True Colors



Jerry adjusted his sunglasses, and looked down at his clipboard. School was out for the summer, and all the kids wanted to do was play baseball that day. So Jerry agreed to set up a practice game for them. Mike was over there as well, watching the whole thing.

"You connect very well with these kids, you know that?" he asked.

"I know," Jerry said, taking off his sunglasses. "I have high energy levels, they have high energy levels. But I think it's time we called it a day. They've been playing for hours."

Jerry took his whistle and blew. The kids stopped what they were doing, and groaned.

"Do we have to stop?" Gosalyn Mallard asked.

"Yeah, the game was just getting started!" Lilly Cat shouted.

"Sorry guys," Jerry said. "But I have a very temperamental baby-sitter who needs to get off work at five, and she gets sore when I'm late! And besides, Mike can't keep up with you guys when you get going."

That was all there was to it. The kids decided just to hang around and throw the softball around for awhile. Mike and Jerry took off.

"I'm glad summer's here," Gosalyn said. "No more school!"

"You said it!" Catchum Crocodile agreed. "Now we can goof off all we want!"

The others agreed. The next day, the kids were hanging out at the park, trying to come up with something to do. Most of them turned toward the Three Musketeers (Gosalyn, Catchum, and Lilly), since they came up with great ideas. But, for once, the idea well was dry.

"School's only been out for a day, and already we're bored!" Bingo Beaver shouted.

"Anybody got any ideas?" Bernice Bear asked.

Everybody shook their heads. Gosalyn sighed, and began fiddling with the buttons on her boom box. She turned on the radio, and the kids just sat there, through one boring commercial after another.

"Why is it when you want something to do, there's never anything to do?" she asked.

"I don't know," Lilly said. "But we'd better not talk to our parents about being bored!"

"Yeah," Zipper Cat (no relation to Lilly) replied. "They'll only tell us to go clean our rooms."

The others nodded, and began to think about stuff to do. They tossed around some ideas, but most of them were thrown into the Rejection Pile. Finally, the disc jockey came back on the radio.

"Okay, kids, we're back," he said. "And it is now twenty minutes passed the hour, and time for our special prize giveaway."

"What are they giving away this time?" Dotty Dog asked.

"I don't know, I haven't been tuning in," Gosalyn said.

"The tenth caller will receive four tickets to our special summer concert," the DJ said. "Coming to Los Angeles, California, the Rainbow Girls, and here's their latest hit!"

The Rainbow Girls was an all girl trio, and pretty popular among the kids and preteens. The kids often played their CD during practice. Mike and Jerry couldn't understand what the big deal was. They didn't particularly like the band's sound. It was too bubble gum for their taste.

"Where's a phone when we need one?!" Gosalyn shouted.

"Forget it, Gosalyn," Montgomery Moose replied. "The chances of you winning those tickets are a million to one."

"I've tried calling in a million times on these giveaways," Woolma Lamb replied. "And the line's always busy."

"Well, at least we have something to do this summer," Gosalyn said. "The Rainbow Girls are our favorite group, right?"

The others nodded.

"And it's much more exciting to see them live than it is to see them on TV," Gosalyn continued. "So all we have to do is ask our parents if they'll get us tickets for the concert!"

"Yeah!" Lolly Squirrel shouted. "And Gosalyn is a cinch to get tickets! Her dad has connections!"

The others nodded. Gosalyn dashed to the studio that minute to talk business with Drake. She asked about tickets to the concert. Drake's response was very diplomatic.

"Absolutely not!" he shouted.

"Aw, Da-ad!" Gosalyn groaned. "How come?"

"They're too expensive, that's how come."

"I never knew you to be cheap, Dark-man," Mike said. "Besides, it's a smart move. Those chicks are way too bubble gum."

"No fair!" Gosalyn shouted. "What's the point of having a dad with rock and roll connections coming out of his ears when he can't get his own daughter and her friends tickets to see her favorite band?"

"Because I don't have one connection with the Rainbow Girls," Drake said. "You might ask Jerry, though. Linda's a fan of the group, as well."

Gosalyn thought that was an interesting concept, so she went and asked Jerry. He burst out laughing!

"You think I'd be able to get tickets to the Rainbow Girls concert?!" he shouted. "Gosalyn, come on! That's not my schticklatch, and you know it. You know I like soul and doo wop, and stuff along that line."

"Yeah, moldy oldies," Gosalyn said. "But you're a DJ! All the top rated DJ's in town are giving away the tickets to the concert!"

"One, I'm an oldies DJ. Two, I work for an oldies station. Three, I only give away tickets if the artist in town happens to be an oldies artist."

Gosalyn groaned and walked off. She met her friends at the park. Most of them sort of had the same look on their faces that Gosalyn had.

"Any luck?" she asked them. "All my connections won't do it. Dad says the tickets are too expensive, and Jerry's the only DJ in town who's not giving away tickets to the concert."

"'Cause he's an oldies DJ," Dotty said. "He doesn't like the Rainbow Girls."

"Shut up, Dotty."

Dotty shut up. The others explained that their parents weren't going to spend money on tickets, since most of them were incredibly expensive. At any rate, the kids found themselves at the park, just sitting around, doing nothing, except watch Lilly's little sister, Katie, play with Gosalyn's sister, Michelle, and a friend of theirs, Portia Porcupine. The three of them saw the bored looks on their faces and walked over.

"What's wrong?" Portia asked.

"Nothing much," Montgomery replied.

"We just can't find a way to get tickets to the concert of a lifetime, that's all," Rocco Rabbit said. "Anybody got any ideas on how to raise money?"

"Not in time for the concert," Flora Fox replied.

"Especially with tickets that are nearly thirty dollars apiece," Julie Olsen replied.

"My paper route doesn't pay that much," Braker Turtle replied.

"So we're stuck with another boring summer," Catchum groaned. "What do we do now?"

"We could play baseball," Leland Lizard suggested.

