"It's not impossible to die of a broken heart." -Unknown Author
White Nights, a short black cat, stared out the windowsill and into the graveyard, behind her house. She was watching for something – anything – that may brighten the future. The toon had nothing; White Nights had lost not only her loved one, but family and friends as well. She had outlived everyone she knew, and was completely alone.
Of course, there was always the Toon Council. White Nights was a fully fledged member for nearly her entire life, and serves them with great determination. Retirement wasn't an option; This was all she had in her empty life, and couldn't afford to lose it. What am I to do? The black cat contemplated, glancing away from the window and instead, letting herself be reminded as to where she was.
The mansion White Nights lived in was utterly dreary. There were cobwebs covering the place caused by being neglected for so long, and cracks in the beautiful flourish print on the walls.
Ancient antiques, big and small, were scattered about in different rooms. White Nights had kept them for personal reasons, wanting desperately to remember a time when she wasn't as distraught and lonely.
The black cat returned to her desk, the chair creaking under her. White Nights glanced at the paperwork and blueprints in front of her, knowing this was urgent, and needed to be finished immediately. Cog Nation, she thought bitterly, I don't care if no one believes me. It will happen, over time.
Over the years White Nights had been a Toon Council member, her theories about Cog Nation were blown off as either, “not our problem” or “that's impossible”. This frustrated her, having significant proof that it was real and would happen.
Though it may be true that Cog Nation wouldn't pose as a problem for years or even centuries, there was no point in not becoming prepared. White Nights had documents, blueprints and experiments regarding this. Each were highly complex, and too difficult for the majority of the Tooniverse to comprehend, let alone read.
As complex as they may be, White Nights had the solution to Cog Nation. She had pinpointed how to stop it from destroying the toons' way of life and their world.
Bitterly, she knew that no one would believe her except.. Well, except Pitch, her lost acquaintance, friend and husband. They cogs had executed him years ago, leaving White Nights depressed and angered.
She had sworn to get her revenge from that very day; Sworn to make the cogs pay for what they did to not only Pitch, but to her emotions, too.
Sighing inwardly, White Nights inspected her blueprints to prevent Cog Nation. Only then did the black cat come to terms with the cold truth. “If I die before Cog Nation is underway,” She whispered, eyes flicking around the paper rapidly, “..No toon would be able to understand any of this, not even Flippy.”
The fragile black cat set to work on rewriting everything. There's no way I'll let Cog Nation slip through my fingers. White Nights promised, writing new blueprints intently.
“But if toons can understand this, that means cogs will be able to as well,” She murmured to herself, distressed. This is a big mess. White Nights didn't know what to do from here; She couldn't take the risk of having cogs find it before the toons.
White Nights slammed down the project, frustrated with the new hindrances. “What will I do?” She moaned, squeezing her delicate eyes shut. Take a deep breath. You've been able to make it through harder times than this, White Nights. The black cat told herself. Just think carefully, what can't cogs do? After thinking for a few minutes, White Nights figured out what she had to do. Cogs have no patience; Nor do they have the correct brains to solve puzzles.
White Nights, relieved that her plans may be useful and not fall into the wrong paws, continued her improved blueprints. Any toon would be able to understand and comply to this. She decided, drawing and writing frantically.
“There,” The black cat meowed, reviewing her work. Satisfaction gleamed in her eyes, accompanied by pride. I will have done this world a favor; Even if they don't notice until everything's gone into the cog's grasp.
White Nights left the desk, tired of sitting around. She pushed in the chair, liking everything nice and neat out of habit.
She wandered through the hallway, filled to the brim with portraits of the good times, when life wasn't as complicated. Before veering to the left, White Nights stopped to admire the gorgeous, made of gold, grandfather clock placed at the end of the hall. It ticked loudly, distributing some noise to the otherwise-silent manor.
White Nights came to the living room, where many of her favorite possessions were stored. She spotted her favorite of them all: the grand piano. The black cat loved that piano. It holds my dearest memories. White Nights sat down on the piano bench, running a paw across the dusty keys to clear it away. The piano itself was also beautiful, like many of the antiques in the mansion.
A single sheet of music was mounted on it. The title read, “Prelude”, followed by, “Written by Pitch, for my lovely wife”. White Nights played the first notes, cherishing the sound that echoed throughout the house, piercing the silence.
