“RAAARGH!” Micky yelled as he shimmered into visibility, fangs on full display, his blue eyes wide and glittering with insanity.
Peter chuckled at him as he toweled his hair dry, moving toward the bedroom. “You’re improving.”
“What?” Micky demanded, spreading his hands. “You weren’t the least bit scared?”
“Startled, yes. Scared, no.” He TK’ed an outfit to his waiting hands and started dressing as he went on, “Halloween is thirty days away, and we all know your penchant for—“ He blinked, startled as he looked down. “….pranks….”
Micky grinned as he spit the fanged false teeth into his hand. “That one, I didn’t do. That one, you did all by yourself!”
“Yeah, yeah…” Peter sighed as he looked miserably down at his legs and the several inches of bare skin that now gapped between his pants cuff and the floor. “I forgot about this annoying detail!” He shrugged on his cloud-patterned shirt and padded barefoot toward the staircase.
Mike was no help, either – leaning against the wall and grinning unrepentantly as Peter raided his closet. “So – how’s it feel bein’ four inches taller?”
“I like it; it’s just the details of it slipped my mind.” He slid into a longer pair of pants. “Thanks for letting me borrow these.”
“I’ll be glad when you and Valerie can get your own,” he shot back. “When are you going?”
Peter smiled at him. ”Tomorrow. Your pants will be all yours again after that.”
“My bulging laundry thanks you,” Mike quipped and they both laughed.
“So,” Peter asked casually as he sat down and pulled on his shoes, “everything back where it belongs this morning?”
Mike grinned and raised a hand, which began glowing. “Just like Roma said – I’m a glowworm again.”
“Good – then everything’s normal again.” Peter stood up, only to have Mike’s hand land on his chest.
Images of Micky with blue eyes and a still-recovering Melanie slid into Peter’s mind.
Eyes locked onto Mike’s, Peter smiled. She will heal. Their love will help them through.
Mike chuckled as he lowered his hand. “I wonder if Micky has any idea of how much his life is going to change?”
“I don’t have any idea!” And Peter regaled Mike with the surprise Micky’d pulled on him minutes earlier.
Both ‘brothers’ were soon sitting on the bed, holding their sides as they howled with laughter.
The man sat and watched the clouds roll by outside the large windows of the common room. His large blue eyes watched the sky and he shivered at the faint muscle memory of wind along his skin and the gentle tug and release along his shoulders.
He sighed and tilted his head to the side, feeling the gentle brush of lengthening brown locks tickle his neck. He raised a hand and rubbed his shoulderblade as the tug and release played in his memory.
Once, he’d had wings. Once, he’d been able to fly.
He flexed his fingers and remembered razor-sharp talons being there.
When he’d lost his powers, he’d lost his mind. The mind was slowly returning… the powers remained gone.
Belatedly realising someone was calling his name, he blinked and turned.
A young nurse stood there, smiling at him. “Your new doctor’s here.”
With a sigh, Farnsworth stood and retied the belt of his robe. He nodded, and walked beside her into a smaller, windowless room.
A short man with dark hair stood up and smiled behind his goatee. “Ah, Mister Farnsworth,” he said, shaking his patient’s hand. His voice held an exotic accent. “It is nice to finally meet you. I’m your new doctor – My name is Anton Marcovich.”
For the next week, Marcovich worked intensely with Farnsworth. He used no drugs or anything but his words.
After one of the sessions, Farnsworth asked him, “Why?”
“Why what?” Marcovich asked, finishing the paperwork he’d been given.
“Why are you doing this? What’s in it for you?”
There was a pause. Marcovich twirled the pen in his fingers before he set it down and raised his eyes to Farnsworth’s. “In it for me?”
Farnsworth leaned forward, drilling his doctor with narrow, piercing blue eyes. “What do you have to gain by doctoring the freak?”
He smiled. “Freak, Ronald? Hardly. You have had a shattering of the mind, but that’s hardly freakish.”