The kids didn't go along with that. They just sat there, trying to figure out what to do. The idea well was practically bone dry. Meanwhile, back at Screen Gems, things were happening. Mike was reading through a script for a new movie, and Jerry was stretching out, in preparation for dancing. The other Monkees and Mallards were basically hanging out, not doing much of anything. Drake was on the phone with a friend of his. Bob walked out of the office.

"Drake, I need to talk to you," he said.

"Hold it a sec, Bob," Drake said. Then he went back to the phone. "I need at least two tickets, Jeff. What do you mean? No, I don't want you to scalp them! Look, they're for my daughters! They like the band! No, huh? Well, thanks anyway."

Drake hung up the phone and groaned.

"Problem?" Mike asked.

"I'm trying to get tickets to the Rainbow Girls' concert for the girls," Drake replied. "What I didn't know is that the concert has already been sold out, and now the tickets are hard to come by."

"My friend Kenny's covering the scene for the newspaper," Reggie said. "How 'bout I call him and see what he can do about tickets?"

"That'd be great," Drake said. Then he turned to Bob. "What did you need, Bob?"

"Oh, I just wanted to tell you my sister had tickets to the show and she can't go to the darn thing after all," Bob said. "I thought you might be interested in these tickets."

"Good. I'm going to need a lot of tickets!"

"Yeah," Mike said. "Most of Gosalyn's friends really dig this group."

"I don't know what they see in them," Jerry said.

"Well, they don't know what you see in half the stuff you play," Bob said. "Can't say I blame them."

Jerry gave Bob a dirty Look and continued to stretch out. Mike went back to reading the new script. That is, until his sixth sense start to act up. He dropped the script abruptly, and held his hand to his head. He groaned.

"Uh oh," Reggie said. "Sixth sense?"

"Yep," Mike said. "I sense trouble. It's at a near full scale tweak!"

"Better go check it out," Jerry said.

The boys left the studio to pinpoint the trouble. The trouble was brewing at the park. When they got there, they saw some kind of flying saucer, being piloted by a woman, wearing black and gray. She pushed a button on the saucer, and a laser zapped a light out. It hit a patch of grass, and it turned from green to gray.

"What the?" Drake asked.

"She just zapped away the color!" Reggie shouted.

The lady began punching buttons around, zapping away the color from everything, laughing evilly.

"Hold it right there, witch!" Mike shouted.

"What?" the witch asked.

"What the heck are you tryin' to do here?! Steal color? Of all the crazy schemes in the world, this has gotta be the most pathetic!"

The witch just stared at Mike as if he was crazy. Then she began to laugh.

"I'm pathetic," she said. "Seems to me you're the pathetic one. I'm going to take away all the world's color, and there's nothing you can do about it!"

The lady aimed her laser at Mike and fired it. He jumped out of the way just in time. It was time for him to break out the reserves.

"Take this!" he shouted, pointing his index finger at the craft. Magic beams shot out of it. The lady moved her flying saucer away from the blast.

"Not bad," she said, stifling a yawn. "What else have ya got?"

Mike glared at her, and began shooting his magic out in every direction imaginable. The lady kept moving her space ship all over the place, avoiding each blast of magic.

"This is gettin' frustratin'," Mike said. "All right, lady! Who are you, and what's your angle?"

The witch landed her craft, and climbed out. She smiled sneakily, and waved her hand in circle. A blast of magic hit a nearby tree, and zapped it's color away.

"I'm Achroma," she said. "And my goal is to turn the world into black and white. These colors are driving me batty!"

"You can't strip the world of it's color!" Peter shouted.

"Why not?" Achroma asked.

"Because . . . . . . it's not a nice thing to do!"

"Nice? What do I care about nice? I hate color, so how do I solve my problem, kiddo? Now if you'll excuse me . . . ."

Achroma returned to her ship, and took off. Mike closed his eyes and put his fingers to his temples to get a fix on where she was going.

"Follow me!" he shouted. "We've got to stop her!"

The gang made a beeline for the park. The kids were still there, playing around, unaware of what was happening. At least until some kind of beam of light hit a tree, and took away all it's color.

"What the heck was that?" Montgomery asked.

"I dunno," Zipper said.

"It's trouble, that's what!" Mike shouted. "Everybody get out of here! It's too dangerous to be hangin' around!"

"Why?" Portia asked.

Another laser blast hit a patch of flowers. The kids got the message and began to run. Mike snapped his fingers and brought the saucer down. It crashed.

"Resourceful, Witch Boy," Achroma said. "But I've got another trick up my sleeve."

Achroma stuck her fingers in her mouth and whistled. A fleet of black birds appeared out of nowhere and proceeded to keep the guysbusy.

"Why do they always want to do it the hard way?" Mike asked, rolling his eyes. He clapped his hands, and magic soared from the sky.

The birds squawked and swooped, giving the guys a good run for their money. It wasn't easy fighting them off. They were relentless.

"You're resourceful, Witch Boy," Achroma said. "But you haven't dealt with Buster yet."

"Buster?" Mike and Jerry said in unison.

Buster appeared. He was the biggest blackbird known to man. He let out a squawk and took to the air. He seemed to have disappeared.

"Where'd he go?" Jerry asked.

"Beats me," Mike said. "But I get this icky feelin' in the pit of my . . . . . oof!"

In mid-sentence, Buster came back down and clobbered Mike. He fell to the ground, and was completely dazed. Then in a split second, Buster took to the air, swooped down, and hit Jerry as well. Then he flew into the air again, out of Mike's range range. Achroma laughed.

"Don't you know there's no stopping a giant blackbird when he gets going?" she asked. She went to her flying saucer and took off, laughing like crazy.

"Darn her," Mike said once she was gone. "Well, better go talk to Aunt Kate."

"How come?" Reggie asked.

"Because I don't know how to handle this witch."

The others shrugged and followed Mike. They went over to his aunt's house, and opened the door.

"I had a feelin' you were comin', so I left it unlocked," Kate said. "What's the trouble this time?"

"How do you always know?" Mike asked.

"You always come for help when you can't handle it on your own, Michael. So what happened?"

"What do you know about a witch named Achroma?"

"Plenty. She hates color. If there was a Monkees song that described her, it would be 'Shades of Gray.'"

"That bad, huh?"

