Ryan sat on the couch nervously biting his thumbnail. The news was reporting that it had been 2 weeks since Dr. Apocalypse had escaped from his maximum security mental institution. Surely he would come after Ryan and Sawyer. After all, if not for them, Apocalypse would have succeeded in his plot to take over the world. Not only that, but he also knew about Sawyer. If he was willing to kill for Ryan's hockey stick, what would he do to acquire a dog as special as Sawyer. Ryan looked at his pet who was also watching the report.
"What do you think?" asked Ryan
"I think we need to find him before he finds us." said Sawyer
"Find him? Why?" said Ryan "Whatever he's doing, that's up to the police to handle. Let them find him."
"And if they don't? What if he's scheming to take over the world again? What if he's planning to get revenge on us?" asked Sawyer
Ryan thought for a minute then answered:
"OK, so where would we even start to look for him?" asked Ryan "Surely he wouldn't go back to his abandoned warehouse and the police have checked all the other abandoned buildings and found nothing."
"Exactly." said Sawyer "He isn't hiding in the shadows, he's hiding in plain sight."
"As in..." Ryan's voice trailed off.
"As in, he's probably underground or in an unused space in the mall. He has to be right in front of us. We just need to check those places first." explained Sawyer
Ryan and Sawyer went to work on the internet searching for the floor plans of different buildings in the area. After a few hours of searching, they got a lead.
"Here's something." said Sawyer "The mall has an elevator that goes into the basement, but only if you enter a special code."
"So he hacked it?" asked Ryan
"No, I don't think it can be hacked. It's kind of old looking." said Sawyer
"Well, who has the code?" asked Ryan
"It looks like only mall security has access to the code." said Sawyer
"Try to find out if the mall hired any new security guards since the good doctor escaped." said Ryan
Sawyer typed and clicked for a few minutes then found what they were looking for.
"There!" said Sawyer as he pointed his paw at the screen. "Recognize that guy?"
"Yup. That's one of Dr. Apocalypse's henchmen. The one who tried to clean up after you. Looks like we found our hideout." said Ryan
Ryan and Sawyer got into their truck and drove to the mall. Ryan had made a few improvements to his shotgun, so he was now able to hide it under his hooded sweatshirt. Sawyer hid his AK-47 that he had gotten after their encounter with Alex and Tressa in his back pack. The two walked to the mall entrance but were confronted by a security guard.
"Be cool." Ryan whispered to Sawyer
"Hold it." said the mall security guard "You can't bring that dog in here."
"We're here to get our picture taken. The photo store said they'd do it. We called ahead." said Ryan
The guard looked down at Sawyer and frowned. "Fine, but keep him on a leash and if he makes a mess, you'll be fined for littering." said the guard
Sawyer wanted to bite the guards leg off, but just wagged his tale and pretended to be ignorant. Ryan put a leash on Sawyer and led him inside.
"This is so humiliating." said Sawyer under his breath.
"Just be cool. It was your idea to come here in the first place." said Ryan "Now keep your eyes peeled. We need to find a way downstairs."
The two walked in the direction of the photo store while trying to find a way downstairs.
"Hey, there's our ticket." said Ryan as he motioned towards a security guard standing alone by the food court. He was eating a doughnut and didn't seem very interested in guarding anything.
"That's the guy on the computer. Dr. Apocalypse's guy." said Sawyer
Ryan walked up behind him and pressed the muzzle of his shotgun up against his back.
"Hey, chump. Remember me?" said Ryan as he startled the guard. "Now, don't make me make a mess of you in front of all these nice shoppers. Just bring us downstairs and we can have a nice talk."
"I don't know what you're talking about." said the guard
Ryan clicked the safety off of his shotgun and pressed it into the guards back a little harder.
"Take us to the elevator." said Ryan
The guard looked down at Sawyer, who was baring his teeth at him.
"If you insist." said the guard as he started off towards the elevator
They entered the elevator and descended into the basement of the mall. Once out of sight, Ryan and Sawyer took their weapons out.
"He isn't going to be happy to see you." said the guard. "I suggest y--"
Sawyer knocked the guard out with the butt of his weapon and began securing him with a roll of duct tape. The basement was dimly lit and dusty. It was obvious that very few people knew about this place and even fewer ever came down here. The room they were in was about half the size of the mall itself and was full of boxes and shelves.
"He must be down here somewhere." said Ryan "Let's check it out."
They walked together along the wall of the basement, checking down the many aisles of shelves and stacked boxes. Sawyer stopped and put his nose to the air.
"It smells like something is burning." said Sawyer "Not a fire, but like a boiling liquid."
Just then, the lights turned on and out stepped Dr. Apocalypse. He was wearing a pair of tinted goggles with a few small green lights that blinked on and off.
"I'm so glad you two could make it!" said Apocalypse "I've been waiting here forever, wondering if you two were brave enough to face me again."
"Yes, we are." said Ryan as he raised his shotgun. "And now it's time to put an end to whatever your scheme is."