Farnsworth shook his head. “Nobody told you what shattered my mind? You didn’t read my chart?”
“Yes, I read your chart. It was an interesting piece of fiction.”
Marcovich nodded. “Yes. Fiction. Honestly – transforming into a bird-man? Unassisted flight?”
“It was real. It was ALL real. And if the damn powers hadn’t worn off mid-battle, I would have won.”
Marcovich leaned forward. “Suppose for a second I believe you. What would you have won?”
“Ah, yes. Valerie Cartwright. Your chart reports your unhealthy fixation with her.”
“UNHEA—“ Farnsworth shot to his feet. “I’m not the one with an unhealthy fixation! She is mine – she was destined to be mine! It’s her that has the unhealthy fixation with him!”
There was a knock on the door at that moment, and a nurse put her head into the room. “Doctor, it’s Mister Farnsworth’s lunchtime.”
“Thank you, Betty.” He nodded at his patient, who nodded back and readjusted the knot on his robe. When they were almost at the door, Marcovich asked, “Ronald?”
He turned, frowning slightly.
Farnsworth’s lip curled in a disgusted sneer. “Peter Tork.” Betty led him out of the room and closed the door.
Neither of them noticed the look of startled, shocked recognition on the psychiatrist’s suddenly pale face.
Mike was curled up on his bed reading, when he felt a tickle in his mind. He raised his head and thought an image of Peter with a question mark.
Yeah, he thought back. Can I come in?
A wave of affirmation, and the bedroom door opened. Mike sat up, marking his place in the book and setting it on the nightstand. “What’s up?”
“Well… I want to do something, but it’ll cause a temporary hit to our wallets.”
“How bad and how long?”
“My share of the mortgage payment – and three months.”
Mike frowned. “Your share of th—okay, what’s up?”
“Hm?” Peter tried the innocent routine.
That earned him a gentle cuff to the back of the head. “Don’t do that, you’re not very good at it anymore. So – suppose you tell me just what you need three hundred dollars for.”
Peter smiled and absently rubbed the palm of his right hand. “A ring.”
“A ring? What on earth –? If you want a ring, why not ask Micky for one of his? Why would you need three hun—“ He broke off as something occurred to him.
Studying Peter’s blue eyes, Mike thought a picture to him – Peter on one knee, proposing to Valerie.
Peter’s beaming smile was all the answer he needed.
Mike broke into an answering grin, and hugged his link-brother tight, thumping his back in hearty congratulations.
Peter broke the embrace and asked, “So? Can it be done?”
Mike sighed. “We can’t afford that big a hit right now. Maybe we can compromise, though.”
“You set aside half your mortgage share. I can cover that.”
Peter’s eyes widened. “And instead of three months, make it six!” Mike nodded, and the sunny grin returned as he stuck out his hand. “Deal!”
“Deal!” Mike sealed it, shaking Peter’s hand.
Another kind of shaking hands was occurring across town at that exact moment. Anton Marcovich’s hands were shaking violently as he emptied his third glass of vodka.
His brain seemed to be stuck. He could not get Farnsworth’s words out of his mind.
‘Peter Tork’, he’d said. The man who – in Farnsworth’s mind – had driven him to the Falconman delusion….
Was Peter Tork.
Marcovich sank into the recliner in his living room. He could not believe it. He’d tried so hard to forget the events of a year ago.
But here they were – meddling again. “DAMMIT!” he swore, flinging the glass into the fire and enjoying the WHOOMP! the alcohol gave the flames. “Why won’t they leave me alone?
“Why can I not get away from those damnable Monkees?!”
Davy yawned his way out of the bedroom, lured from sleep by gentle guitar music. He moved around the tornado staircase, where he could better see the other side of the living room – and stopped cold, blinking in surprise.
It wasn’t Mike sitting on the windowseat and serenading the ocean. It wasn’t Mike in a pensive mood and trying to soothe his whirling thoughts with the healing touch of music.