The song her away from the loneliness, and to somewhere else. Somewhere that made the black cat to feel as if she belonged; Like friends and family were with her.
White Nights, although wanting to play more, refrained from playing the song again. I have work to do, but I'll be back later. She promised the grand piano, in her mind.
She returned to her desk, to conclude the plan. Not the Cog Nation prevention plans, but the one to ensure toons would receive it. And not those rotten robots.
White Nights spoke to herself lowly, “Please let this work.” She begged to no one in particular. Her plan was to hide the blueprints. Cogs wouldn't be able to solve the riddles, but toons would. “A toon will find these blueprints someday.” White Nights promised herself, before leaving her workstation to deposit the riddles.
Author's note: First fanfiction I've posted here. This will not be about White Nights, as she was just appearing for the prologue. However, this fanfiction will deal with Cog Nation briefly, but is mystery-centric. (Given that White Nights hid the clues.) As a side note, White Nights is a nonfictional toon. You can learn more about her, and see a visial aid here.
Prelude: Chapter One
“It's easier to dismiss ghosts in the daylight.” - Patricia Briggs
Domino hummed to himself, finding it rather exciting to be in a brand new house, in a brand new district. The vibrant green duck had gotten tired of living in Nutty River, nonstop traffic every day and throughout the night as well. There's just no way for a toon like me to get any sleep! He thought, thinking back to the times when he had to lay awake, tossing and turning.
Domino merrily sorted and sifted through his drawers, placing meticulously folded shirts inside. He was thankful for his new house and couldn't wait to meet his neighbors. However, that would have to wait. I have unpacking to do! Domino thought, smiling to himself.
He liked adventures; And to him, moving into another district made the green duck absolutely exuberant, as he nearly trembled with anticipation.
A horn sounded from outside his green house, signaling to him the moving van would be leaving soon. Domino had transferred all the belongings already, giving the Carry-A-Toon movers no reason to stay.
Well.. I don't want to be rude.. The green duck thought, temporarily setting aside his work to dash down the hallway and outside. “Thanks for helping out!” He called, over the vehicle's fairly loud engine.
The workers waved back, wishing him good luck for the future, as they drove away. “They were such nice toons,” Domino commented to himself, watching their truck getting smaller and smaller in the distance as it left.
He hurriedly shuffled back inside his living arrangements, pleased to get back to unpacking. Unpacking, in his mind, was the first step to being “officially” in the neighborhood, and he needed to get it done. I'm already behind schedule.. If I fall too far behind, I won't get to be able to meet new friends here.
Domino scrambled back down the hall into his bedroom, where the last of the boxes lay. 'This side up' marked each clearly, being the only thing written on each, aside from 'Domino'. He knelt in front of the accessories trunk, aligning each of his shoes with care.
The green duck shifted backwards to inspect his work, breathing a sigh of relief. Maybe I'm not as off schedule as I thought. He thought, wanting it to be true. But a duck like me never has enough time. Domino picked up the empty crates and boxes, trying to balance as many as he could. He maneuvered himself to his front door, nearly collapsing once he was safely outside.
Domino set the boxes down. “There,” he quaked in self-satisfaction, brushing his gloves together. Now I can go meet everybody and explore my district's neighborhood. Domino concluded happily, feeling as if he would burst from the excitement overload.
He checked his button up shirt to ensure it was in order, before taking a good look at everything. It's gorgeous here. The lime duck couldn't help but stare in amazement at the glorious sunset. It was casting long shadows, and radiating orange, yellow and deep red lights. This is much better than Nutty River. I'm glad I moved.. I'll finally be able to watch a real sunset instead of the pollution clearing away to reveal an average night sky. Domino shivered. The air is cleaner here, too. No wonder; There's no big factories nearby.
“I wonder if anyone will be outside,” Domino inquired aloud, shifting his gaze to the other neighbor's lawns. There wasn't a ton of difference between lawns; They were all well trimmed and taken care of. If I don't want to be the outcast, I should probably do the same. Domino thought, looking back at his poorly attended to lawn in embarrassment. I'll find time for that tomorrow.
Domino spotted movement in another neighbor's yard, and it grabbed his attention immediately. Here's my chance. The lime duck trotted down the path to the blue house, which was relatively close to his.
