HE’S A VAMP, BUT I LOVE HIM
WRITTEN BY ZARIUS
Disclaimer: Danger Mouse (2015) and all trademarked characters are property of Freemantle Media and CBBC
It’s a peaceful day in a bustling London park.
A lazy Friday.
A Good Friday.
That’s right, it’s Easter.
Two days to go before the kids tuck into the creamiest chocolaty eggs you can purchase off the high-street.
Two days before Kinder Surprise nets a tidy million in profits.
But before that, there is joy to be had, for the kids are off school, and are quick to embrace their fortnight of freedom.
What could ruin their good mood?
How about balloons?
Yes. You heard right.
Descending upon the park in their thousands, all pouring out of a giant airship with giant bat-like wings attached to each side and a large beak perched at the front.
This vessel can belong to only one creature, the most sinister showman in all of Transylvania, and a threat to the known world, Count Duckula!
“Now that was quite an introduction” said Duckula at the controls of his airship, “I’m glad I wrote it for you Mr. Narrator, and I’m just as grateful you had a chance to read it”
Ok, ok, now will you please cut my family loose?
“Certainly” said Duckula, turning to a trio of terrified human beings tied up in the far left of the airship. He pulled a switch which opened up a hole in the floor which the family fell through.
Yikes! My family is in deadly danger, and here I am depicting every detail of it!
This wasn’t in my contract…no personal stakes, I specifically put that in there, along with a minor raise and a trip to Vienna during mid-series breaks in between the holidays.
Somebody help them!
Fortunately, this narrator’s prayers were swiftly answered as the family came back up through the hole being held in the arms of a trinity of very special secret agents. This world’s finest. Danger Mouse, Jeopardy Mouse, and Penfold, all wearing rocket packs.
“Good thing the plot required us to hang about the back end of your airship Duckula” said DM.
“What is with the balloons Duck? Talk while you still have your beak attached” said Jeopardy
“The balloons contain a special form of gas that, when it comes into contact with the atmosphere, will permanently alter the vocal chords of everyone within proximity, and the first thing they hear afterwards will be what the chords will adapt to, and do you know who they’ll hear?” Duckula boasted, before throwing another switch.
A large series of loud speakers attached to the bottom of the airship were soon charged and ready to emit whatever sound was due to come through.
The top of the airship suddenly opened and an immense gloved hand containing an equally large drawing pin, it lowered gently down and menacingly hovered over the descending balloons.
“Think of it, a whole world speaking my kind of language, I’ll forever be the talk of the town” boasted Duckula.
“Not if we render you mute” said DM, and sped towards Duckula in his rocket pack.
Duckula transformed into a bat and glided across the ship, proving difficult to catch. He turned around and gave DM a taunting rasp, before glancing in horror as Jeopardy and Penfold encircled him in their own rocket packs.
“Penfold, grab him” said Jeopardy.
Penfold went in to grab Duckula by the throat, but the count quickly dug his fangs into Penfold’s fingers. Penfold squealed.
“Cor, ‘Chief, that really hurt” Penfold said, as Duckula ultimately flew down the hole and out of the airship.
“It was just a love bite Penfold” DM said.
“Yeah, well fat chance of us going out on a date, I don’t like the type that bite” said Penfold.
“At least he didn’t burst any balloons” said Jeopardy
“Now all we have to do is gather them up and take them back to headquarters and get them processed at the labs” said DM, “Let’s just hope Squawk doesn’t take it as a sign we’re trying to make up for that birthday party we kept ruining”
Back at headquarters, Professor Squawkencluck took a hammer and beat it down hard on the cotton socks in front of her, fierceness in her eyes. She folded up the socks, curled them into a ball, and griped them tightly.
Seemingly satisfied with what she could feel in her hand, she threw it into a pile of other compressed socks in the back of her lab.
DM, Penfold, and Jeopardy walked in, carrying a cart full of Count Duckula’s balloons. Penfold noticed the rather immense sock collection.
“What’s with all the woolly warmers Professor?” he asked.
“I’m going to attend a convention in the alps in a couple of days, the weather up there is said to be quite brutal this year so I’m enhancing all of my thermal wear with a special alloy that will keep me in pristine temperature even under the coldest conditions” she explained.