It was Micky.
Grinning, Davy picked up the ¾ size bass and sat across from Micky. “Been while since I heard you play guitar.”
Micky spared him a small smile. “Yeah, haven’t really played since we got here.” He winced and ran his thumb over sore fingertips. “Long enough I lost the calluses.”
Davy nodded and coaxed a few low notes from the cut-down guitar. “What’s on your mind?”
Sighing, Micky returned his gaze to the ocean and his fingers to the strings. “How fast things can change in a year.”
“What do you mean?” Davy asked, laying a soft accompaniment to Micky’s melody.
“Been thirteen months to the day since we got our powers,” Micky said. “A year ago today, we were dealing with being actors and hiding our gifts from Mister K.”
Davy chuckled. “I remember. Then we spend the entire month of December bustling through dimensions—“
“—missed Christmas last year,” Micky put in.
“—and ended up here two days after the New Year!” Davy finished. “And now--?”
Micky smiled. “Now Peter’s deeply in love, he and Mike are irrevocably linked, we’re studio musicians makin’ a decent living, we’re really roommates—“
“And you’ve fallen in love, too.”
Micky’s fingers stilled on the strings as he looked at Davy. “It’s that obvious?”
Davy just smiled. “Have you told her yet?”
“I’m going to,” Micky said, looking back out over the ocean. “When the time is right.”
“Just don’t wait too long,” Davy said, standing up and laying the bass aside. “C’mon, let’s get your hand fixed up and wake the ‘brothers’.”
“My hand?” Micky looked down and winced. The fingertips of his left hand had started to bleed.
Marcovich drew a brush through his hair and winced as he looked at the calendar. Fate is a sadist, he decided. I must talk to a man driven to madness by the Monkees on the very anniversary of the date they nearly drove ME to madness!
He scooped up his keys and coat and moved toward the door, only to have the phone ring. “Yes – hello?”
“Anton,” the velvety baritone purred in the exotic language of his homeland. “*You are a very difficult man to trace.*”
His hand tightened on the receiver. “*Please – leave me alone. I can work no more for you – not and stay sane!*”
“*You’ll return, Anton. Somehow, you will. How is not plain to us, yet, but--*”
“*I help people now! I curethem! No more will I harm for you! NO MORE!*” Slamming down the phone, Marcovich took a few ragged breaths to calm himself, then all but ran to his car.
Behind him, the phone jangled into an empty apartment.
When Farnsworth arrived for his appointment, Marcovich smiled tightly at him. “Well, sir – it would appear you and I have discovered common ground.”
“Oh?” Farnsworth asked as he sat down. “And what would that be?”
Marcovich met his eyes. “Peter Tork.”
Narrowed blue eyes went large with shock. “You know of him?”
“Oh, yes. I used to work as an enemy agent. My final assignment was foiled by Tork and his three friends. It took me nearly a year to put my life back together – they had driven me to the point of madness.”
“Nearly a year.” Farnsworth nodded slowly. “October? November?”
“October.” He sighed. “A year ago today, as a matter of fact.”
“Were they powerful?”
“Powerful?” Marcovich frowned. “No… nothing super-human. Merely clever, sneaky, and very lucky.”
“So…” Farnsworth nodded again. “Sometime between October 1967 and early February 1968—the Monkees gain superpowers.”
“No, hear me out! I became Falconman the first week of February. I was fought off and defeated by four super-powered Monkees!”
Marcovich shook his head. “Suppose I believe you. Suppose you are not suffering from a complex delusion. Can you provide me with proof of this?”
Farnsworth began to smile, and a cold feeling spread through Marcovich. He suddenly had the distinct, unsettling feeling he was in way over his head.
Marcovich sat in his office, turning a pen over and over in his hands as he stared at the pad he’d written information on. Once he’d asked for proof, Farnsworth had told him exactly how he’d become Falconman.
