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Written by:
Jo


BILL & TED characters are trademarks of Nelson 1991 Inc. The motion picture BILL & TED'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE & © 1989 Nelson Films Inc. All Rights Reserved. The motion picture BILL & TED'S BOGUS JOURNEY © 1991 Orion Pictures Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

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"Here comes the train, Billy! Here it comes! Woo woooooooo...!" Captain Logan was hunched down in front of his grandson, trying to steer a spoonful of mushy-looking orange glop into the infant's mouth. "Okay now! Open wide....wooooo!"

The baby gazed with wonder at the strange, big person gesticulating before him, then obediently gobbled up the offered carrot puree'.

"That's my boy!" The captain beamed with pride.

"Oh, that was wonderful, honey!" Missy Logan was attempting the same thing with the other child they were babysitting with less favorable results. "Little Teddy won't touch a bite. How do you do it?"

Captain Logan gave a derisive snort and looked tersely at the young Preston. The baby stared back at him with a slightly superior expression.

"Quite simply, Missy, good taste runs in the family.... the Logan family!" he added to the blue eyed infant, who didn't seem to care. "You'll see...." he added to his wife, placing a hand gently on her slightly swollen abdomen. They gazed warmly into each others' eyes.

"Now then...." Captain Logan said after a moment, "perhaps it's not too late for you, young man." He scooped up another glob of carrot and offered it to Little Ted. "C'mon now.... open up. Here comes the train! Woo woo wooooooo!"

The baby stared at him as if he were out of his mind. Captain Logan's grandson watched all this with fascination, his head cocked to one side.... so like his father, Ted, Missy thought.

"It's hopeless," Captain Logan said, turning back to his own grandson. "C'mon, Billy, show him how it's done! Woo wooooo!"

The infant eagerly accepted another mouthful then glanced over at the other child for a moment, looked back at his grandfather, blinked twice and hiccuped loudly, sending a slimy orange mass down his chin onto his bib.

"Hmph! Looks like bad influence is a family inherited trait as well!" Captain Logan snorted.

"Oh sweetie!" Missy giggled at him, "You're so funny!" The babies both squealed and giggled at the sound of her good humor.

Captain Logan just smirked. "Yeah.... a million laughs."

Just then the front door opened and Bill, Ted, Joanna and Elizabeth came in, smiling and laughing.

"Hi guys!" Missy bubbled. "Have a good time?"

"Yes, thank you," Elizabeth answered. "We went to see that new Dracula picture.... these movies of yours are so fascinating!"

"Oh," said Missy, confused. "Don't you have movies in England?"

"Uh.... so how did the babies behave?" Bill interrupted.

"As good as gold!" Missy exclaimed.

"Great. Hey, thanks for watching them for us, Mom.... uh, I mean Missy."

"Oh, that's quite all right. I can use all the practice I can get!" Captain Logan put his arm around her lovingly.

Ted chuckled. "Oh yeah, I forgot! I can't believe I'm going to be a brother!"

"What about Deacon, dude?" Bill asked.

"Oh.... yeah, right."

Bill walked over and scooped up his son. "Ready to go, Teddy?"

"Y'know, dude, he doesn't like to be called 'Teddy'," Ted said as he picked up his own son. "Isn't that right, Billy?"

"Hypocrite."

"Oh wait!" Missy exclaimed. "Wouldn't you all like to stay for dinner? I would love to have a nice girl talk with Jo and Liz!"

"Dinner?" Elizabeth asked. The four of them looked desperately at each other. One of Missy's meals was enough for anybody's lifetime.

"Oh, we had dinner after the movie," Jo chirped. "But we'd love to stay and have a chat."

"Wonderful!"

The sisters took the babies from their husbands and Missy steered them into the living room.

"Well...." Captain Logan began. "It's good to see you, Ted. It's not very often that we get to spend some time together.... alone!" he added, looking rudely at Bill.

Bill cleared his throat. "Um, I think I'll just.... uh, go.... somewhere." He backed away before turning to wander off down the hall.

"Dad, that wasn't very nice," Ted scolded.

"Ted, you and I need to have a serious talk."

Ted heaved an enormous sigh and headed for the living room, then stopped in confusion when he saw his usual "lecture spot" on the couch already occupied.

Captain Logan shook his head with impatience. "No, no, Ted!" He gestured to his study. "In here."

Ted looked up at him in amazement. "Really?" His father's personal study had always been the utmost "off limits" place to him when he was growing up. In fact the only times he had ever been in there were the rare occasions he and Deacon or he and Bill had risked sneaking in, and even then it was only for a quick peek.

"Really." They stepped inside and Captain Logan motioned for Ted to sit down in one of the expensive patent leather chairs as he himself took a seat behind his large, oakwood desk. Ted had the strange deja-vu sensation of being in the principal's office.

"Ted, we need to have a serious talk.... about the future."

Ted gasped and looked up, his mind whirling. Could it be that his dad had found out about Rufus and the booth? He knew he would have to think of something totally brilliant, fast, to throw his dad off the trail.

"Uh.... whaddya mean, Dad?"

"What I mean, son, is little Billy. Have you given any kind of consideration to his future?"

"Oh!" Ted exhaled, relieved. "Well.... not exactly.... um, well, yeah. We have thought about it.... some.... a little bit.... well, y'know. Yeah! Um, well, no.... not really.... um, I don't know. Kind of." He smiled up at his father.