“Ah, always nice to present yourself as all warm and fuzzy, suits your personality” noted a sarcastic Danger Mouse.
“Just what is this business with the balloons Danger Mouse?” asked Squawkencluck, trying to change the subject before she snapped again at DM’s teasing.
“They carry a gas that makes you a personal member of a club reserved only for Huey, Dewey, and Loewy” said Jeopardy.
Squawkencluck examined one of the balloons with a keen and sharp eye, “Hmm, yes, yes, I can see the gas somewhat swirling around there, I’ll test it out on a couple of lab rats”
“But we’re the only two rodents in here” said DM, noting himself and Jeopardy.
Squawkencluck folded her arms and raised an eyebrow.
DM and Jeopardy quickly dashed out of the room, leaving her with Penfold.
“I heard you had a little brush with the count” Squawk noted.
“Please, If I ever had children with him, it’d certainly wouldn’t resemble a brush, probably more a stick of broccoli” Penfold replied in jest, before feeling a sharp pain in his right fingers.
“Penfold, are you sure you don’t want to have that checked out?” Squawkencluck asked, worried about Penfold’s condition.
“DM told me it was just a love bite” said Penfold.
“I’d be a bit worried if I were you, this is what the Goosewing institute for vampire research call ‘green fingers’, a process used by rare vampire ducks to convert their victims”
“Well it’s sure made me want to take a bite out of something…like a carrot, or some cucumber…”
“Cravings for vegetarian food? Oh that settles it, you’re not to budge from this lab until I get back” Sqauwkencluck said, “Stay right there while I get you a veggie burger”
Jeopardy and DM made their way over to the canteen, where Danger Moth was waiting.
“I’ll get us something to snack on, you two can talk shop” DM suggested, and headed over to grab a plate and begin making selections. His eyes were trained on a large stack of sandwiches in the far left, dripping with mustard, cheese and relish.
Trouble is, they were all wedged under white bread, and DM knew what scoffing down too much of them could do to your weight. In addition to that, they could block up your bladder.
So his next instinctive act was to check for any brown loafs instead. If anything else, they allowed evacuations to occur much more quickly, which could only be good for his long-term health.
Jeopardy and Danger Moth sat down at the centre table. A copy of the Metro newspaper had been left behind by the previous occupants; Danger Moth took to reading it.
“You’re aware that’s yesterday’s paper right?” said Jeopardy, pointing at the date at the top of the paper.
“Oh I’m not interested in the headlines for yesterday, today, or tomorrow, I’m checking to see if the crossword’s been filled in, or if the funnies are still intact” Danger Moth replied.
“Like to tackle a bit of a puzzle in the mornings then?” asked Jeopardy.
“This is the afternoon” said Danger Moth.
“Forgive me, I’m American, it’s the break of dawn where I come from at this time” Jeopardy said, checking her watch.
“Any news on that Ruby Diamond you’ve been tracking over here?” asked Danger Moth.
“Do you need to remind me of that?” Jeopardy replied, slightly irked.
“My apologies, DM had told me you didn’t take kindly to being lied to on that mission” said Danger Moth.
“Deceiving me in public is one thing, but did he have to do it in a dream sequence?” Jeopardy persisted.
“It’s his way” she said.
“His way?” Jeopardy asked, a bit bamboozled, “His way is constantly thinking of ways to make himself look surer than he actually is. He wants to prove something all of the time to me. I should be flattered, but I’m always left feeling frustrated” she continued.
“Feeling frustrated is still a feeling” said Danger Moth.
“You trying to say something about how I truly feel about that manipulative mouse?” said Jeopardy.
“Certainly not, but he is my friend, I have the right to look out for him when someone shoots him ac cross pair of eyes” replied Danger Moth.
“Is that just a thought, or a feeling all of its own?” asked a suspicious Jeopardy.
Before Danger Moth could reply, Danger Mouse arrived with a couple of brown loafs, chips, and rice.
“Anyone for a chip butty?” he asked.
Squawkencluck re-entered the lab, veggie burger in hand, which was now immersed in darkness.