"Oh yeah. Her goal is to drain the entire world of it's color."

"I figured that. So what do we do?"

"I suggest you find her castle, and stop her, what else?"

"Where is her castle?"

"On top of a steep hill somewhere. I don't know off hand, but I have a map somewhere around here."

Kate snapped her fingers and a map appeared in her hands. She handed it to Mike. Mike unrolled it and looked at it.

"Perfect," he said. "We can just follow the train tracks."

"Provided the train doesn't come while we're looking for the castle," Quackerjack said.

"There's nothing to worry about, Quackerjack," Reggie said. "I know those train tracks, and they haven't been used in years."

"Well, we'd better get goin' before that witch drains all the color out of the world," Mike said. He folded up the map, stuck it in his pocket, and walked off. After awhile, the boys were trying to make heads or tails out of the map.

"This is insane," Mike said.

"What exactly are we looking for?" Jerry asked.

"I don't know," Mike said. "Just follow the train tracks."

"Say, didn't your aunt say the castle's on a hill?" Quackerjack asked, looking up.

"Yeah," Mike said.

"Steep?"

"Uh huh."

"How steep we talking, here?"

"Pretty steep."

"Then we found it."

Mike looked around. There weren't any hills to be seen. He thought Quackerjack was crazy.

"Where is it?" he asked.

"Look up," Quackerjack said.

Mike looked up. Sure enough at the top of a very, very, very, very high cliff, was the castle.

"Oh boy," Mike said. "Now how are we supposed to get up there?"

"Sprout wings and fly would be my best bet," Reggie said. "Otherwise, we're staying put!"

"Anybody know how to rock climb?" Jerry asked.

"Wait a sec, I just got an idea," Mike said. "Bubbles."

"Bubbles?" Quackerjack asked.

"Yeah. I can use my magic to create larger than life bubbles that will hold all of us, and then I'll take us up to that castle."

"Good thinking, Mike!"

Mike snapped his fingers and a fleet of bubbles appeared out of nowhere. Everyone stepped into them, and rode them up to the castle.

"The only way to fly," Micky replied.

"I have one more question, Mike," Quackerjack said.

"Shoot," Mike said.

"Once we're up there, how do we get in?"

"My magic, I guess."

"Okay."

Quackerjack left it at that. The bubbles reached the top of the cliff. Once they landed on the ground, they popped. Mike looked at the door of the castle, and snapped his fingers. It creaked open, and the boys walked inside.

"Let's go," Mike said. He started inside, but stopped suddenly. It seemed he was listening for something.

"What did you stop for?" Jerry asked.

"I don't know where the heck I'm goin'," Mike said. "But I'll probably know in about five seconds."

Jerry was about to ask how he would know, but before she could, a loud screech rang out in the hall. Everybody, except Mike, jumped.

"This way, you guys," he said, going down a hallway.

The boys followed Mike down the hallway, and through a door. He snapped his fingers and it came crashing down to the floor. Achroma jumped and turned around.

"How did you . . . ." she started.

"Details, details," Mike said. "You didn't really think we'd let you steal all the world's color now, did you?"

"I'm not licked yet."

Achroma pointed her index finger, and began to zap at the boys, but Mike had a couple of tricks up his sleeve. He clapped his hands, and magic blasted out from nearly everywhere. Achroma glared, and snapped her fingers. Some sort of tube dropped over Mike.

"I thought you'd try something sneaky, Witch Boy," Achroma said. "You're loaded with magic and power! I'll be invincible after I suck you dry!"

"Hey! You can't do that!" Micky shouted.

Achroma snapped her fingers, and a tidal wave washed over the boys. Then Achroma snapped her fingers again, and the boys were hoisted into the air.

"You all are taking a one way trip to my dungeon!" she shouted. "And believe me, nobody escapes my dungeon!"

The boyswere swept into a dungeon. Once they were inside, they were placed inside giant glass squares, and locked in.

"Now what do we do?" Quackerjack asked.

"I don't know," Reggie said. "Where's Superman when we need him?"

"Too bad Mike isn't here," Jerry said. "He'd be able to get us out of this in no time."

"Yeah, but he isn't," Micky said. "And I don't think he can get out of the mess he's in."

"We're doomed then," Quackerjack said.

Meanwhile, Achroma was hooking wires to Mike's tube. He wasn't sure what was going to happen.

"It's gonna be a hot time in the old town tonight!" Achroma shouted, and she flicked her switch. Electricity built up gradually, and then proceeded to suck out Mike magic.

Mike screamed in agony. Achroma laughed. It appeared that there was no one left to save him, or the others, which was what Achroma was hoping for. But she shouldn't count her chickens before they hatch. Mike wasn't the only witch in the family with psychic abilities. Although he was the only one who had a sixth sense to sense danger, his aunt Kate could feel a twinge in her psyches that told her Mike was in trouble; big trouble. Immediately, she ran for the park. She had a feeling someone there would be able to help. She came across to Gosalyn and her friends and told them the trouble.

"Kids, I need your help," she said. "A witch named Achroma is tryin' to drain the world of all the color, and she's captured Mike and the rest. I just have this strange feelin' that you'll be able to help stop her."

"You want us to what?!" Gosalyn shouted.

"We're just kids!" Catchum shouted. "What can we do?"

"I know it sounds crazy," Kate said. "But somethin's tellin' me that you're the only ones who can help!"

The kids looked at Kate, and then at each other for several moments.

"I'll go," Gosalyn said, finally. "My dad's in trouble, and I want to help!"

"If she's going, we're going," Lilly said, speaking for herself and Catchum.

"Right," Catchum replied. "The Three Musketeers stick together!"

"Us too!" Katie and Michelle shouted.

"We want to help, too," Dotty said.

The other kids agreed. Kate smiled and breathed of relief.

"Thanks you guys," she said. "But be careful."

"We will," Gosalyn said. "How do we get to the castle?"

"Just follow the old train tracks," Kate said. "The castle is on a very steep hill. You'll have to be extremely careful."

"Don't worry," Dotty said. "We know exactly what we're doing."