A large, royal blue dog was intently watering his plants. Before Domino could get a single word or greeting in, he was cut off by a harsh question. “What are you doing on my lawn, kid?” The stranger demanded an answer, eyes accusatory.
“I-... Trust me sir, I didn't m-mean to! I'm so sorry!” Domino apologized rapidly, staring back at the dog in fright. I didn't know I wasn't allowed on your lawn! He wanted to cry out, in desperation to make this district like him.
The other toon didn't seem amused, nor any less grumpy about the mistake Domino had made. He turned away, muttering about some thing or another, as the green duck shuffled off his lawn and onto the dirt path.
“I'm really very sorry,” Domino murmured again, staring at his feet in disappointment. How could I make a mistake like that? No wonder no toon wants me around.
The dog turned to Domino, “Just don't do it again!” He snarled, a scowl forming on his face.
Domino raised up his gloved hands in defense, “No! I mean, of course not! I won't!” He stumbled over his words, trying to get every apology in the book sputtered out to this gruff dog.
“Hey, kid,” The dog 'greeted' working his way over to Domino. He ambled along, not exactly in a rush, but just at his own pace. It's nice to see the Tooniverse in not such a busy district. I know, for sure, that I'm going to like life in the country. “The name is Fang. Are you the new toon?”
The green duck grinned, “That's me! I'm Domino. How did you know I was new?” He asked, trying to make friendly conversation. Please let this make up for my error earlier.. Domino thought, pleadingly.
Fangs scoffed, “There was a moving truck here earlier.” He stated, his voice just as low and menacing as when they'd first met.
“Oh, right,” Domino stated awkwardly, blushing once more. How stupid am I? He thought, frustrated with his own behavior. I was supposed to fit in here.
Fangs reached out to shake Domino's hand briefly, before snatching his own away. You act as if I was a germ. Domino frowned, “Any... thing I can help you with, sir? I want to make it up to you.”
“No,” The royal blue dog replied shortly, turning away, “Just go on with your business, kid.”
Domino let out an exasperated sigh; This wasn't going good so far for the poor lime duck. What am I doing wrong? He wondered, head sagging sadly as he walked along the dirt path towards the pink house.
Domino took a deep breath. Time to make a new friend. He promised himself. The lime green duck trotted up to the next house. Dim lights were visible through the window, and it looked like a fairly nice place to live.
He rapped on the door lightly, trying to be as polite as possible. I have to make a good appearance; I need at least one friend here. I don't plan on moving very soon..
“Hello?” An adult, pink cat answered, eying Domino. She was dressed neatly, with bow ties and frills covering her clothes.
Domino introduced himself as formally as he could, “Hi! My name's Domino and.. I'm, uh, new here!” He grinned cheesily, as an apology for the poorly planned description of himself.
The pink cat smiled. She gave him a short, but pleasant wave, and said, “Nice to meet you. My name is Trixie. Trixie Twinklefoot.” Her voiced flowed like a river, each word enunciated properly and with order.
“Hi Trixie!” He responded, eagerly shaking his neighbor's hand.
Trixie looked slightly revolted at his sudden movements. “I ..bet my daughter would like to meet you,” She paused, “Unfortunately she isn't home. But she's about your age and enjoys playing. Maybe you two will be friends.”
The thought of having a friend his age sounded fantastic to Domino. “I can't wait to meet her!” He smiled.
The pink cat gave a short chuckle, “Well, it was a pleasure to meet you, Domino.”
“Yep, I'll see you around!” Domino exclaimed, still overly excited about the fact he might have a friend. Trixie shut the door, leaving Domino to nearly do a happy dance. Let's hope Trixie's daughter gets home soon. Then I'll finally have someone to play with.
Domino pumped his fist in victory; I'll be liked here in no time!
He moved on to the yellow house. Peering in, he saw that it looked empty. There were no lights on. Should I come back another day? Domino wondered to himself. I'll just come back tomorrow. Before the green duck walked away, a light flickered from inside the yellow house. This grabbed his attention once more.
“What are you doing? Thief!” Cried a blue mouse, throwing the door open. “Get out of here! Shoo! Stay away!”
“No ma'am, I'm not a thief!” Domino held up his hands in surrender, praying that the mouse believed him. Wow, she looks mad! I didn't even do anything.. What a good first impression.
