Charlie got up, and walked outside. But as he did so, the soft music stopped. He returned inside, and there it was again.
"It must be coming from the other end of the cave",thought Charlie.
He walked slowly towards the other end, and as he did, the singing seemed to get closer. He could make out some of the words now.
Suddenly, something smacked senses. He lifted his nose, and sniffed the air deeply. He could not believe what he sensed.
He started walking faster until he got the the other end. And there she was. Sasha, sitting down and looking into the distance, and singing the sad tune that Charlie has heard. Charlie nearly fell back.
Sasha turned around, and saw him. They stood there silently, too astounded to speak. Tears streamed from Charlie's eyes. He had never heard Sasha sing like that before; so sweet and sorrowful at the same time. It was like hearing her sing for the first time.
"Charlie",said Sasha very cautiously, knowing it could be one of Belladonna's tricks",is that really you?"
"There is no sweeter song than that which seeps out of your heart, Sasha",answered Charlie.
Sasha exploded in tears of both sadness and happiness. She ran towards Charlie, threw her arms around him and cried on his shoulder. Charlie cried too, and hugged her back.
"Oh, Charlie",Sasha cried",it is you. Oh, I missed you so much. I thought Belladonna killed you."
"I thought you were killed in the fire",cried Charlie",oh, thank heavens you're alright, my sweet little Sashy".
Sasha was so happy to have Charlie beside her once again. She just hugged him and cried, giving thanks to the heavens that he was alright. Maybe there was hope of escaping this twisted world after all. Now, the most important thing was that they were together once more.
Charlie & Sasha were so happy. They just stood there, hugging eachother for a while longer. It was a magic moment.
After a while, they stood up and started walking back towards the other end of the cave.
"Flo is still asleep",said Charlie",we're going to have to wake her up."
"Do you know how to get out again, Charlie?",asked Sasha",you know, out of this book?".
Charlie only shrugged.
"No",he admitted",I haven't the foggiest idea".
Charlie & Sasha went to where Flo was. Charlie was about to tap her on the shoulder to wake her up, when she move. After a while, Flo opened her eyes, got up and stretched her forlegs with a yawn. When she turned around, she almost fell over.
She saw something very unexpected. She saw Charlie & Sasha sitting side by side, looking back at her. Flo couldn't believe her eyes.
"It's me",asured Sasha.
Flo suddenly realised that it was true. She ran up to them and gave Sasha a friendy hug.
"Are you alright?",asked Flo",did Belladonna hurt you?"
"I'm fine",said Sasha.
"How did you find us?",asked Flo.
"Well, it was Charlie who found me",said Sasha",just a moment ago. I was sleeping on the other side of the cave."
Flo couldn't believe that so suddenly it all happened.
"Now we can find a way out and return to our world",said Flo
"And that's what we're going to do now",said Charlie.
Everyone was happy. Hope was reappearing in their hearts.
"Oh, by the way",said Flo, sitting up quite seriously",I had a strange dream last night. It was about this strange book."
"We're all ears",said Charlie.
"I was sitting in the family room",said Flo",and Anabelle was talking to me. She said: "Think of this world as a giant book. What do you do when you want to interrupt your reading?". And that's all. I couldn't figure out what she meant".
Charlie suddenly had an idea.
"Hey, I got it",said Charlie",to interrupt your reading you use a book mark!".
Sasha and Flo suddenly realised this.
"Of course!",they exclaimed.
"And where do you leave the mark",asked Charlie.
"At the last page you have been reading!",said Sasha.
"Exactly",said Charlie",now, the last page we have been reading was the same page we came in through. So, maybe if we go to where we started, we might find some answers."
Sasha and Flo found this quite reasonable.
"Getting back won't be difficult",said Sasha",we just have to follow the same path we came from."
And so, all together and with new hopes, Charlie, Sasha and Flo started their journey home.
It has nearly been 24 hours since Sasha, Charlie and Flo had been gone.
Balto, Jenna and Itchy were growing restless. Anabelle had returned with them, ready for anything to happen. She knew Charlie would do his best to rescue Sasha, but she also knew that Belladonna would probably strike without warning. The only thing left was wait and pray.
Charlie was the first to spot the place they had begun. He, Sasha and Flo ran towards the place and looked around. There wasn't much to see, merely a patch of thick grass and trees. But there was something else. A small patch of distorted light hovering in midair. It was like the ripples in a pond when you threw a stone in. Charlie knew instantly what it was.
"That's the way out",said Charlie",I'm sure of it".
"What makes you so sure",asked Flo.
"I can hear voices at the other end",said Charlie.
And he was right. Four different voices echoed from the light. They were the voices of Balto, Jenna, Anabelle and Itchy.
"Ladies first",said Charlie, lifting his paw in direction of the ripples so that Sasha and Flo could go through.
But just then, a loud sound coming from the forest startled them.