Now Marcovich found himself facing a dilemma. He could ignore what he’d learned; dismiss it as the ravings of a delusional mind that was just overly detailed and sophisticated.
On the other hand – what if it were real? This mutagen had the potential to do so much good – or so much harm.
But either way – there seemed to be only one way to find out. Picking up the phone, he dialed the number before he could change his mind. “Hello, Lawson Memorial Hospital? This is Doctor Anton Marcovich – I was told you had discovered a type of mutagen--?”
Half an hour later, he hung up the phone and sat trembling. “It’s true…. It’s all true!”
“Fifteen days till Halloween!” Micky sang as he entered the Pad, arms laden with decorations. “Fifteen days till Halloween!”
Melanie was behind him, her arms laden with candy. The bruises were very faded now, and her beauty was shining through once again. She chuckled after him. “Gee, Micky, what’s your favourite holiday?” she laughed.
“All of them!” he whooped, putting the decorations on the stairs and taking the candy from her arms.
Melanie looked around the Pad, nodding. “So here’s your house.”
“Yup!” Micky found a large silver bowl and began to empty the candy bags into it. “We all live here. “You’ve been here before!”
“Yeah,” Melanie nodded. “But I only saw the outside that time.” Her face went serious and she crossed the room and laid a hand on his arm. “Thank you.”
Micky frowned at her slightly. “Thank me?”
She nodded. “For accepting me.”
His smile lit his face. “I accept you,” he said, putting an arm around her. “I’m even starting to love you.”
“Good,” she said, returning the hug and looking into his eyes. “Because I’m starting to love you, too.”
Micky closed the gap and kissed her tenderly. Her eyes closed as she returned it, a hand reaching to cup his cheek.
The front door opened and Mike walked in. “More decorations? Man, Mick, wasn’t nearly buyin’ out Fletcher’s enough? Hi, Melanie.”
“Hi, Mike,” she replied with a smile.
Micky chuckled. “And they say I have perfect timing?” To Mike, he added, “And I only got a few Fletcher’s didn’t have!”
“Uh-huh.” Mike picked up a cardboard vampyre. Calling it tacky would have been a gross understatement. “Ever think there was a reason Fletcher’s didn’t have these?”
“Aw, now Mike!” Micky protested.
“Yeah, Mike, that’s not fair!” Melanie shot.
Micky nodded. “Right!”
“After all, he can’t help it that he has absolutely no taste in decorating!” she finished, perfectly straight-faced.
”Yeah!” Micky nodded again. “I can’t hel—now wait a minute!”
And both Mike and Melanie erupted with laughter. After a moment, so did Micky. He hugged Melanie one-armed. “You’re gonna fit in here just fine.”
Marcovich paced his apartment, deeply unsettled. His notes and study of Farnsworth pointed to one conclusion – but he didn’t like the picture that was emerging.
Farnsworth’s mind was slowly returning. But it seemed unlikely to ever fully return – unless his powers were restored.
And therein lay the dilemma. With his powers, Farnsworth would be out of Marcovich’s control He would go after Cartwright and Tork in his insane, blind quest to make Cartwright his. But if he didn’t regain his powers, he more than likely would never be sane again.
Letting out a sound of pure confusion, Marcovich sank onto his couch. He sat there with his eyes closed for a long time.
Then he reached out and pulled the phone to him. Dialing a familiar number, he waited. “*Hello, Pavel? It’s Anton – I need your help. I don’t know what to do.*”
Pavel arrived two days later, knocking on Marcovich’s door with a smile and bearing a bottle of wine from their homeland.
Marcovich’s eyes lit up and he took the bottle as Pavel came in. “*How in the world--*” he gasped in delight. “*This is prohibited by customs! How--?*”
Laughter echoed in the living room as Pavel sat down. “*It is amazing what a false label can permit. For you, Anton --- with the Agency’s blessing.*”
Sitting down, Marcovich sat the bottle on the table and fixed Pavel with a glare. “*And just what exactly is the Agency’s price for this blessing?*”
“*So suspicious, Anton! You contacted us, remember?*”
“*I contacted you because I need advice and information, not because I wish to be ensnared by your web again!*”
Pavel smiled tightly. “*You realise, of course, advice and information come with its own price.*”
“Figures,” Marcovich groaned, switching to English. “So – what price do I have to pay this time?”