"Come on, guys!" Montgomery shouted. "I know a way we can get to that castle and fast!"

The kids followed Montgomery away from the park, and over to the old railroad station. The kids followed Montgomery to the railroad station. It appeared to be nothing there.

"What did we follow you all the way here for, Montgomery?" Gosalyn asked.

"Yeah, there's nothing here!" Julie shouted.

"Just follow me," Montgomery said.

"What have we got to lose?" Lilly asked, shrugging. The kids continued to follow Montgomery around. He stopped at an abandoned caboose.

"Is that it?" Lilly asked.

"Yep," Montgomery said. "A lot of us hang out in this caboose here."

"Does it still work?" Katie asked.

"Sure does," Bingo said, climbing in. "Come on, you guys. What are you waiting for?"

"Nothing," Dotty said. "Let's go!"

Dotty climbed aboard. The rest of the kids did the same. Montgomery and Catchum took position at the steering mechanism (or whatever you call it), since they were the tallest kids there. Portia, Katie, and Michelle climbed up to the top windows.

"You three can be the lookouts," Gosalyn said.

"Okay! Thanks, Gosalyn!" Michelle shouted. "Uhhh, what's a lookout?"

"A lookout is someone who watches for trouble," Lilly explained. "And when they see trouble, they shout 'look out!' Get it?"

"Ohhhh," Michelle said, nodding her head. "Okay."

"All aboard!" Dotty called out. "Everyone aboard, lookouts?"

"Check!" Portia shouted, looking out one window.

"Double check!" Katie called, looking out the other window.

"Triple check!" Michelle called, looking out a third window.

"Then full speed ahead!" Montgomery shouted, and he and Catchum began pumping the caboose down the train tracks.

There wasn't much to go on in looking for the castle. All the kids knew it was on top of a steep hill, and it was along the train tracks, but they weren't sure where. That is until Katie, Portia, and Michelle spotted something.

"Stop the train!" Katie shouted. "We've found the hill!"

"Where is it?" Zipper asked, looking out the window.

"Look up," Michelle said.

"Way up," Katie replied.

Zipper got out of the caboose and looked up. Sure enough, there was the castle, on the highest cliff he had ever seen in his entire life.

"That's it all right," he said. "Well, according to the description Mike's aunt gave us. Everybody out!"

The kids climbed out of the caboose and looked up at the castle, wondering how in the world were they going to get up there.

"Anybody got any ideas?" Montgomery asked.

"Yeah," Leland said. "We never should've gone on this mission in the first place!"

"Chicken," Catchum said.

"We only have one choice," Zipper said. "We have to climb this thing."

"How?" Dotty asked. "It's way too steep!"

"We'll never be able to get up there without falling, Zipper," Braker said. "Not all of us are athletes."

"True," Gosalyn said. "I mean, I'm just as athletic as you are, Zipper, but I don't know how to rock climb!"

"But it's the only way to get up there," Julie said. "So how are we going to climb this anyway?"

"If only we had some rope," Bernice said. "That would make it a little easier, don't you guys think?"

"Where are we going to get rope?" Rocco asked.

The kids began to talk about where they could find some rope. Portia began looking around, until she spotted an abandoned shack in the distance. She walked up to it, opened the door, and peered inside. In the corner of the room, she saw pile of rope, bigger than her.

"That's what we need!" she shouted. "A long rope!"

Portia grabbed the end of the rope and pulled it back to the others, who were still debating.

"I still think it'd be easier if there was a secret passage or something," Rocco said.

"Yeah, but how do we find one?" Gosalyn asked.

"You looked for buried treasure in Mexico, Gosalyn," Lolly said. "There were tons of secret passages there, weren't there?"

"Plenty."

"Then you figure it out!"

"Wait a minute, you guys!" Portia shouted. "I found some rope!"

"Great!" Zipper shouted. "Now we can get to work climbing it! Everybody tie the rope around your waist. That way, we can all stick together."

The kids tied the rope to their waists. Once they were done with that, Zipper started up the cliff, with Gosalyn behind him, followed by Lilly, then Dotty, and so on and so on down the line.

"Whatever you do, don't look down!" Gosalyn warned. "It's a long way down!"

"Bet that's one trip I'd like to skip," Bingo said, keeping his eyes glued to the top of the cliff.

"Rock climbing isn't so hard," Bernice said. "It's kind of fun."

"Speak for yourself, Bernice," Woolma said. "I know my shoes will be ruined after this."

"Try not to think about it, Woolma," Gosalyn said. "The world's at risk! They'll be no more color if we give up."

"Yeah," Leland replied. "Life will look like a rerun of Leave It to Beaver or I Love Lucy or Mr. Ed or Donna Reed or The Patty Duke Show or . . . ."

"We get the point, Leland!" Catchum shouted. "You don't need to go on and on about all those old shows you like!"

"Sorry Catchum."

Catchum rolled his eyes and continued climbing the cliff. As they were climbing, they were being watched. One of Achroma's birds was sitting on a tree branch, and then he flew into the air, and through one of the windows.

Achroma was playing around with switches and things. Mike was ready to drop. He was plastered against the back of the tube, using it to keep himself from falling. He was practically dead. Achroma merely laughed.

"Getting tired already?" she asked. "Heh, heh. The fun has just begun!"

Suddenly, her blackbird squawked, and flew into the room. He landed on his perch and turned to his mistress.

"Trespassers!" he shouted. "Climbing up the side of the mountain! Awk!"

"Trespassers, huh?" Achroma asked. "Well, take the squad and get rid of them. I don't want any interruptions."

"Gotcha. Awk!"

The bird flew out the window. Mike moaned, and pushed himself backwards.

"Trespassers?" he asked.

"Not for long," Achroma said.

Outside, in the meantime, the kids continued climbing. It was a very long climb.

"It's a long hard climb," Gosalyn said. "But we're gonna get there."

"I just hope in one piece!" Rudyard shouted.

"Don't worry," Zipper said. "The ol' Zipper here knows a lot about rock climbing. I do it every weekend."

"That's good," Lilly said. "Considering you're in the lead here!"