She demanded some sort of chill run down her spine, but it never occurred.
She wondered why that was.
Perhaps because she didn’t fear what was coming next, maybe it was because she never truly feared the dark.
Maybe she was far too trusting of it.
The lights suddenly flickered on and off, she tried to focus on anything that dared to move besides her.
“P-Penfold?” she said, “Ar-are you there?”
“I’m everywhere” echoed back a voice.
“Are you now?” asked Squawk, “Then would you mind being in the proximity of the light switch? I’m blind as a bat in here”
“Funny you should mention that” said Penfold, as the lights flickered on again, revealing that he was in front of Squawk, looking distinctly dour, the eyes behind his glasses were hazy and blood-red. He was also wearing what looked like a torn bin-bag over his neck.
“Aren’t you a little old for dress-up Penfold?” Squawk said, trying to humour him in light of knowing exactly what was occurring to him.
“I feel older now than my ancestors ever were” said Penfold
“Feel. Not are” Squawk replied, detecting the slick emergence of the Transylvanian accent in his voice.
“Ah, but what are we if we cannot feel? It’s so clear to me now, how much of a lost puppy I was. Me, a hamster…and all I do is curl up to the chief like I were a complacent puppy. I should be more a dog of war, not a dove of peace”
“I like puppies” Squawk replied, humouring him.
“Yes, but you’re also quite content to shoot the dog down sometimes, not pet it” said Penfold, slowly approaching her, extending his right hand, slightly swollen with shades of leafy green across the digits of his fingers.
“What do you want me to do with that?” said Squawk.
“Honour me as a gentleman” said Penfold.
Squawk tried to back out of the lab through the door, only for the lights to flicker again. When she turned to exit, she found herself sealed inside.
Alone with the monster before her.
“Honour me” he said, his mouth now wide open, revealing two sharp fangs.
Squawk screamed, the veggie burger dropped to the floor.
Dishonourable deeds soon commenced.
As the alarm bells rang all over H.Q, Danger Mouse, Jeopardy and Danger Moth sprinted through the bustling corridors amongst the teeming masses of panicking agents and maintenance workers scattering in all directions.
DM pressed a button attached to his right wrist, the hologram of Col. K immediately flared into life
“Status Colonel?” DM asked, “We’ve been running down these corridors ever since lunch, the least you could do is actually point us to a specific room”
“Sorry DM, it’s been a bit of a bad show for us so far” admitted the colonel, “Anyway, it’s been hard to keep track of activity from Professor Squawkencluck’s lab, and most of the people covering the security feeds are too scared to talk about what they witnessed”
“Why is everyone else panicking then if there’s nothing you can get out of the surveillance crew?” said DM.
“Oh, that’s completely unrelated…we’re having a clearance sale” said the Colonel, “People are scrambling either to collect their cards or hide their valuables before security appropriate them for the necessary bidding”
“Is this seriously how you pay for your budget?” asked a nosy Jeopardy.
“We’re on our way to Squawk’s lab Colonel, and whatever you do; please don’t commandeer my precious smoking jacket variant chess pieces”
The trio arrived at the lab, and found that the doors had been forced open and split in half.
They stepped into the inky black room, tip-toeing ever so slightly, only their bright eyes were visible in this black void.
“Professor? Professor?” DM asked.
“We’ve got to find the light switch” said Jeopardy.
“Oh no, don’t even mention that around me” said Danger Moth.
“We can’t see a thing” insisted Jeopardy.
“Yes, but if you so much as flip that switch on, I’ll be mucking about more with that that minding the mission” replied Danger Moth.
“DM’s right” said DM.
“Thanks DM” said…erm…DM.
Oh great, you’ve got me doing that again, how can I tell Mouse and Moth apart when you use the same initials?
“Sorry Narrator” apologized Danger Mouse,
The hologram of Col. K swiftly provided some light on this delicate subject. Literally.
“DM, we’ve finally managed to conjure some courage out of our surveillance unit, this is what they found”
The Mice and Moth looked on horror at what they glimpsed, their friend Penfold taking a nibble at Sqauwkencluck’s fingers, Squawkencluck fainting, Penfold prying the doors open, and then swiftly carrying Squawk out of the lab, before suddenly transforming into a fogey sort of mist that seeped through the walls of the Mayfare h.q.