Chuckling, Pavel leaned back in the chair and steepled his hands. “You’ll find out, Anton. Now – I can best help you figure out what to do about Farnsworth after I talk to him myself.”
Marcovich sighed heavily. “I meet with him tomorrow.”
“Excellent!” Pavel smiled. “I’ll go with you, then. I’ll know more what to tell you after that.”
Davy sighed deeply as he rocked in the hammock. He let his hand trail over the side and skim the ropes of the one below.
A hand stopped the hammock’s motion and a soft, concerned “You okay?” reached his ears.
Davy opened his eyes and smiled. “Hullo, Mike.”
Mike smiled and nodded toward the lounge. “Pull up some leather. Let’s talk.”
“About what?” Davy asked, but he flipped gently into the bottom hammock and moved from there to the lounge.
“About what’s got you frownin’ so hard.” Mike couldn’t resist adding a teasing, “You know you’ll get wrinkles if you keep that up!”
Davy laughed and – making sure he was five-three and thus normal strength – hit Mike gently on the arm. Then he sighed and sobered. “I just keep thinking about how everything’s changing.”
“Life is about change, Davy,” Mike said softly as they sat side-by-side.
“I know, but these have been just…” He shook his head. “I was just getting used to us really being four bachelors. And now Peter’s about to be engaged—“
“After he gets the ring,” Mike put in.
“Yeah,” Davy chuckled. Then he sighed again. “And now Micky is in love, too.”
Mike grinned at him. “And once he gets married, it’ll just be the two of us in this big house.” His grin grew impish. “I dunno, Dave – you think a pair of hot-headed Capricorns can keep from killin’ each other without those two runnin’ interference?”
“I think we can,” Davy said, sadness colouring his tone. “At least until you get married and leave me, too.”
“Now, you’ve got that backwards,” Mike said, his smile fading. “You’re the one gonna get married and leave me.” At Davy’s frown, Mike raised his beringed left hand. “I’m already married, remember?”
“Well, yeah, but that was before – you’re single now, right?”
Mike’s grin returned and he shook his head. “Nope. We stepped into our doubles’ lives, remember? His Phyllis is out there, and he – and therefore, I -- am still married to her. She’ll return to me someday. I’ve Roma’s word on that.” His smile grew and he laced his fingers together over his knee. “I can wait. And I will wait.”
Davy smiled at him, shaking his head slightly. “Ironic.”
“What my power is.” He squeezed Mike’s shoulder. “And I think you’re a stronger man than I am.”
Marcovich and Pavel took Farnsworth for a walk on the grounds. As they walked, Pavel and Farnsworth talked.
Marcovich smiled often during their long conversation. He was rapidly becoming convinced he’d done the absolute right thing in calling Pavel in. He was good with the man – drawing Farnsworth out, aiding him in talking….
Pavel called the walking to a halt. “Yes…” he said in a way that sent alarm slithering up Marcovich’s spine. “Yes, I know exactly how to help you, Farnsworth.”
“Oh?” Farnsworth asked, an eyebrow cocking.
Pavel reached into the pocket of his lab coat and produced a large vial filled to the brim with a pink cloudy liquid.
Farnsworth’s eyes widened and he reached for it. “So much---!”
“Ah-ah.” Pavel said, pulling the vial back. “There’s a catch.”
“Pavel,” Marcovich hissed. “What are you doing?”
Both of them ignored him. Farnsworth’s eyes narrowed. “What catch?”
Pavel shook the vial. “There is enough here to alter your DNA permanently – empower you as your enemies are. In return, all we ask is that you complete a few – small tasks – for us.”
