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In Search of Attractions

Title: In Search of Attractions
Author: chilibreath
X-posted to: Tumblr / FF.net / AO3
Rating: G
Summary: 12-year-old Ford wanders into the forest to look for a new attraction for the Mystery Shack.

July 6

What a day! Great Aunt Mabel made a bet with Stan and he’s been left in charge of the Mystery Shack (ridiculous but true).

Stan asked me to find a legit (his word, not mine) attraction for Great Aunt Mabel’s tour—AND I DID IT!! I went to a scary-looking part of the forest and built one of those tiger traps. Only one small hiccup…

---

It started with Stan arguing that Mabel would make more money if she stopped giving free stuff—like stickers—away. It escalated to a point where Stan made a wager that he could make more money if he ran the Shack for one day. The next thing Ford knew, his Grauntie was loading up her bedazzled El Diablo with an overnight bag. She was out of her Miss Mystery suit and wore a fuzzy pink sweater with a shooting star in front and a long blue skirt.

Before hopping into her car, she called out: “See ya in 72 hours, kiddo! We’ll see who makes more money!” Then she threw her fez at her great-nephew before driving away. They could hear her laughing away from the Shack.

Though Ford had his misgivings about Stan running their Grauntie’s business, they went right out the window when Stan tossed the ratty Wolf Boy costume into a nearby shredder.

(“Be astounded at the awkward, pre-teen Wolf Boy!” Mabel announced before pulling the curtain. Ford sighed as he scratched at the places where the costumed itched.

“Grauntie Mabel, this is demeaning!” Ford grouched.

“What?” Mabel shouted. “I don’t know de meaning of that word!” Ford rolled his eyes as his Grauntie and the tourists start laughing. He groaned when Mabel added, “If you throw money and compliments at him, he dances!”)

“Die, wolf boy costume, die!” Stan yelled. Adjusting the clip-on tie on his suit, he pointed to his twin and said firmly, “I want you to head into the woods, and don't come back until you find an amazing attraction!!”

Ford broke into a wide smile. He grabbed a flail from the “Wall of Death” attraction and yelled, “Finally! It's time to show Mabel how a REAL mystery hunter does it!”

He ran for the nearest window and climbed out of it. The flail made him lose his balance and knock over a couple of trash cans.

“I’m okay!”

---

Several minutes later, after walking the farthest in the woods he ever had, Ford tossed the shovel over the mouth of the hole before clambering out of it.

“This should be deep enough,” he panted, wiping the sweat off his brow with the back of his hand. He picked up the shovel and headed for the cart parked nearby. The twelve-year-old placed the shovel next to his brown jacket and picked up the thermos.

After taking a swig of water, he smacked his lips and smiled. “Best-case scenario, I catch a werewolf!” he said to himself. “Worst-case, probably a gnome or two…”

He leaned back and closed his eyes. He could see it now: Stanford Pines, the famous monster-hunting scientist…

KZAT!

Ford dropped the thermos in surprise. He jumped up and looked around.

“What was that?” he thought, peering through the trees. Then he heard the crashing behind him. Judging by the sounds, it was something HUGE and it was heading towards his trap.

Ford beamed; he pulled on his jacket, grabbed a large sack and the shovel and sprinted towards his trap.

“Please be a werewolf! Please be a werewolf!” he muttered as he ran back into the clearing. What he saw made him stop in his tracks.

It was a creature he memorized from the pine-tree journal. The Author called it a “Gremloblin”: half-gremlin and half-goblin, with mushrooms growing out of its wide and hairy shoulders. It had stopped in its tracks about the same time he did, inches away from the hole. For a moment, boy and beast stared at each other.

And then Ford blinked.

The Gremloblin roared.

In his panic, Ford dropped the sack, turned right and ran full-tilt into the forest. He didn’t turn to look behind him; the crashing through the trees were enough to tell him that the monster was still after him.

He started yelling as he sensed the monster gaining on him.

“GET DOWN!!!”

Bewildered, Ford got a split-second glance at the dark figure in front of him before dropping to his knees.

ZOW!

Overhead, Ford heard a loud crack above and a louder THUNK! The ground shuddered as a great weight toppled to the forest floor.

Ford carefully looked up and behind him. The Gremloblin was lying face-down on the ground, knocked out cold by a branch that was taller and wider than he is.