“Penfold…is…a critter of the night” Danger Mouse said in his best William Shatner impersonation.
“Horrifying” said Danger Moth.
“He must have been turned by Duckula” noted Jeopardy, “Is there any way we can revert him back to normal? And where could he be going?”
“Shouldn’t be too hard to track him, I put a tracer in one of his fillings from that time I dragged him to the dentist in case he ever lost it, I could easily trace it and drag him to the dentist all over again to put it back in” replied Danger Mouse, taking a small tracking device out of his right pocket.
The device began to make an audible beeping sound.
“Ah, it still works a treat, come on, this ought to lead you right to him”
“What do you mean just us?” said a suspicious Jeopardy.
“I’m afraid I have to take my leave of you fine ladies” said DM, as he reached back into his pocket and produced one of the Professor’s latest inventions, a back-episode teleport bracelet, and attached it to his wrist.
“Where could you be going at this crucial minute?” said Jeopardy.
“There’s only one person that knows how to turn Penfold back from villainous vampire to harmless hamster, and that’s the blighter who bit him” said Danger Mouse.
“You’re going to ask for Duckula’s help?” Danger Moth asked in alarm.
“I’m afraid I have no choice” said Danger Mouse.
“Neither do I then” said Jeopardy, and laid out the Mouse with a swift right hook from a clenched and furious fist.
She swiftly descended upon the limp body and pried the teleport bracelet from his wrist, attaching it to her own.
“Are you sure that was necessary?” asked Danger Moth as she knelt over DM’s body and subjected him to some smelling salts to help bring him back around.
“Danger Dimwit never thinks these sort of things through” noted Jeopardy, “The Count’s plans being thwarted earlier will still be fresh in his mind, he won’t think twice about subjecting Danger Mouse to repercussions”
“What advantage do you think you’ll have then?” Danger Moth asked.
“With DM he’ll fancy a bite, it’s with me he’ll just fancy” Jeopardy replied, giving Danger Moth a wink and activating the teleporter.
And so we join Jeopardy as she rolls back several episodes back to Transylvania, where the Count is in the midst of administrating some of his own hot air to a fresh supply of balloons.
Say, why you so insistent on repeating a past crime Count?
“Because, you narrative nimrod, the writers have stuck me with a recycled script, they’re far too lazy to cobble together a fresh scheme for me to concoct. All they care about on their weekends off are complacent little asides for transmitted episodes”
So? Just rebel and doctor the script like you did before.
“I can’t, I need a security pass” The Count said, holding up the script and instructing you, the reader, to imagine a long hard stare at the fine print at the bottom.
I have to say IMAGINE because this story is read only and does not have the benefit of imagery.
“I can help you with that” said a confident Jeopardy as she materialized before the count, startling him, but also leaving him lovelorn and star struck in awe of her splendour.
“Jeopardy, to what do I owe this privilege?”
“I’m here to clean up your mess” Jeopardy revealed.
Duckula let out a sigh of relief.
“About time, the sanitation workers want me to pay for all the bags they bring to store what I’ve got littered around the place” Duckula said, pointing to a mountain of grime and debris.
Jeopardy grabbed his beak and snapped it shut, looking into his eyes with a stealthy glare from her own.
“No, I meant the mess you left poor Penfold in. He’s turned into a vampire and is converting the whole base into a castle”
“What do I get out of it?”
“The only reason you can’t doctor a script is because I made sure to secure them all with a pass code that only I have knowledge of. Help us undo whatever you did to Penfold and you can alter the script to make me say anything you like”
“Anything?” said Duckula.
The Count pondered the possibilities, and gave his answer with a tender pressing of lips to the back of Jeopardy’s right hand.
“I’ll write you a cheque coming in” he joked.
Jeopardy withdrew her hand and rubbed it across her right hand side in disgust.
“Just promise me you won’t make me say something you’ll regret” she said.
“You have my word as a gentle-duck” said Duckula.
Back at H.Q, Moth and Mouse were trying to enter the Colonel’s office.