"Yeah, if you fall, we all fall!" Katie yelled.

Zipper didn't say anything to that. He just continued climbing, with the other kids following him. It wasn't easy, though. A lot of them began to tire out soon. But they couldn't afford to take any breaks. They had a job to do. So they continued on. All they had to do was remember not to look down. As they were climbing, a black swoosh went by about a third of the way down the rope. Leland was the only one of the kids to notice it, and then it swooped by again, nearly knocking him off the rope.

"Whoa!" he shouted. Then he began to poke at Catchum to get his attention.

"Catchum . . . . ." he said.

"Not now, Leland," Catchum replied. "I'm trying to concentrate."

"But Catchum . . . ."

Another black swoosh went by. It happened to be the blackbird. Leland jumped onto Catchum's back, which nearly caused him to lose his balance.

"Leland, will you relax?!" Catchum shouted, throwing Leland off his back. "What's the matter with you?"

"That!" Leland yelled, pointing. The bird came back, and zipped passed. This time all the kids noticed, and held to the rope as tightly as they could.

"What was that?" Woolma asked.

"I don't but it's coming back!" Flora shouted.

The swoosh came back, along with reinforcements. This time, the swoosh got the results it wanted. Flora, Woolma, and Leland lost both their grips and their footing, and were practically dangling. The added weight pulled the kids before them down a little.

"What's going on down there?" Zipper asked.

"An emergency!" Portia shouted.

The swoosh zoomed by again, and careened into Lolly's feet. She was the last kid hanging on the rope, so she lost her footing, and slipped as well. Then the swoosh began going back and forth, trying to knock the kids off the mountain. It worked, so far. But as long as they all held onto the rope, they'd be all right. Pretty soon, the only kids that weren't dangling were Dotty, Lilly, Gosalyn, and Zipper. And they could barely hang on themselves!

"You guys have to get back on the mountain!" Zipper shouted.

"How?" Montgomery asked. "These black streaks aren't making it easy!"

The birds came back, and knocked the remaining girls off. That was all they had to do. With everybody but Zipper dangling in mid air, they figured he wouldn't be able to take the extra weight. Zipper gnashed his teeth, groaned, and dug his fingers into the side of the mountain, trying his best to stay on the mountain. But it was no use. He lost his grip and fell.

"Oh nooooo!" he screamed. The birds then flew off.

All the kids screamed as they fell. It looked like there was no way out of this one. But fate was with them. Montgomery's antlers caught a low hanging tree branch. Since he was directly in the middle of the rope, the rest of the kids stopped as well. All of them breathed of relief.

"Thank goodness for Montgomery's antlers!" Dotty shouted.

"I know," Gosalyn said. "But how are we gonna get out of this one?"

"Beats me," Montgomery said. "Anybody got any ideas?"

Zipper looked down, and noticed he was close to a ledge. So he untied the rope, and jumped down.

"Everybody untie the rope and climb down here," he said. "Montgomery, you stay there."

"Like I've got a choice, Zipper," Montgomery mumbled.

At any rate, the kids climbed down the rope, two at a time. Once they were all off, Zipper and Gosalyn climbed up the rope in order to get Montgomery unstuck. Montgomery untied the rope, and handed it to Gosalyn. She took it, and tied it to one tree branch. Then Zipper moved the other branch slightly, and Montgomery's antler slipped out. He grabbed onto the rope to keep from falling, and then slid down the rope, followed by Gosalyn and Zipper. And they were sliding somewhat on the fast side.

"Hey, aren't we going kinda fast?" Gosalyn asked.

"Yeah," Zipper said. "I have a feeling it's gonna hurt when we get to the ledge!"

Zipper, Gosalyn, and Montgomery slid down as fast as they could. Montgomery landed first, followed by Zipper and Gosalyn. Only the two of them landed with a CRASH!

"Well, that didn't hurt as much as I thought it would," Zipper said.

"Yeah," Gosalyn said. Then they heard a groan. The two of them had landed on Montgomery.

"Would you two mind getting off my back?" he asked.

"Oops," Gosalyn said, as she and Zipper climbed off Montgomery.

"Sorry about that," Zipper said. "At least you broke our fall, Montgomery."

"Yeah, I broke your fall," Montgomery said. "And you broke my back!"

"Worry about it later," Catchum said. "We've still got a long way to go before we actually get into the castle."

"Unless we find a secret passage, I'd say we're stuck," Montgomery said.

"Maybe it's just as well," Lilly said. "I think the kids need a break."

"Too true, sis," Katie said, and she sat down, as did Michelle.

"I think we all could use a break right about now," Woolma said.

The others had to agree on that one, and some of them sat down. Others leaned against the wall. As they were taking a break, they were thinking about ways to actually get up that mountain. Climbing it was out of the question. At any rate, Portia leaned against the wall, and it opened.

"Yipes!" she shouted, as she fell inside.

"You say something, Portia?" Katie asked. She didn't get a response. "Portia?"

"In here!" Portia called. "I found a secret opening."

"Yeah?" Katie asked. "Hey you guys! Portia found an opening!"

The kids stood up, and ran for the opening. Portia crawled out, and smiled. Then she led the group inside.

"It's a pretty small hallway," she warned. "Watch your head."

As it turned out, all the kids had to crawl on their hands and knees to get in. But they didn't care. They had a world to save. In the meantime, Achroma's bird flew back into her room and sat on his perch.

"Awk!" he squawked. "We got rid of the trespassers!"

"Excellent," Achroma said. "Now there's no one left to save you!"

"Who tried, anyway?" Mike asked.

"I don't know," Achroma said. Then she turned to her bird. "Who tried to break in?"

"Awk! A bunch of kids," the bird said. "Awk! They're long gone."

"Kids?!" Mike shouted.

Achroma laughed and flipped her switch again. She enjoyed torturing her captives. In the meantime, the kids were still trying to figure out the tunnel. They didn't have any kind of light to help them out, so they continued to crawl on their hands and knees.

"Anybody got a flashlight?" Bingo asked.

"We should've brought supplies with us before we went on this trip," Zipper replied.

