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Multiplex Maze

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The light of the television screen bounced off of Mabel's brown eyes as she snuggled into the old and worn chair. She reached for a cup of her special "Mabel Juice," which was placed on top of the old VHS tape of Multiplex Maze, an inappropriately used coaster, considering it was a rental. The man on the screen danced around, his white, bushy hair flopping in the air while he cocked one pointy eyebrow at the camera. The glitter off of his lustrous cape winked against the drab stones of the groblin castle.


She clutched her knees up to her chest and blushed. "King Hunky Bubbles is so... dreamy. Look at his cool hair!"


"Uhg," Dipper rolled his eyes. He was perched on the back of the chair, feet dangling down beside her. "Can we please watch anything else?"


She drew a long sip out of her vibrant pink juice, plastic dinosaurs rattling inside, and slammed the glass back down. "No way. I'm watching it. It's so unfair! We always watch the boring movies that you like. This time we are watching what I want."


"Ghost Harassers is not a boring movie. It's got ghosts, explosions," he began to count each item on his fingers, "really big vacuums, oh- and it's not stupid." He gestured at the TV screen, "I mean, look at this. Those effects are so dumb, it doesn't even look real."


Flopping her head into the back of the chair Mabel groaned. "They're not effects, they're puppets. And besides," she looked at the screen enthusiastically, as one feathery pink puppet popped its head off and began to juggle it. "They're adorable," she swooned.


Dipper shuddered and leapt off the chair in a panic. "No! There is nothing cute about their lifeless eyes or their creepy little velvety hands." He caught his breath and cleared his throat, "I mean, it all looks really stupid."


Mabel slammed her hands down on the arm rests of the chair and leaned over. Cheeks red and hot she yelled, "Dipper, I really, really wish that all the little groblins in this movie would come and take you away so I could actually watch it without any of your annoying, dumb complaints!"


She felt a slight rumble from behind the chair as she glared at Dipper venomously.


Her brother scoffed and crossed his arms. He looked away, trying to hide the growing redness of his cheeks. "Yeah, sure Mabel. Because this is just like the movie and all the groblins are going to—Ahh!" As he spoke, tiny gray hands and bodies began to pop out from within the living room of the Mystery Shack. A little groblin crawled its way out from underneath the sofa, while two burst out from the hollowed out eye sockets of the T-Rex head used as a side table. Wrinkled and velvety bodies swung from the rafters and swarmed over the television. The tufts of hair on their heads stuck up in different directions and their mouths were pulled into almost constant frowns with sharp teeth poking out.


Mabel pulled her feet up onto the chair to avoid the prying hands of her unwanted guests. She pushed a groblin off the back of the chair and on to the floor with a solid thud. "They're not as cute up close!" She plucked a groblin off the ground, holing it out as it kicked and squirmed. Her fingers drummed against it. "Ooh but they're so soft."


Beside her, Dipper knocked groblins off to the side as they tried to grip on to the back of his vest and on to his ankles. He swung a punch, tossing a groblin back into the air. Another groblin leapt onto his arm, pinning it to his side. "Uhh, Mabel?" he said, a quiver in his voice. Backing into the wall, Dipper watched on in horror as the groblins dragged him down by his wrists and the collar of his shirt. Their unblinking eyes stared at him, causing him to tremble and fall to his knees.


Finally overcoming him, the groblins snickered and pulled Dipper out of the living room and out the front door, his finger nails scratching at the old wood. "Mabel! Help!" he said, giving one more desperate claw at the ground before the door slammed in his face.


Mabel stood alone atop the chair cushion caught mid-pose as the rest of the groblins sneaked away. Her arms flopped to her sides as she stared at the door. So the groblins actually took her brother away... "Wow," she shrugged before dropping back into her seat. "Now I finally get to watch this movie!" She grinned and stared again at the screen. Finally, no more interruptions. "Dipper will be fine. This is what he gets for being a butt-head. After all, it's just a bunch of puppets."


Just as she settled back into the chair, a shimmering light flashed in the doorway. Then, leaning against the door frame, was a tall man in a sequined low cut shirt that sent a dark purple cast across the torn wallpaper. His hair was very spiky, his eyeshadow very contoured, and his pants—very leather. Mabel felt her heart skip and leap in her chest. Her brown eyes widened at the sight and she could barely suppress her grin.


It was the Groblin King from the movie, in all his twinkly-ness.


"King Hunky Bubbles!" She leapt off the chair and reached out for one of his very leather legs, fingers itching to get closer. "You're real! And you're so shiny. Are you here to take me away on a grand adventure of peril and romance?"


King Hunky Bubbles gave his hair a dramatic shake and stared off at something in the distance. "My dear, I am here because you wished the groblins would take your brother away and now they have—and what are you doing?" He looked down only to find the young girl with her hands clutched around his arm, rubbing at the sequins of his shirt.


"You're like a melodramatic art supply store, but with legs," Mabel whispered.


King Hunky Bubbles gave her a shake, but Mabel refused to let go, only holding on tighter. The strange visitor sighed and used his free hand to conjure up a glass bubble in his hand for Mabel to look into.


Releasing her grip she took a step forward to look at it, her mouth like a little o. "Ooh."


Inside she could see the image of a large stone castle surrounded by green mazes and small huts. The sun shone in a hazy brown fog. "I have taken your brother to my castle, if you wish to see him again you must defeat my maze. If you don't you..."


"Wait!" Mabel shouted.


"What?"


"Are you telling me you live in this castle?"


"Yes."


"Like all alone. No one else. No girlfriend or quirky roommate or anything?"


"Yes?" King Hunky Bubbles said again, more confused.


"Then let's do it!"


"Are you even interested in anything that I am going to do to your brother? You don't want to hear my master plan?" he pleaded.


Mabel shrugged, "I mean, not really. But your voice sounds like how kittens feel. So just go on and keep talking. I'm listening."


King Hunky Bubbles groaned and let his mystical bubble pop in the air. "To sum it up. You have thirteen hours to figure out my maze or I will turn your brother into one of my groblins. Got it?"
"And that means I get to hang out with you... in your castle... no one else around. Just you and me and all your sequins."


"Well, actually," the Groblin King began before Mabel cut him off.


"I didn't hear a no!"


Mabel bounded towards the front door, prepared to knock down anything in her path. When she swung open the door, the back porch of the Mystery Shack was not there—like it usually was. Instead a vast land of sand and vine covered maze walls were spread out before her, endless and mesmerizing. It was almost like a painting, or maybe a really bad green screen. This world was certainly not her own. "Huh?" Mabel said as she spun around to ask King Hunky Bubbles one more question about where to even begin her quest. But when she looked, he was already gone, a small pile of glitter left in his place.


She braced herself towards the front door and placed her hands on the sides of her puffy white sweater with brown detailing down the front. "Grunkle Stan," she yelled. "I'm going off on an adventure to find that sparkle-sparkle man who's too old for me!" Taking her first step out the door, she spun around one more time before her foot hit the dirt floor. "Oh and I'm gonna go save Dipper too. Maybe. Okay, bye!"


The door slammed shut behind her.