Part 2: Entrance to Madness
“Zim!” Dib shouted and ran after him. He pumped his legs as hard as they would go and soon was right on Zim’s tail (yes, Zim literally had a cute, fluffy cotton tail to go along with the rest of his bunny motif). “Zim!” he panted, “Where are we? What’s going on?”
The Zim-rabbit flashed his red, angry eyes at Dib in annoyance. “I know not of this ‘Zim’ of which you speak,” he snarled, “so stop calling me that! I am the White Rabbit and you will refer to me as such.”
“Oh give me a break, Zim. All you did was put some bunny ears on and tie a stupid pink nose around your head. Do you think I’m dumb?”
“As a matter of fact…” Zim smirked, and Dib scowled knowing he’d walked right into that one.
Dib tried to cook up a good retaliation, but he was running out of breath and Zim was now too far ahead to hear him anyway. Zim whipped around a corner, and a moment later Dib did the same, finding himself in a large, dimly lit room with a high, arched ceiling. He spotted a small table made of glass sitting off to the side, but as for Zim there was absolutely no sign of him.
“He got away AGAIN!” Dib growled. His eyes darted around the room, looking for Zim’s means of escape, but instead they landed on something sitting on the table. Dib walked over, his boot heels echoing loudly on the checkered tile floor, and picked up the tiny object.
“A key? Then there must be a door around here somewhere.” Dib looked around again; he didn’t see any doors, but behind him he spied a low curtain covering a section of the wall. Being his paranoid self he eyed it suspiciously, then cautiously pulled a corner aside revealing a small door which barely came up to his knees.
“You have GOT to be kidding me,” Dib narrowed an eye.
He set the key back on the table and kneeled down to examine the door more closely. “How am I supposed to get through that!?” he frowned. He then noticed the oddly shaped doorknob; it had a zigzag, lightning-like spike on top and what looked like a tiny pair of goggles just above the handle which was semi-funnel shaped. The form was vaguely familiar and reminded Dib of their lamps back home. D-Dad? Dib thought, and then promptly shook it off. What am I thinking!? That’s ridiculous! He reached down and turned the funny looking knob only to be rewarded with a loud yelp of surprise. Dib, caught completely off guard, returned the scream and jumped backwards.
“Blast it all, this is the third time this week that’s happened!” the doorknob spoke in an authoritative, yet eerily familiar voice. “You don’t have to turn so hard you know.”
“Sorry,” the boy apologized, realizing he wasn’t really all that shocked to be talking to a doorknob. After all, he did go to skool with an alien; he could certainly handle this.
“Think nothing of it,” came the reply. “Now, is there something I can help you with young man?”
“Actually I was wondering if an alien dressed up like a rabbit came through here by any chance.”
“As a matter of fact he did. You just missed him.”
“So Zim was here!” Dib furrowed his brow and clenched his fists determinedly. “I have to follow him!”
“Don’t be silly my boy,” the door chuckled, “You’d never be able to fit that big head of yours through here.”
“My head is not big!” Dib huffed in exasperation, “Why does everyone always say that?”
“Well, nonetheless I suggest you try that bottle over on the table.”
“Huh? But there’s no b-…” Dib began, but when he turned around he did in fact see a small vial sitting on the glass tabletop. Well it wasn’t there before he thought walking over and picking it up. “Hmm… Drink Me,” he read the words printed on the tag draped around the bottleneck and eyed the liquid suspiciously. “And exactly how is drinking this stuff supposed to help me?”
“What do I look like, a Professor? Just do it!” the door spoke up impatiently.
“Alright, alright,” Dib stuck out his jaw and grudgingly uncorked the bottle. He didn’t exactly trust this thing, but he was a little thirsty. Dib took a hesitant sip. “Mm, not bad,” he remarked and took a longer drink. He stuck the cork back in and set the half-empty bottle on the table, but as he did so he noticed that something seemed a little… off. Was that table always so high up? Dib tried to remember. Suddenly an odd sensation began coursing through his body and it seemed like the entire room was expanding around him. “What the-…!?” Dib gasped as he realized he was shrinking! In a matter of seconds the spiky-haired boy stood no higher than a Popsicle stick.
Dib’s jaw hung open as he looked down at himself, examining his new size. “Hmm,” he pulled on a corner of his jacket and cocked an eyebrow, “how come my clothes shrank too?” Oh well, it was best not to question a good thing.
Dib ran over to the door, which he was now the perfect size to fit through, eager to get out of this room and catch up to Zim. He grabbed the knob and twisted it several times, frowned, then started pulling and tugging on it as hard as he could.
“Ow! Hey, take it easy there,” the doorknob pleaded.
“But I can’t get the door open,” Dib complained.
“Well of course you can’t.”
“Huh? Why not?”
“Because I’m locked.”
“Oh, okay, I guess that explains…” it slowly dawned on Dib what had been said. “Wait a minute, You’re WHAT!?”
“I said I’m locked. Didn’t I mention that?”
“NO!” Dib grabbed a fistful of hair and shook his head hopelessly.
“You have the key, don’t you?” the door inquired.
“Hmm? What key?”
“The little gold one.”
Dib’s face suddenly brightened. “Oh that key! Yeah I left it over on the table,” he chuckled in relief and started walking over. “I’ll just go… and… um, get…it…” he trailed off as he approached the table realizing that it was now about seven times higher than he was. Dib groaned and smacked his forehead.