"At least nobody here's scared of the dark," Gosalyn said.

"Speak for yourself!" Michelle shouted.

"Don't worry, Michelle," Lilly said. "We'll be out of here in no time at all."

"Yeah," Portia replied. "Things will fall into place soon."

Portia couldn't have been more right! As she was crawling, she fell through a large hole, followed by all the other kids.

"You and your big mouth, Portia!" Katie shouted.

"Who knows where we'll end up now!" Bingo yelled.

KER-SPLASH! The kids had landed in some kind of lake. There was a little more light in the area than in the tunnel. The kids were able to see their surroundings. They swam to the shore and climbed out of the lake.

"That was some ride," Lolly said.

"I wouldn't mind doing it again, now that I know you can live through it," Bernice replied. Everybody else stared at her as if she were crazy. Then they groaned and began to walk away, shaking their heads.

"What?" Bernice asked, confused. Nobody answered her. They just continued walking.

"Look at my dress," Woolma said. "It's ruined."

"Worry about that later," Gosalyn said. "We've got to find a way out of this cave and into the castle."

"Yeah," Michelle said. "All without waking the monster."

The kids continued walking along, and then they realized what Michelle had said.

"Did you say monster?" Gosalyn asked.

"Yup," Michelle said. "Right there, see? He's sleeping."

"She's right," Montgomery said, looking inside a cave. "It's a monster all right."

"A sludge monster," Bingo said, looking into the cave as well. "That whole area inside that cave is swamp."

"You should feel right at home here," Woolma said to Catchum.

"Very funny," Catchum replied. "Come on. We've got work to do. And try not to wake up that sludge monster. It's all over the movies. They tend to get really edgy."

The kids did their best to try to sneak by the sleeping sludge monster. But that was easier said than done. Katie tripped over a small rock and crash landed on the ground.

"Ow!" she shouted, and then she started crying.

"Katieeeee!" Lilly groaned.

That did it. The sludge monster let out a growl and a hiss, and then slurped out of his cave.

"Now you guys did it!" Bingo shouted.

"Run!" Dotty yelled.

All the kids ran in different directions, in hopes to confuse the sludge monster so much, that it would go back to his cave. No such luck. It began to chase Katie, Portia, and Michelle, since they were the smallest, and not very fast runners, either. It cornered the three girls against a wall, and was ready to attack, when Lilly stuck her fingers in her mouth and whistled.

"Hey over here!" she shouted.

"Leave them alone, you big bully!" Woolma yelled.

"Pick on somebody your own size!" Leland called.

That worked. The sludge monster growled, hissed, and turned around, inching closer and closer to Lilly, Woolma, and Leland.

"That didn't work out as I hoped," Lilly said.

"Let's get out of here!" Leland shouted.

The three of them ran, with the sludge monster right behind them. They managed to climb up to a stalactites, and hung onto it for dear life. But the sludge monster began to reach up with his slimy arm and tried to grab the kids.

"Oooh!" Woolma shouted in disgust.

"You're the one with the brilliant ideas, Lilly!" Leland shouted. "How do we get out of this?"

"We don't!" Lilly shouted.

The three of them screamed, as the sludge monster got closer to them. Gosalyn, Montgomery, Catchum, and Zipper were hiding behind a rock, and got a good view of what was happening.

"We've got to do something," Montgomery said.

"But what?" Catchum asked. "It'll just start chasing us if we lure it away from Leland, Lilly, and Woolma!"

"He's got a point," Zipper said.

Gosalyn looked around, and then noticed a large boulder at the top of a small cliff. It was directly above the sludge monster.

"Maybe we can squash it flat with that boulder," she said. "We can climb up there easy!"

"Great idea," Zipper said. "Come on, you guys!"

Gosalyn and the three boys climbed up to the boulder and began to push. The boulder wouldn't move.

"It's stuck!" Montgomery shouted.

"We've got to move it somehow!" Gosalyn shouted. "Keep pushing!"

"We are!" Catchum shouted.

"Put your back into it, guys!" Zipper yelled.

The four pushed as hard as they could, but the boulder just wouldn't budge. Finally, Bingo climbed up to the cliff to offer some extra help.

"Stand back, you guys," he said. "Let me take a whack at it."

"You?!" Zipper shouted. "If the four of us can't move that boulder, how are you gonna do it?"

"Just watch."

Bingo whapped the boulder with his tail, and it rolled off the cliff, landing on the sludge monster, squashing it flat. Slime flew all over the place. Zipper was speechless.

"Thanks a lot, Bingo!" Lilly shouted, as she Leland, and Woolma slid off the stalactites. "I thought we were goners for a minute there!"

"Too bad all that slime got everywhere," Woolma said, looking at her dress. "If my dress wasn't ruined before, it's ruined now!"

"No time to worry about that now," Gosalyn said. "We're on a mission!"

The rest of the kids nodded, and went to find a way out of the underground cavern. Lucky for them, there was an opening in the cave that led out, and up a staircase. Montgomery took over the lead.

"I hope you know where you're going," Flora said.

"Relax," Montgomery said. "I'm in perfect control."

"Too bad you weren't in perfect control with that sludge monster," Dotty commented.

Montgomery glared at her, and the kids continued to climb up the stairs. They ended up in another cavern, only it wasn't like the other one. No lakes, and no sludge monsters.

"This place gives me the creeps," Lolly said.

"You and me both, sister," Bernice replied.

"Well, Fearless Leader?" Dotty asked.

"I'm thinking, I'm thinking!" Montgomery shouted.

"Well, think a little faster," Catchum said.

"Let's just walk on until we find another stair case."

The kids walked on. They also looked around their surroundings. The place was as creepy as anything. There was also a cave in the middle of the tunnel. Once the kids passed it, they could hear snoring coming from inside it. Bingo yet out a yelp and jumped on top of Montgomery. He latched on to his antlers.

"There's something in that cave!" he shouted.

"Duh!" Gosalyn shouted. "We can all hear it snore, Bingo!"

"It's louder than my dad," Katie giggled.

"Let's just get out of here without waking it up," Flora whispered.