“Are you okay, kid?” asked a deep voice.

The boy turned around. The person standing a few feet in front of him looked like he stepped out of Maria’s favorite dystopian teenage novel, The Divergent Games. A tall figure dressed mostly in black, the long coat and boots were dusty, the head and neck were covered with a hood, scarf and large goggles. In one hand, he held a strange-looking, futuristic gun with a triangular barrel. There also seemed to be a large thing strapped to the man’s back.

“I-I’m okay, th-thanks,” Ford said shakily, standing up slowly and brushing the debris from his pants.

He looked up and saw the stranger staring at his hands. Of course, with the dark tint of the goggles, Ford couldn’t tell if the stranger’s eyes were staring at his hands, but he had enough experience with bullies and rude people to know when they’re looking. The boy immediately shoved his hands inside his pockets, feeling embarrassed.

“They’re nothing to be ashamed of,” the stranger said kindly, making the boy look up at him in surprise.

“What do you mean?” Ford asked.

In response, the stranger raised one hand and wiggled his fingers. Ford counted them mentally and gasped.

“You have six fingers too!” he whispered, looking at the stranger in awe. “I thought I was the only one!”

The stranger chuckled. “Small universe,” he murmured in amusement. He gestured to the unconscious Gremloblin. “Listen, you better get out of here and head on home before that thing wakes up. I’ll take care of it and make sure it doesn’t follow you.”

“Uh…okay,” Ford murmured, feeling dazed. Something in the stranger’s tone suggested that arguing would lead to nowhere. He was about to walk away from the stranger when he realized something. He turned swiftly to face the stranger again.

“Are you the Author?!” Ford asked excitedly. He pulled out the journal out from a pocket inside his jacket, raising the blue book in the air with the silver pine tree cover facing the stranger. A black number “3” was painted over the silver tree.

The stranger looked at him, then shook his head. “That’s not mine,” he said quietly.

Ford felt deflated. “Oh, okay,” he said, tucking the journal back into his jacket. He still didn’t move as the stranger instructed. Ma and Grauntie Mabel always told them not to talk to strangers, but something about this man seemed familiar.

“I’ve never seen you around,” Ford said, hoping the squeak in his voice didn’t make him sound scared or stupid. “Are you from around here?”

“No,” the stranger replied.

The reply gave Ford additional courage.

“Are you from space?” he asked excitedly. “Are you an alien?!”

The stranger chuckled. “Definitely not. I’m a human, like you.”

Ford looked him up and down. “Why are you dressed like that? It’s summer! You could get heatstroke, you know.”
“It’s a practical outfit for an interdimensional outlaw, if you must know,” the man replied drily. He sounds defensive. “And you’re one to talk; you’re wearing a jacket.”

Ford looked down at himself. “Touché. Wait…you’re a criminal?!”

The stranger shook his head. He raised both his hands in the air. “Look, between you and me, I’ve been framed. There are evil forces out to get me and I need to be on the move to the next location. Th-this is why I haven’t removed my goggles and scarf. It’s best if you don’t know what I look like, in case they come here and decide to interrogate you.”

Ford’s eyes widened. “Woah…” he breathed.

“Exactly,” said the man. He stiffened; Ford looked around and spotted the Gremloblin shifting. It was waking up!
“Get out of here, kid!” the man growled. “I’ll take care of this thing before I leave.”

“Are you sure?” Ford asked, looking apprehensive. The Gremloblin was huge; how was this guy going to “take care” of it? Ford looked at the thing behind the stranger’s back and wondered…

“Yes!” the stranger gritted out. “Get out of here now!”

Ford decided to heed the man’s warning this time and sprinted away.

---

After stunning the Gremloblin and making sure that the boy left the area, Stanford Pines took off his goggles and scarf and sighed. If his suspicion was correct, it was a good thing the kid decided not to touch him.

---

Later that night, under the sketch of the cool-looking stranger he encountered in the forest, Ford wrote the following words in Journal 3:

I wonder if I will ever see this guy again…I never got to ask for his name. For the purposes of identification, I have decided to give him my nickname, “Sixer”.

---

Note: This is in line with the prompt “Week 1: Portal (Dimension travels)”. Some of the elements were lifted from Journal 3 and the episode “Boss Mabel”.

Maria is Soos’ grandmother in the Relativity Falls AU.