“Yes! Yes, anything!” Farnsworth reached for the vial again. This time, Pavel surrendered it.
Marcovich watched in dumb horror as Farnsworth uncorked the vial and drank the contents. He watched Farnsworth remove his robe and shirt, standing in the courtyard bare-chested.
Then Marcovich saw Farnsworth go to his knees as his body painfully reshaped itself. With a creel of joy and the “WHUMPF!” of beating wings, Falconman climbed to his feet.
“Oh, Pavel,” Marcovich whispered, “what have you done?”
“I’m…different!” Farnsworth’s clawed hands – surprisingly gentle – felt his face. The transformation had altered his appearance. The blue eyes no longer bulged, and the lower jaw had been realigned so that his mouth could close normally instead of in a twisted smirk. Also…”I don’t have the beak!”
Pavel nodded. “You appear more human – it was theorized you would – since you are empowered now.”
“That’s twice you’ve said that,” Farnsworth pointed out, curling a wing around and making sure the feathers were all where they should be. “What exactly do you mean by that?”
Engrossed in their conversation, neither of them noticed Marcovich’s steady stealthy retreat.
Pavel smiled at Farnsworth. “It means you can be human again at will—and you can have your wings at will!”
“At-at will? I’m no longer trapped in one form or another?”
“That’s absolutely right!”
Marcovich heard no more. Once he was absolutely sure he couldn’t be seen by either of them, he bolted for his car and drove like the hounds of hell were on his heels.
Once he was on the turnpike, he pulled over and sat until he could get his trembling under control. Then he realised he had nowhere to go.
Pavel had brought back Falconman – and he’d brought in Pavel! That made it his fault!
Farnsworth, in his ramblings, had spoken about Tork being empowered. Farnsworth had turned out to be right about himself….
Reaching into the floor, he pulled the briefcase onto the seat and opened it. Pulling out tow folders, he slid one back in and opened the other one.
For the first time since seeing Pavel aid Farnsworth in transforming, Marcovich allowed himself to hope as his finger traced a typewritten line on Farnsworth’s admitting form.
Contact person – V. Cartwright. Her address and phone number. P. Tork. 1334 Beechwood, Malibu Beach. 555-3414.
The Monkees were just walking into the Pad from war-games when an unfamiliar car pulled into their driveway. Peter nodded Micky and Davy inside as a second line of defense. He and Mike stood shoulder to shoulder on the top step of their front porch and Peter called down to the dark-haired man getting out of the car. “May we help you?”
The man frowned at him. “You—you do not remember me? Ah, yes – but it has been a year.”
“A year.” Peter looked hard at him. This man had obviously met the other Peter, and he looked strongly familiar.
It clicked suddenly and Peter’s chin rose. A show they’d been filming shortly before they left…. The villain of that show….
The man’s head tilted in a small bow of acknowledgment. “Yes – Anton Marcovich. I remember the four of you – collectively – but putting faces to names is a bit of a blur.”
Mike ignored that attempt at introduction and asked, “Why are you here, Marcovich? What do you want?”
Marcovich spread his hands. “I need your help, Monkees. I realise our last meeting was on opposite sides—“
“Are you saying we are on the same side now?” Peter asked coolly.
“I am saying I have made a grave error and I need your help.”
“Why would we help you?” Mike asked.
Marcovich’s chin rose. “In helping me, you will be helping Tork. It is that simple.”
Mike and Peter looked at each other, and then back at him. They spoke in perfect unison, down to their inflections!
“And just what do you mean by that?”
“Please,” Marcovich sighed. “It’s a very long story – and I’d prefer to tell it once.”
Peter called Micky and Davy outside, and they congregated on the beach below the stairs.
“All right,” Mike said calmly, “we’re all here. Go ahead.”
Marcovich closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and began the rather fantastic tale.
When it ended, Micky summed it up succinctly. “Shit.”