She looked dazed for a second, “Who are you, then? I've never seen you around here?” The mouse regained her composure to test him.
“I.. I'm new here.. My name's Domino.” He explained rapidly. Please let her believe me..
“Well, Domino,” She began curtly, “It's sunset. How was I supposed to know you weren't a robber? Now that you've introduced yourself, I think it's best you get back to your house before other people think the same thing!” The mouse huffed angrily.
I know I shouldn't press it, but.. “Can I at least know your name?” Domino asked, as kindly as he could manage to someone who was scolding him.
The mouse rolled her eyes, snorting in disbelief and frustration.
“Please,” He begged, wanting to know his neighbors.
She sighed and squeaked, “Ladybug.” Then slammed the door roughly. Why does this district hate me so much? Domino thought, dejected.
He moved on. A frown was plastered on his lips, and his mood was no better. What can I do to make this people like me? What if Trixie's daughter doesn't like me? Then I'll have nobody! Nobody at all. I'll be “that lonely stranger” who just sits around all day feeling sorry for himself.
Domino looked up in time to see the sun setting, and a large red house casting a shadow over the neighborhood.
“I haven't been to that house yet,” He said, hopefully, his voice growing with enthusiasm. “I still have a chance!” The green duck dashed over to the red house.
Domino nearly stopped in his tracks when he saw vines and flowers growing up the side of the wall. “Whoa,” He breathed, “Whoever lives here must really like plants. Or really hate cleaning."
He looked at the door, curiosity beginning to gleam in his eyes. “Look at that!” He chattered excitedly, examining the doorbell. “It's so old fashioned! I know whoever lives here will be my best friend!” Domino had a thing for artifacts. He loved to sift and search.
The green duck used the doorbell. Immediately after, Domino put his ear to the door to hear a pleasant chime sound inside.
He waited, but the door didn't open. Domino tried again, “Anybody home?” He called, knocking on the door.
It creaked open. “I guess they don't care if someone brea-” Domino stopped short. He swore his jaw must have hit the ground.
Although dusty, and caked in cobwebs, gorgeous tapestries, paintings and decorations covered the wall. Furniture was covered in dust as well, but it was just as magnificent and breathtaking.
“This place... It's absolutely amazing!” Domino stared, trying to take in all the lovely sights from inside the mansion. He ran over to a coffee table. It was spruced up with a embroidered cloth and had a ceramic vase to make the finishing touches. Inside the vase was a long-since wilted rose.
“It looks like no one has lived here in centuries!” Domino burst out. The echo of his voice ricocheted from the walls, making the place all the lonelier.
He turned away from the coffee table, walking over to look at the fireplace. It was old; Domino could tell from the way the wood laid. It hadn't been touched or lit in years.
Suddenly, a thump was heard from upstairs. “Huh?” Domino asked aloud, confused at the unexplained noise. It happened again, though this time didn't stop. It was like pawsteps. Pawsteps that were making their way down the grand staircase.
“Whose here?” He screeched. I shouldn't have ever come in here. Get me out of here! “Show yourself!” The green duck's initial thought was that someone did possibly live here, but when he saw nothing on the stairs, he knew this wasn't the case.
Domino exerted a shriek when the vase came crashing to the floor, shattering. Like someone pushed it over. Is it a spirit? Is the spirit mad at me? You know what, I don't care! I just want to leave! Domino didn't bother with the broken item. He was too busy running for the exit.
He slammed in behind him, panting out of fright. “What... Was.... That?” He gasped. Domino turned around to take another look at the house that had scared him out of his mind. “It couldn't have been a ghost. Ghosts wouldn't try to hurt anyone.”
He hadn't ever encountered a ghost. Playing with the spiritual side of the Tooniverse wasn't Domino's forte, and he wasn't about to get into it. In fact, he wanted nothing to do with what just occurred in the abandoned house.
As Domino walked home, he got to thinking about the strange events. What if that was a ghost? I can't say that wasn't a possibility. “What would a ghost want with me? Did it want me out?” He reminded himself of the vase incident. “Whoever lived there..” Domino trailed off.
“I know what I'll do!” The green duck had come up with an idea. “I'll go to Flippy's office tomorrow. He'll know about that house.. Toon Hall keeps everything on record!”
Domino couldn't wait for tomorrow. I will find out who or what is in that house. He promised himself, ecstatic to get started.