"Yeah," Julie said. "Come on. Quietly."

The kids snuck passed the cave as quietly as they could. But that monster was the lightest sleeper in the world (despite his heavy snoring). Gosalyn kicked a microscopic rock (she wasn't even aware of it), and it rolled into the cave, tapping the monster (but barely). It woke up, and let out a fierce growl.

"Okay, who woke up the monster?" Lilly shouted.

"Who cares?" Rocco asked. "Scatter!"

The kids split up. The monster crawled out of his cave and began to chase one of the groups. Zipper, Bingo, Bernice, and Flora ran into a small opening, as if to hide from it. But the monster was right on their tails. He tried to squeeze into the opening himself, but couldn't. So he tried to get the kids out by reaching his claws in, trying to grab them. He also pressed his body against the wall, trying to make the opening bigger.

"What are we going to do?!" Flora asked.

"I just hope Montgomery and the rest come up with an idea, or it's curtains for us!" Bingo shouted.

"What a way to go!" Bernice shouted.

The others were just watching the entire scene, not really knowing what to do. Finally, Julie picked up a rock.

"Hey ugly! Take this!" she shouted, hurling the rock at the monster.

The rock bopped the monster in the rear. He turned around began to growl. He slunk towards Julie.

"Uh oh," she said.

"I got an idea," Catchum said. "Anybody got a sling shot?"

"Yeah, here," Rocco said.

Catchum took the sling shot and loaded a rock into it. Then he launched it at the monster. It clobbered him right between the eyes. The monster growled, and then came for the rest of the kids. They began picking up rocks and sticks, and hurling them at the monster.

"Go pick on someone your own size!" Dotty shouted.

"Get out of here, you brute!" Woolma yelled.

The monster began to beat a retreat then. It ran off, never to return.

"Yipe, yipe, yipe, yipe, yipe!" it yipped as it went. The kids breathed of relief.

"That was a close one," Zipper said.

"Too close," Bingo replied. "I hope this is over with soon."

"You and everybody else, Bingo," Lolly said. "Now where do we go?"

"Follow me," Gosalyn said. "I have a hunch we're getting close to our final destination. Come on!"

Gosalyn punched a piece of the wall, and a door opened up, leading to another staircase. The kids ran up, and found themselves in an empty hallway, with a very high ceiling.

"Now where are we?" Woolma asked.

"I dunno," Gosalyn said. "But wherever we are, we've got a lot of head room!"

"We're at a dead end," Julie said. "What do we do now?"

Nobody had an answer to this. Not at least they began to hear singing from the ceiling:

Six bottles of milk on the wall

Six bottles of milk

You take one down, pass it around

Five bottles of milk on the wall

"I know that voice," Gosalyn said. "That's Quackerjack!"

"We've got to be close then!" Lilly shouted. "It's obviously coming from the ceiling."

"Maybe there's an opening," Woolma said.

"Yeah, in the ceiling," Catchum said.

"But how do we get up there?" Zipper asked.

"We have to form a ladder," Montgomery said. "That's the only way we'll get up there."

The kids nodded. Within minutes, Montgomery was standing at the bottom of the "ladder." Catchum was on his shoulders, Zipper on Catchum, Bingo on Zipper, Dotty on Bingo, Woolma on Dotty, Lilly on Woolma, and Gosalyn on Lilly. The eight of them were able to reach a small door in the ceiling.

"Hey! I found something!" Gosalyn shouted, and she began to push on the door.

In the meantime, in Achroma's dungeon, the boys were about ready to kill Quackerjack, who simply just had to sing his rendition of the torturous song, 100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall.

"One bottle of milk on the wall, one bottle of milk," he sang. "Take one down, pass it around, no bottles of milk on the wall."

"Quackerjack, it's one 'undred bottles of beer on the wall! Not milk!" Davy shouted.

"Cut me a break, Davy," Quackerjack said. "I don't drink."

"Just don't sing that song again," Micky said. "It's wearing my nerves."

"Yeah, if you start singing it again, I'll kill you," Reggie threatened.

"How can you kill him?" Jerry asked. "You can't even get out!"

"Details, details!" Reggie shouted.

"I just hope we get out of here soon," Drake said. "I'm starting to go stir crazy."

"And I hate to think about what that witch is doing to Michael," Peter replied.

Suddenly, a stone in the floor started to move. Drake stared at it. Then he squeezed his eyes shut and shook his head.

"I must be cracking up," he said. "That floor board looks like it's moving!"

"Hey, it is moving!" Jerry shouted.

"I hope it's not a monster!" Peter shouted.

"There's only one way to find out what it is," Reggie said.

"I can't look!" Peter yelled.

The stone in the floor opened up, and Gosalyn popped up from the opening, and looked up.

"Anybody here order a rescue team?" she asked.

"Gosalyn! What are you doing here?" Drake asked.

Gosalyn climbed in, and then helped her friends in (all of them climbed up the ladder).

"Saving your tail feathers, Dad!" she shouted. "What's it look like?"

"Where's Mike?" Julie asked.

"Having his magic sucked right out of him," Jerry said. "You guys have got to get us out of here so we can stop that witch!"

"But how?" Dotty asked. "We don't even know how she got you in there."

"Maybe you could use a key," Peter suggested.

"Oh, great idea, Peter," Reggie said, sarcastically. "Where are they gonna get the key?"

"Oh."

"Wait!" Zipper shouted. "I've got an idea. I take karate classes!"

Zipper backed up to the wall. Then he began to run. At the last second, he jumped, and gave a karate kick to Quackerjack's glass box. It vibrated, and Quackerjack's teeth did a good job of clacking against one another, but that didn't break the glass.

"Thanks, Zipper," Quackerjack said.

"Oops," Zipper said. "Any other ideas?"

"I have one," Lolly said. She picked up a rock and hurled it at Quackerjack's box.

Quackerjack's box banged against Drake's, which banged against Reggie's, which banged against Peter's, which banged against Micky's, which banged against Jerry's, which banged against Davy's, and all seven boxes fell and smashed against the ground, demolished.