Davy shook his head. “And this time there isn’t going to be a fading?”
Slowly, Marcovich nodded. “This time the mutation is a permanent empowering.”
Mike rubbed his eyes. “Lovely. Absolutely lovely.”
Micky leaned forward. “And what’s to stop us from exposing you for the spy you were, Marcovich?”
Peter held up a hand. “Hold it, guys. He didn’t have to come here and warn us. He could have let us be caught completely off-guard.”
“Peter’s right,” Mike put in. “He didn’t even have to ‘fess up to his part of it – but he did.” He turned and looked at Marcovich. “The only question is, what do you expect from us in return for this information?”
There was a long, somewhat uncomfortable pause as Marcovich debated. At last, he licked suddenly dry lips and met Mike’s eyes. “How good are you at helping people disappear?”
Mike’s eyes flicked involuntarily to Micky before he retorted mildly, “Depends on who you want us to make disappear.”
Marcovich took a deep breath before he replied with one lone word.
Ten days till Halloween, and the eager festive mood that had permeated the Pad – largely thanks to Micky – was suddenly absent. The atmosphere would have been at home in a War Room.
War-games suddenly took on a new urgency. Valerie was never left alone. Melanie was with her when one of the men couldn’t be.
Melanie’s life took on a new and unexpected twist during these few days. After a war-game and somewhat subdued dinner, Micky suggested he walk her home. Once again, Melanie politely refused.
Frustrated, Micky blurted out, “Well, why not? Is there someone you don’t want me to know about?”
She sighed. “No. There’s nobody.”
“Then why? I don’t understand!”
Melanie sighed and tucked her knees up to her chest. “I…I don’t have a home. “
Silence greeted this pronouncement, then Peter asked gently, “Melanie – you wear different clothes every day…”
She lowered her head further, and they barely heard, “I’m a good thief.”
Micky’s arms snaked around her and he just held her, rocking her. Words seemed to have failed everyone.
All eyes turned to who’d spoken the soft pair of words. Valerie was on her feet, her arms crossed over her stomach. “No more,” she repeated.
Melanie shook her head. “There – There’s nothing that I can do, Valerie. I can’t hold a job – my skills are almost nonexistent and I –“
“Oh, there is something you can do,” Valerie began to smile. At Melanie’s confused look, she smiled. “You can move in with me.” Melanie opened her mouth and Valerie pointed at her. “Ah-ah. I won’t take no for an answer!”
So Melanie had moved into the Cartwright mansion. Which was driving Micky insane at the moment, as he was convinced he’d sent her right into danger. “That’s one of the first places he’ll attack – if he doesn’t come here first!”
Peter sighed and telekinetically froze the pacing man for a moment. “Settle down,” he ordered as he let Micky go. “Look at us,” he groused, spreading his hands. “We’re on edge, waiting to be attacked by a bird-brain!”
“Damnedest case of ornithophobia I’ve ever seen,” Mike couldn’t resist deadpanning.
Peter chuckled and the other two turned blank looks on them. “Fear of birds,” he explained and Davy chuckled. Even worried Micky cracked a smile.
“It’s the waiting,” Davy groaned, running a hand through his hair. “It’s getting to all of us.”
No sooner had the words left his mouth than the unmistakable screech of a falcon hit their ears.
“Wait’s over,” Mike said grimly as they climbed to their feet. All eyes turned to Peter.
Peter gave a sharp nod, his eyes already glowing. “Let’s go, Monkees!”
The Monkees surged onto the beach – Peter and Micky already airborne. By the shoreline, Falconman hovered – waiting.
Without really consulting, the four arrayed themselves in battle positions. Still, they didn’t attack. They hovered and stood – ready and waiting for Falconman to make the first move.
Blue eyes scanned the four faces and the mouth twisted in a half-sneer. The wings beat just once, and he glided closer. Feet still separated them as he altered his wing position and lowered himself to the ground.