“It’s no use” Danger Mouse said as he strained to turn the knob, “This door is weighed down in fourteen carrots”
“I didn’t know the colonel’s accommodations were so expensive” Danger Moth replied.
“No I mean Penfold’s wedged fourteen carrots together around the door knob, making it tough to open” Danger Mouse said, correcting her.
The two agents began to notice that the corridors were slowly transforming, becoming much wider, and several portraits of Penfold and Sqauwkencluck, arm in arm, dressed from head to toe in Edwardian era garb standing over mountains of undressed potatoes and both holding muskets loaded with cabbages, lined the walls.
Danger Mouse inspected one of the plaques on the portraits.
“What does it say?” Danger Moth asked.
“This way up” said Danger Mouse, pointing to the sentence and an arrow pointing him in such a direction.
Danger Mouse looked upwards to find the top end of the musk bleed like a three dimensional object out of the canvas. The fearless mouse pressed the edge of the musk in slightly with the tip of his finger.
The door to the Colonel’s office slid to the left and left in its wake a long black passageway. With every step Mouse and Mouth took down it, the steps lit up.
Danger Moth was easily distracted by the bright lights, and hovered joyously over several of the steps, forcing Danger Mouse to grab her by the collar and hold on to her tightly to prevent her from being preoccupied.
Finally, they reached another thin door, Danger Mouse kicked it down and the two fell down a warp hole into a vast chamber alight with all manners of flickering blue, crimson and emerald flames.
At the centre of the room was a small mountain, atop which sat a throne, and perched on that throne was Penfold.
To his right was a bird cage containing Squawkencluck, who had been converted to a vampire, and who was letting out a few high notes and soothing Penfold to sleep.
“He’s asleep, let’s make sure whatever he’s hearing now is exit music” Danger Mouse said, and made a dash towards the mountain throne.
Suddenly, bleeding out from the walls came shadow goblins, each with Penfold’s glasses attached to their faces, a pair of scythes slowly slid out of the thick black coating that formed their hands, they charged without hesitation at Danger Mouse, who stood poised to engage in combat.
Danger Moth took the decision out of his hands, flying overhead, she honed in on him and plucked Danger Mouse up before the shadow goblins could gut him with the scythes.
Penfold, without opening his eyes, snapped his fingers. The bird cage’s doors flew open and the vampire Squawkencluck sprang out, transforming into a bat-like creature and chasing over Danger Moth, digging into the back of her with ferocious pecks from a sharp beak.
Danger Moth was weakened by the continuous pecking and her hold on Danger Mouse slipped and he crash landed at the tip of Penfold’s mountaintop throne, and as he stirred, he found himself face to face with the heinous hamster, now fully awake.
“Cor Chief, you look pale, oh wait, that’s because you’re traditionally white, we’re going to have to put some fresh ketchup in your veins to bring all that colour back to you” Penfold said, cackling.
“Penfold, you’re not yourself, let us help you” Danger Mouse pleaded.
“Will you honour me first Chief?” Penfold said, lunging at his former friend with his sharply tipped green fingers, eager to convert the mouse.
As he did so, Count Duckula and Jeopardy swiftly materialised before him, Jeopardy gave Penfold a ferocious roundhouse kick that sent him reeling, while Duckula transformed into a winged matador, flying up to Squawkencluck, and tempting her bull-headedness with a red blanket.
She ceased her attack on Danger Moth and flew towards the blanket, Duckula swiftly stood aside and Squawkencluck crashed into the side of a wall.
Duckula and Danger Moth joined Danger Mouse and Jeopardy on the mountaintop throne, ready to close in on Penfold, but he had another trick up his sleeve.
Indeed, he produced from his sleeve a sharply tipped piece of steak and threw it like a javelin at Jeopardy.
Duckula threw himself in the line of fire and opened his beak, the steak went through his mouth and lodged in his throat.
“Oh no” cried Jeopardy as Duckula leaned backwards into her arms, weakened greatly and choking.
“There’s one delicacy Vegetarian Vampires fear, and that’s a nice warm meal” said Penfold.
Jeopardy’s memory raced back to earlier in the day, a flash of inspiration came to her.