They turned around, and then they saw it. A huge, horned monster that could only belong to one person. Belladonna.
And surely enough, it was her. She was walking right beside the huge beast, sneering malignantly.
"Lemme present you all to my friend here",said Belladonna",he's gonna make things get more interesting".
She laughed and mocked, disappearing in a blast of fire.
Charlie looked back, and noticed that the rippled portal was closing slowly. He had to act fast. He grabbed a branch that was lying not far from his feet, and used it to hold the portal open. It didn't hold, but it closed a lot slower than before.
"Sasha, Flo",said Charlie",go now!".
"You heard me",said Charlie",take Sasha with you and get out of here as fast as you can."
"But Charlie...",said Sasha.
"Hurry up! I can't keep it up much longer!",said Charlie",you have to save yourselves!"
"But what about you, Charlie!",excaimed Sasha, a little shocked.
"Never mind me! If we all stay here, we'll all get killed by that beast!",shouted Charlie",you two have to save yourselves!"
"No, I couldn't leave without you Charlie!",bellowed Sasha.
The portal was getting smaller, time was running out.
"Listen Sasha",said Charlie",any moment now, the portal will be closed completely. I can't save myself, I must hold it open for you to go. You have to save yourself. There are people who need you. You must go. Please, save yourself."
Sasha was trying to fight back tears, but she couldn't. The monster was approaching them, ready to leap.
"Sasha, I'm sorry",said Charlie.
"Oh, Charlie",Sasha bellowed.
Flo went up to Charlie. She had tears in her eyes too.
"Here, Charlie",said Flo, handing him them only miraculous tag they had",take this. You'll need it more than I do."
"Thank you, Flo",said Charlie.
The monster took impulse, and jumped at them. Charlie had no choice. Against his will, he pushed Sasha and Flo into the portal, and away they went.
"I love you, Sasha",cried Charlie at the last moment.
Then the portal closed. Charlie managed to dodge the monster's leap, and was back on his feet.
Balto, Jenna, Anabelle and Itchy suddenly heard something. The pages of the book suddenly glowed, and out of thin air, Sasha and Flo appeared. They gently touched ground, and stood up.
"Flo, Sasha!",all of them exclaimed.
They got closer, and it suddenly struck them. Charlie was missing.
"Hey, what about Charlie",asked Itchy.
Flo just lowered her head. Sasha began to cry. Jenna hugged Sasha and tried to confort her.
"Charlie sacrificed himself, to save us",wept Sasha.
"There, there, old friend",said Jenna",everything's going to be alright".
Charlie was standing in front of the huge horned beast. He was infuriated; but at least he knew that Sasha was alright.
"Okay, then",said Charlie to the beast",let us have a drop or two of that blood of yours".
The monster lunged at Charlie, and he dodged it nicely. Suddenly, out of the corner of his eye, he saw something shiny on the creature's back.
"Well",said Charlie",what do we have here?"
With a terrific leap, Charlie was up on the monster's back. He found a shiny, purple jewel incrusted into the beasts skin.
Charlie didn't think twice, he pulled the jewel out, and hurled it to the ground. At once, the monster began to shrink, until it vanished completely.
Charlie had defeated it.
"Oh, well",sighed Charlie",that's that."
The forest was now calm. There wasn't a sound. Charlie began to feel very gloomy. He was all alone, trapped inside the book, and with nowhere to go. He looked at the tag he had in his paw. It was made of gold, with the emblem of Heaven in the middle, the same as the wings Charlie used on the chest.
"I guess this it the end",said Charlie to himself.
The tag was the only thing Charlie had to remind him of Sasha and the others. All those adventures and hardships that they lived together poured into Charlie's mind.
"Oh, Sasha",said Charlie gloomily",I miss you".
Charlie lowered his head, held the tag close to he heart, and closed his paw around it. He just wished he could see his friends at least one last time, perhaps to say goodbye. Charlie closed his eyes. This was the end. Belladonna had won.
The tag was held close to Charlie's angel wings emblem on his chest. The wings reflected the condition of the user, and with Charlie's heart shriveled by sadness, the emblem also glowed with sadness. The tag seemed to begin to glow too. Charlie didn't notice all this. It would seem as though the tag and the emblem where comunicating in some way.
Then, the tag glowed brightly, and filled the place with light. All the trees and darkness seemed to desintegrate with the light. Belladonna, who was nearby, noticed this, and began to yell and swear angrily.
All at once, Charlie was sitting in the middle of an empty nothingness, which them materialized as the old and much loved family room of their home.
Sasha was still crying on Jenna's shoulder. The others had tears in their eyes as well, including Anabelle.
"Charlie was a good pal",mourned Itchy.
"And a good brother",mourned Flo.
"Knock it off, you guys",said Jenna, trying to confort Sasha",don't drop more wood into the fire."
Jenna was right. Those coments would only make the whole thing sadder.