“Don’t tell me you left it up there,” the door remarked.
“Gee, you think?” Dib shot back. The boy stormed over and stared up at the key through the glass. He tried everything he could think of to try and get it; he tried climbing a table leg, but kept sliding down, then he tried charging the table and ramming it to nudge the key off the edge, but only succeeded in nearly dislocating his shoulder. He tried willing it over the side, but lacked the necessary spooky mind powers to do so. Finally he tried yelling and cursing at it, but the key still didn’t budge. Dib sighed helplessly and slumped to the ground; he was really not enjoying his altered height.
“Well, I guess you’re doomed to spend the rest of your life here,” the door piped up cheerily.
Dib blinked, not sure he’d heard correctly. “What!?”
“Heh heh, just kidding,” it snickered.
“Real funny,” Dib muttered.
The door went on, “If you really want out, all you have to do is look next to you.”
Dib did, and spotted a small box sitting next to his hand, which he opened to discover a little snack cake with ‘BITE ME’ written on it in white frosting. He raised an eyebrow at the odd choice of wording, but figured if the bottle had made him small, then this just might make him bigger, and he’d gladly take the risk if it meant reaching the key. “Besides, it’s not like I’ve got a lot of options here,” he added out loud. Before he could change his mind, Dib picked up the cake and chomped into it.
Dib got to his feet and waited for some sort of reaction. He measured himself against the table leg, but as far as he could tell he hadn’t changed a bit. Frowning, he walked a little ways away from the table and tried again, holding his hand over his head to see if he’d gotten any larger, but still nothing happened. “Great,” he pouted crossing his arms, “It’s not work- Whoa!” before he could finish speaking too soon, Dib found that the room was rapidly closing in on him; he was growing at an unheard-of rate, and he cried out in pain as the back of his head suddenly smacked up against the ceiling.
“Oww…” Dib moaned, rubbing his sore cranium, realizing in horror that he was now well over twenty feet tall.
“Looks like you took too big of a bite,” the door called up to him.
“Not THIS big!” Dib gestured down, his voice rising with panic.
“Are you ok, son? You hit your big head pretty hard there.”
“My head is NOT…!” Dib paused, “Well um, yeah ok… maybe now it’s big,” he hung his head sadly.
“Look on the bright side,” said the door, and Dib stared at it as if it’d just suggested he put a live lobster down his pants. “At least now you can reach the key.”
Dib reached down next to his ankle and plucked the key off the table, pinching it between two fingers. Looking at it sitting in the palm of his hand he thought it resembled a grain of sand more than it did a key. “Hmph. Lotta good it does me now,” he huffed in frustration. All this was just too much for him; he was prepared to deal with aliens and vampires and bigfoot and stuff, but THIS!? This place defied all logic! And now he was so ludicrously huge he couldn’t fit through a regular sized door, let alone the little one. He was stuck here and at this size for the rest of his life, and now there’d be no one to protect the world from Zim’s evil clutches. Dib’s lower lip began to quiver and he felt the hot sting of tears gathering in the corners of his eyes. He tried desperately not to give in to the urge to cry, but a few stray teardrops managed to spill over his eyelids and splatter on the floor.
Seeing Dib’s distress, the doorknob sighed sympathetically. “Oh, come on, settle down now. You don’t want to start a flood, do you? And anyway you can always finish what’s left of the bottle.”
Dib sniffled and wiped his eyes, his expression brightening a bit. He’d completely forgotten about that! (Funny how your mind works in these situations, isn’t it?) The boy knelt down and picked up the bottle, being extremely careful not to crush it between his giant fingertips. It was a royal hassle trying to get the cork out and Dib eventually just gave up and swallowed the bottle like a pill. Almost instantly he felt himself growing smaller, until he was once again only a few inches tall. He gripped the key, which he still held in his hand, and rushed happily over to the little door, splashing through a large puddle of his own tears as he went. I’m glad I didn’t cry any more than this, he thought, a little embarrassed with himself for crying in the first place, or who knows what kind of disaster it might have turned into. Why did I cry anyway? That’s pretty unusual for me. Of course the whole situation was pretty unusual.
“Finally! I can get out of this stupid room,” he exclaimed as he fumbled with the lock.
“Um, there is a little something I should probably warn you about first,” the door informed him.
Dib turned the knob. “Why, what’s there to warn me abo-…?” he was suddenly and unexpectedly interrupted as an enormous rush of water thundered through the opening. He was thrown violently back and swallowed in the ensuing tide. The room was flooding quickly, and Dib was forcefully sucked through the door and swept away by the current. He struggled to the surface and spit out a mouthful of water, finding himself in the middle of an endless expanse of ocean.
Waves kept washing over him and filling his mouth with water. “Ugh, this is just perfect,” Dib complained. “That dumb door could’ve warned me before I opened it. Now instead of withering away in that room I get to drown.” He swam around aimlessly for a few minutes until he spotted a strip of land and made his way over, gratefully stumbling onto the shore. As Dib wrung out his trench coat and dumped the water out of his boots he noticed he was standing at the mouth of a forest. He also heard a splishing noise behind him and turned just in time to see Zim crawling out of the water.
The rabbit-suited alien coughed and sputtered as he stood up and shook the water off his tail. “Good thing I bathed in extra paste this morning,” he muttered and took off into the woods.
“Zim! Wait!” Dib, wasting no time, quickly pulled on his coat and boots and was after him in a flash.