“Do you have anything left over from the time we spent in the cafeteria?” Jeopardy asked Danger Mouse.
“Just the usual burger I take with me on the way out” he said, producing the burger from his pockets.
“Excellent, your greedy stomach may have saved us all” Jeopardy replied.
“Ready yourself for the end Chief, for tonight we might dine on tomato soup” Penfold replied.
“Doesn’t really have a blood-curdling tone to it does it old chum?” Danger Mouse replied, etching closer and closer to Penfold as he was lulled into a false sense of security through the small chatter.
“Can’t say it does Chief, we’re all so limited by our choice of diet” said Penfold.
“Maybe you need to see an expert on these kind of matters, here, I’ve arranged a meat and greet for you” said Danger Mouse, thrusting the burger into Penfold’s mouth and forcing Penfold to bite down.
Swiftly, Penfold transformed back into his humble hamster self, and the changes made to the Mayfare Mailbox were undone.
Colonel K’s hologram lit up.
“Ah congratulations DM, it’s a good thing I locked myself out of the base earlier, heavens knows what kind of show tunes young Pip-squawk in there would have had me chirping”
“That’s Penfold sir” corrected a perplexed Penfold.
He then turned his attention to Squawkencluck, dusting herself off.
“P-Professor? You’re not mad at are you?” a humble and apologetic Penfold asked of his victim as she observed herself in the mirror inspecting her fangs.
“I know it wasn’t entirely your fault Penfold, but I am going to have to see a shrink” she said.
“Oh no, I’ve mentally scarred her” said Penfold, reduced to a fountain of tears.
Squawkencluck patted him on the head as she reassured him that was not the case.
“No, no, that was short for one of my patented minimising rays, just to bring these large fangs you gave me down to a more manageable level” she said.
“Oh, could you give mine a once-over too?” Penfold asked.
“No, I think you’ll just have to get yours pried out by the dentist, you’ve got to pay some sort of price” Squawkencluck replied.
Penfold laughed, assuming she didn’t mean this.
“I wasn’t joking” Squawkencluck asserted.
Penfold fell silent and hung his head in solemn frustration. Squawk smiled and gave him a hug.
Danger Mouse walked over to Jeopardy as she cradled Duckula’s barely conscious body. She was performing the Heimlich manoeuvre on him.
She eventually succeeded in dislodging the piece of steak trapped in his throat, she reached down into it and pulled it out.
“Jeopardy, are you sure that’s wise? If you make him chew the meat, you stand a chance of converting him back to normal”
“Do you really want to turn a normal vampire loose on this mailbox Mouse?” said Jeopardy.
“Good point” Danger Mouse replied.
“Besides, he’s a vamp, but I love him” she continued.
Realising what she said, and suspicious of what drove her to say it, she withdrew her hold on Duckula just as he sprang right back up.
“Ok Count, you’ve had your fun, now get out of here before the script insists I arrest you” she said.
“What fun? I haven’t written anything yet” Duckula replied.
“You must have written something before we arrived then” she said.
“No, I came here with you as soon as we were both ready” insisted Duckula.
“Wow Jeopardy, I never pegged you as a vampire’s vixen” noted Penfold.
“I’d never be one, he made me say those words” a frustrated Jeopardy said.
Duckula shook his head, then recollected something.
“Oh I almost forgot, I did write something into the script before we arrived” he said.
“Ah ha” she said, glad that her hunch was apparently right.
A bell rang and a bell boy walked into the Colonel’s offices, handing Jeopardy something.
True to the Count’s word, a cheque had come in.
“I told you I’d write you a cheque” he said.
“It’s blank” Jeopardy noted.
“I said I’d write you a cheque coming in, and so it did, I didn’t say anything about money being part of the package“
A frustrated Jeopardy chased after him, furious that she had not only let it slip she actually liked him, but that he had cheated her out of a tidy profit for all her troubles in today’s episode.
“Well Duckula, I hope this teaches you a valuable lesson” Danger Mouse cautioned.
“What’s that?” Duckula replied as he narrowly avoided several swipes and kics from Jeopardy
“Never write cheques your mouse can’t cash”