Balto remembered how he and Charlie use to laugh and joke. He also remembered how they use to run the obstacle course in the park playground, and see who could get to the end first; they would usually end at the same time. Balto had never had a friend like Charlie. They considered themselves 'blood-brothers', or so they like to think. Sasha and Jenna said they were like two beans in a pod, alike, but quite different at the same time. Balto really missed Charlie a lot.
It seemed that all had finished. This was the end of such a great friendship. That's when they all heard something.
They all lookd in direction of the book, and they saw it glowing once more. An intense light poured into the room, and it made them all close their eyes. When they opened them again, the light had disappeared, and a lone figure was sitting there before them right beside the book. Looking closer, they realised it was none other than Charlie himself.
Everyone was spellbound. Charlie was sitting there, with his head low, and his eyes closed. He seemed to be holding something in his paw.
Jenna was the first to speak.
"Chucky?",said Jenna",is that you."
Charlie suddenly opened his eyes and looked up. He was surprised to find himself in the family room, surrounded by his friends, with his Lexus History of the World beside him. Then he remembered the tag he was holding. He opened his paw, but it was not there anymore.
"What happened?",asked Charlie with a puzzled look.
Everyone was puzzled, but they were also happy to have Charlie back.
"It is Charlie!",exclaime Flo",he's back!"
Sasha ran towards him, and gave him a hug. Charlie was still puzzled, but he was also happy. He hugged Sasha back.
Anabelle knew exactly what had happened.
"Charles",said Anabelle",when you held the tag you held close to your emblem, it realised how you felt. Knowing that you gave your own life in order to save your friends, the tag decided to help you, and broke the whole cursed world with holy light. And now, here you are, back home, where you belong."
They all understood now why Charlie seemed to be holding something, and why he had his head lowered. It seemed that all had ended happily, and their friendship would live on.
But all of a sudden, the book glowed once more, and who should emerge from it, but Belladonna, the demonic whippet. She held a purple jewel in her paw, the same one that Charlie had pulled out of the horned beast's back.
"I'm not through with you yet!",yelled Belladonna.
Charlie was about to move towards her, but Balto held out his paw, and stopped him.
"Don't worry Charlie, you assist Sasha, she needs you help",said Balto; then he pointed towards Belladona",I'll take her on."
Balto walked towards Belladonna, and the devil dog started laughing sarcastically.
"So, you want to challenge me, wolfie?",said Belladonna",I'll teach you what's good".
Belladonna lifted the jewel, and it shot a beam of light towards Balto. He dodged it, and saw how it scorched the floor.
"As long as I hold this",said Belladonna",I'm invincible!"
Jenna was at Balto's side at once. She had another brilliant idea. Balto read her thoughts. He leaped from one side to the other and taunted Belladonna.
"You couldn't hit a thing with that little beam of yours",said Balto.
Belladonna shot more beams at Balto, but he got out of the way without much effort. While Belladonna was distracted, Jenna creeped behind her, and jumped. She snatched the jewel from Belladonna's paw, and ran of with it. She tossed it to Balto, and he held it between his teeth.
"Hey! Give that back!", shouted Belladonna.
"Go get it',said Balto, tossing it out the open window.
The jewel fell all the way down, and broke into a thousand pieces. Belladonna was now defenseless. Balto & Jenna where ready to strike again. Belladonna knew she had lost. The only thing she could do now was retreat,
"You might have won this time, but I'll be back",growled Belladonna",and I'll get even with all of you; especially you, wolf-dog!"
She pointed fiecely at Balto. Then, she disappeared in a blast of fire.
"And when she's back, we'll be ready for her",said Jenna.
They had triumphed! Belladonna was defeated. They all got together and congratulated themselves for the fancy work they had done.
Flea Bite Cafe
That night, they all got together at the Cafe to celebrate their victory. They were all happy to have won this battle. Anabelle was present also, and everyone was enjoying the moment.
Balto, who was the best for speeches, was anked to lead a toast. Everyone filled their glasses with soda, and Balto spoke up.
"Ladies and gentlemen",said Balto,"I would like to lead a very special toast, to a very great friend. Now as we all know, thanks to the brave efforts of my blood-brother Charlie B. Barkin, the lives of the two dear young ladies, Florence and Sasha La Fleur, had been saved. My brother has done something that only a great heart can accomplish, sacrificing his own life to save others. No reward is too great for this feat of sheer courage."
Balto lifted his glass.
Ladies and gentlemen,"he said", here is my toast: to Charlie B. Barkin, brave and strong, to his happiness and long life, and to our friendship. Cheers!"
The glasses dinged, and everyone sipped fresh soda.
Sasha gave Charlie a soft kiss on his cheek.
"Thank you, Charlie",said Sasha sweetly.
Charlie was happy. He knew that, no matter what happened, his friends would always be there to help him.
"Thank you all",said Charlie",You are the best friends I've ever had".
Everyone smiled. This was a moment they would all treasure for the rest of their lives.