Peter and Mike shot glances at each other, then Peter and Micky went to the ground as well. Still, Micky’s fists didn’t unclench. Peter’s eyes didn’t cease their glow, and a quick glance at the others showed Mike’s wrists were glowing and that Davy had matched Micky’s six-foot-one.
It was Micky who spoke for them all. “What do you want, Farnsworth?”
The sneer grew larger and the wings spread. “To put you on notice, Monkees. I’m back. And this time, I won’t be defeated as easily when we fight!”
Again, Peter and Mike exchanged a split-second glance. “When we fight,” Peter repeated. “You mean you’re not here to fight?”
“Not this time,” Farnsworth conceded. The wings rippled and shrank back into his back. The altered face – with the non-bulging eyes and realigned jaw – remained as it was. Farnsworth pulled on a simple T-shirt as he finished, “This little social call was to give you notice that I’m back.”
“You’ve certainly done that,” Davy growled.
Farnsworth’s eyes met Peter’s glowing ones. “I am not going after Valerie this time – I am not at full strength yet. When I do, don’t think I will be fool enough to attack the mansion. That was my home for a year – and it will be again. I will not risk my future home.”
Nobody knew quite what to say to that. If he was telling the truth – then Valerie and Melanie – were safe?
A car horn down the beach blared three times, and Farnsworth smiled. “That’s my ride. I’ve things to take care of.” The smile vanished and the eyes boring into Peter’s were blazing. “I’m back. Next time, Tork – I won’t be in such a lenient mood.”
“Nor will I,” Peter growled back.
Farnsworth gave one sharp nod, and walked down the beach to the car. He got into the front seat and the car drove away.
“Damn,” Mike hissed. “He’s working with someone!”
“Anyone see who?” Peter asked. At their headshakes, he blew the air out of his cheeks. “Blast!”
“I gotta—“ Micky gestured to the sky, trembling from head to toe.
“Go,” Peter said, and Micky shot into the air, vanishing as he did so. Peter sighed and walked over to Mike, shaking his head. “Blast,” he sighed. “Our lives just got harder.”
Mike squeezed his shoulder. “We’ll get through, man.”
“Maybe I should hold off asking Valerie to marry me….”
“Don’t you dare. Don’t you stop livin’ because this threat’s back.” Mike’s eyes were blazing and his hand clenched harder. “You think that’s doin’ anybody any good?”
Peter studied his eyes, then let out a deep breath and nodded. “Agreed.”
“Good!” Mike chuckled. “See? Sometimes even the leader needs to be led!” Then he took off at a run.
Peter blinked, frowned – then broke out in a huge grin and ran after Mike, calling out dire threats amid peals of laughter.
Davy shook his head, grinning from ear to ear as he watched their antics. He knew things were going to be all right.
And when Halloween rolled around a few days later, complete with Micky’s antics to make the children that came to their door laugh, they all knew it as well.
The phone rang in Marcovich’s apartment. It rang twice, then a bright voice answered, “Yel-low!”
After a moment of silence, an accented voice demanded, “I wish to speak to Anton Marcovich.”
“Oh, sorry…think you got the wrong number.”
“This is the right number. Where is he?”
“Look, buddy. This is my apartment. Whoever the hell had it before me, it ain’t my business and I’ll thank you to not call back!” And he hung up.
In the shadows, Marcovich stood up. “He’ll call back. And he’ll check it out.”
“Which is why you won’t be here,” the phone answerer said. “All packed?”
Marcovich smiled. “Packed and moved. I’m all ready.”
“Great.” He held out his arms. “Let’s get out of here.”
Marcovich turned the supportive hold into a hug of gratitude for a moment. “I can’t thank you enough—“
“Forget about it. Just live as Anthony Martin awhile – see how you like it.” The hold turned from a hug back to the supportive grip. “Here we go, then.”
Marcovich – Anthony Martin – closed his eyes as they lifted into the air….
And turned invisible.
Return to The Realm