"Scheme? I'm shocked that you would think I would plot against the world a second time." said Apocalypse "No, I am turning over a new leaf. No longer will I dedicate my incredible brain power to taking over the world. Until further notice, I have only one goal in mind."
"And what's that?" said Ryan
"Revenge, of course." said Dr. Apocalypse
Just then, Ryan felt a gun pointed against the back of his head. It was another of Apocalypse's guards. He had also freed the other guard who did not seem to happy about the bruise he had gotten from Sawyer.
"I suggest you drop your weapons and do as we say." said Dr. Apocalypse
Ryan and Sawyer placed their weapons on the ground and put their hands and paws into the air. Ryan was tied up and hung upside down by a pulley on the ceiling of the basement. Sawyer was handcuffed and placed in a chair next to Dr. Apocalypse.
"Turn that frown upside down." mocked Dr. Apocalypse "Do you know why I wear these goggles?" he asked
"Save it." said Ryan
Dr. Apocalypse ignored him and began to explain the purpose of the goggles.
"After you foiled my plans last time, I was left in a coma for two months. Once I awoke, I found that I was blind. Later, it was revealed that I was not exactly blind, but my eyes were actually gathering every last bit of light in the room, causing me to only see white. Once all light is removed from the room, I see pitch black. So, I constructed these goggles. They adjust to the light in the room and allow me to see no matter how dark or light it is." explained Dr. Apocalypse
"You know, they've been making glasses like that for years and they don't look as retarded as yours." said Ryan
"Shut up, fool!" said Apocalypse "I have grown weary of your remarks. It is time to say goodbye to this world. Your beast will watch you die, then he will follow your fate."
The pulley that held Ryan upside down began to move towards a huge box in the middle of the room. The guards hurried over to remove the box, revealing a cauldron of boiling acid. The pulley stopped Ryan just above the acid and slowly began to lower him down. Panicking, Ryan began to swing from side to side.
"There's no hope, fool. Just give in." laughed Dr. Apocalypse
Sawyer frantically looked for a way to help his friend. His gun was just a few feet away, but unless he could free himself from his cuffs, he couldn't use it. Ryan was halfway to the acid when Sawyer strained to pull one of his paws free. With a howl of pain, he ripped his right paw free, losing fur and skin in the process. Dr. Apocalypse was stunned by the howl, but quickly recovered to try to tackle the animal. Sawyer was too fast though and grabbed the machine gun, racked a round into the chamber and pointed it at the doctor's head. Sawyer yelled to the guards to stop lowering Ryan into the acid, but all they heard was an angry bark.
"Drop him now!" cried Dr. Apocalypse
The guard controlling the pulley hit the release button. Ryan swung the pulley as hard as he could. Sawyer turned towards him and fired a burst at Ryan's rope, causing the guards to dive for cover. One of the bullets hit Ryan's rope, breaking it. Ryan fell, hitting the rim of the cauldron and landing in a thud on the floor. Ryan crawled for cover as Sawyer took the doctor hostage. Once he was behind the boxes, Ryan shook himself free of his ropes. Sawyer threw him his shotgun and took the doctor towards Ryan. The guards peaked their heads over their cover. Ryan fired a warning shot, but instead of ducking back down, the guards opened fire.
"Sawyer, try to cover me!" said Ryan as he crouched down and started moving to the sides of the guards. Sawyer fired his machine gun towards the guards. They ducked this time so Ryan made his move. He got behind the first guard and knocked him out with the butt of his shotgun. "I can't believe that works every time." said Ryan under his breath as he moved on to the next guard. He snuck up behind him and pressed the gun against his head. The guard froze and dropped his weapon. Ryan ordered him to carry the other guard to where Sawyer was waiting with Dr. Apocalypse.
"You lose again, Doc." said Ryan with a smirk
Dr. Apocalypse snarled back and cried out in anger.
"Not again!" he yelled as he grabbed Sawyer's machine gun and ran for the elevator. He turned to fire it, but the stock and grip had been modified for Sawyer's paws. Unable to fire it, he threw it down and ran.
"Hold it!" yelled Ryan
Dr. Apocalypse ignored him and kept running. Ryan blasted two rounds into the side of the cauldron, causing the acid to leak out, blocking Dr. Apocalypse's escape. Apocalypse hesitated for a moment, then tried to run through the puddle that had formed. Seeing that the puddle would not slow him enough, Ryan aimed his shotgun at Dr. Apocalypse's legs and pulled the trigger. The evil scientist fell face first into the puddle. He immediately jumped back up, screaming in pain as he dove for dry ground.
* * * * *
By the time the police and ambulance arrived, Dr. Apocalypse had been burned very badly. Ryan explained what had happened to the police who thanked him for finding the escaped mental patient. They took the two guards into custody and escorted Ryan and Sawyer back to the main floor of the mall.
When they got back home, Ryan found a note on the table.
Gone to Starbucks. Be back later. -Annie
"Dr. Apocalypse survived his burns." said Sawyer
"Yeah. He's probably really ticked off at us now." said Ryan
"Do you think we've heard the last of him?" asked Sawyer
"I don't know." said Ryan "I guess that will be a story for another time."