"Well, we got out to say the least," Drake replied. "Come on, you guys. We've got to get out of this dungeon and find Mike it's too late!"

"If we all hit the door at the same time," Reggie said, doing some quick calculating in his head. "We can knock it right off it's hinges."

The group ran for the door, and found that Reggie was right. They all hit it at the exact same time, and knocked it off it's hinges. Then they ran down a hallway, in order to find Mike. That wasn't going to be too hard. They could hear him screaming a mile away. The group ran down a hallway, and managed to find Achroma, still sucking energy. Mike was screaming in pain.

"We've got to stop her," Drake said.

"Yeah, but how?" Montgomery asked.

"Destroy the machine," Jerry said. "But how are we going to do it without her noticing?"

"She's gonna notice anything we do to it," Micky said. "Maybe we could hit it with a sledgehammer."

"Or maybe we could soak it and short it out," Jerry said. "But we'd have to find a way to get some water, too."

"Why don't you just pull the plug?" Catchum asked.

Everybody turned to look at him. Catchum rolled his eyes, sighed, and then pulled a plug in the wall. The machine stopped suddenly.

"What happened now?" Achroma asked. "Good grief, if it isn't one thing, it's another!"

Achroma walked around the hallway to investigate. The group snuck inside the workshop.

"Hi, Mike," Peter said.

"What took you so long?" Mike asked.

"The kids had to find us first," Quackerjack said.

"Now all we gotta do is figure out how to get you out of there," Reggie said.

"We'll handle the machine," Lilly said.

The kids got to work on the machine, while the boys tried to figure out how to get Mike out of the tube. As the kids were banging on it, it whirred to life suddenly, and Achroma started coming back. Everybody ran to find hiding places. Achroma groaned and began playing around with her machine, that is, until Lilly unplugged it. Achroma let out a mix between a groan and a scream and practically ran over. She saw the group standing there, and Lilly holding the plug.

"What the heck?" she asked.

"How do you do?" Lilly said, like those characters in those Looney Toon cartoons.

"Why you little . . . . ."

The group ran off, in all directions. Achroma was fuming. She gnashed her teeth and began chasing after the group. Luckily for them, Gosalyn, Lilly, and Catchum broke away from the crowd and began to work on the machine. They put it in reverse and gave back Mike's magic. Then Lilly pulled another switch, which raised the glass tubes. Mike fell face first on the floor. He regained their senses fairly quickly and stood up.

"That could be qualified as a nightmare," Mike said. "But I've got bigger and better things to do."

"Like what?" Gosalyn asked. Mike cracked his knuckles.

"Like this," he said.

Mike waved his arm in a circle, and a shot of magic blasted out of his fingers and came in direct contact with Achroma's machine. It smashed to pieces. Achroma noticed, screamed, and ran to it, trying to pick up the pieces.

"My machine! What have you done? You destroyed it!" she screamed.

"You just answered your own question," Mike said.

"No matter," Achroma said. "I can just put it back together again."

"Not likely."

Mike created a chain, and it wrapped itself around Achroma. He smiled and cracked his knuckles.

"Here goes nothin'!" he shouted.

Achroma screamed as Mike's power surrounded her, and she disintegrated. That was the end of another witch threatening the world. The kids jumped up and down and cheered.

"We did it!" Lilly shouted.

"Another one bites the dust," Mike said, brushing dust off his hand.

As the kids were jumping up and down and cheering, something began to happen. The whole castle began to shake.

"What's going on?" Flora asked.

"Well, it's either a cave in, or Micky's stomach growlin'," Mike said. "But my sixth sense is tellin' me it's a cave in."

"Let's get out of 'ere!" Davy shouted.

The group began to run down the hallways as fast as they could. They also had to dodge falling rocks.

"Follow us!" Montgomery shouted. "We know a way out of here!"

The guys figured they didn't have anything to lose, so they ran off after the kids. The kids led them through all the secret passages they had gone through, still trying to avoid getting hit by rocks.

"This isn't easy, is it?" Jerry asked.

"You said a mouthful!" Micky shouted.

Finally, the group reached the underground cavern, where the kids had tangled with the sludge monster. That was when Montgomery realized they had no way of getting up to the passage where they came in.

"Now what do we do?" Dotty asked.

"I've got it covered," Mike said, snapping his fingers. A gust of wind brought them all up to the ledge, and the kids crawled through, followed by the guys.

Once everybody was outside, they ran into another problem: how to get down before the whole mountain caved in. Mike had that one under control, too. He snapped his fingers, and a staircase appeared out of the mountain. Everybody ran down as fast as they could. They all made it back on solid ground just as the mountain crumbled to the ground.

"And the walls coma a-tumblin' down," Micky said.

"Jericho this ain't!" Reggie shouted. "But at least we got out of there."

"With a little help from the kids, of course," Mike said. "Do you kids realize you saved the world?"

"Yeah," Gosalyn said. "We stopped an evil witch from draining the world of it's color."

"I'd say a reward was in order, wouldn't you agree, Mike?" Drake asked.

"I would," Mike said. "And I've got just the thing."

The kids glanced at each other, wondering what Mike had in mind. They were going to find out soon enough. That night, at seven o' clock, the Monkees and the rest were standing in the front row of the new theater complex, where the Rainbow Girls were performing. The kids were ecstatic.

"I can't believe we're actually here at the Rainbow Girls concert!" Gosalyn shouted.

"This is gonna be great!" Lilly shouted.

"How'd you pull this one off, Michael?" Peter asked.

"Well, thank Reggie and his connections," Mike said.

"I was just lucky Kenny happened to be covering this for the entertainment section of the paper," Reggie said, with a laugh.

The lights dimmed just then. Yellow, pink, and blue spotlights hit the curtain, and it opened, to reveal the Rainbow Girls, launching into their first song. The entire audience cheered, applauded, and danced.

"I still think their music is way too bubble gum," Jerry said. "But at least you can dance to it!"

"Amen to that, Jer!" Mike shouted.

It didn't matter. The kids clapped, cheered, and danced along with the rest of them. They were having the time of their lives at the concert. They felt that it was the height of their adventure in saving the world from evil.

The End