Captain Logan felt his blood pressure rise just a little. "Look, Ted, this is important. It's time to start planning ahead for his sake. Does he have enough quality children to play with? What kind of education will he need to succeed in the world? Which college will he be going to?"

"College!" Ted laughed. "Whoa, dad, he's only four months old! There'll be lots of time to think about that when he's older!"

"How can you know that, Ted? What if something happens to you before he's that old? Would you have him growing up with no guidance; no secure plan to follow?"

Ted squirmed. "Well.... I kinda figured he'd do whatever he wanted to."

"Like you," his father snapped.

"Well, yeah. I guess." Ted looked down. This was like being in the principal's office.

"Oh, Ted! You've got to stop being so irresponsible! You're an adult now.... you have to think like an adult! Why, you'll be lucky if this.... this band of yours lasts more than a couple of years, and then I'll be supporting you and Billy and Elizabeth! An.... and that lousy Bill Preston will have become a roaring alcoholic, and his son will be a drug addict, and poor Joanna will have to spend their entire welfare check to bail them out of jail every other week...." He stopped and glared at Ted, who was trying unsuccessfully not to giggle.

"Ted, I just don't know what it's going to take to get through to you.... before it's too late!" He got up and stalked out of the room.

Ted tried his best to look ashamed until his father was out of sight, then he leaned back with a chuckle. "Whew, whoa! That was just too totally heavy!" He spent the next several minutes delightfully exploring every nook of the mysterious room before going off to find Bill.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

After he wandered down the hall, figuring to pay Ted's old bedroom a visit, Bill hesitated. The door to the room Captain Logan amusingly referred to as "the library" was ajar. Curious, Bill decided to go take a peek at Ted's old photo albums that were always kept there. Bill enjoyed looking at the old pictures of himself and Ted playing together as children. "We were so ignorant then...." he mused.

As he stepped inside, he was surprised to find the room had been redecorated and rearranged. "Of course," he thought, "Missy must have redone it after she married Ted's dad." He shuddered. What could she possibly see in that man? Oh well, at least she seemed to be happy, which was more than he could say when she was married to his dad. Bill walked around the room, taking in all the plaques and awards hanging on the walls.

"Man...." he whispered, "Ted's dad sure is serious about all this military stuff. Thank God Ted has more sen.... whoa!" He was startled to discover a slightly faded picture of Ted.... with a crew cut! "No wait.... this must be his dad when he was Ted's age! Truly heinous resemblance." Looking closer, he could see some differences.... but the expression! Head held high, shoulders pulled back.... and that look of exaggerated seriousness that Bill knew so well. He grinned warmly at the picture, then jerked back in disgust when he remembered who it was.

"Ugh! Bogus imposter!" he snapped at it. He moved rapidly to the bookshelf to find the photo albums. Here, too, Missy's influence was evident. "101 Makeup Hints", "How to Be a Good Housewife", "Cooking Made Easy", "Sewing World", "The Riddance of Evil"....

"Huh?" He pulled the book off the shelf and read the jacket to himself. "The Riddance of Evil, by Ida Sworn." He flipped the book over. "How to distinguish good spirits from evil spirits, communicate with the good and banish the evil.... Ha!"

"Hey dude!" Ted bounced into the room. "You won't believe what my dad just said to me.... whatcha reading?"

"Check this out, Ted! Remember this book?"

Ted took it from him. "The Riddance of Evil.... heh. Naw, that's one of Missy-Mom's books."

"I know, dude! Don't you remember.... the seance? After those evil robots killed us?"

"Whoa yah! This is the book she used to get rid of us!" Ted started flipping through the pages.

"And sent us to Hell with, dude!" Bill finished.

"Bill! Check this out! I think I've found it.... ahem.... If you are harassed by evil spirits, command them to leave. If they refuse, recite the following ancient chant precisely: D'lrow eht elur...."

"Uh, Ted.... you really think that's a good idea, dude? It kinda gives me the creeps."

"....lliw si...."

"Really, dude.... cut it out, okay?"

"....rc dna le!" Ted slammed the book shut the way he remembered Missy doing it. Bill turned very pale and looked ill.

"Whoa!" Ted laughed. "Remember that, Bill.... Bill?" Bill looked at him greenly. Ted was immediately contrite. "Oh, sorry dude. It's okay!" He spread his arms out. "See? We're still here! It can't work on us now, 'cause we're alive!"

"Yeah...." Bill could still feel his heart pounding. "Sorry, Ted. I just got this strange feeling. Just for a second.... it's gone now. So, what did your dad saaaaaaaaaaiieee!" It was as if the entire world had just decided to liquify for no particular reason and was now swirling in a great rush down the drain that had conveniently appeared in the middle of the room. Bill felt his body distort in a way he knew was impossible, and watched it smear and spread out in front of him to join in the whirlpool.

"Whoooaaa! Nooooo Waaaaayyy! Ted! Help meeeeee!!!"

But Ted was experiencing the same distortion. The book fell uselessly from his hands. "Bill! The book..... get the book!! Maybe we can reverse it!"

But it was too late. In a matter of seconds Bill and Ted were sucked down into the hole, which closed on top of them with a burst of light and sound that could turn Steven Spielberg green with envy.

"Elizabeth? Did you hear something?" Joanna asked. They were sipping tea with Missy in the living room whilst discussing the joys and trials of motherhood.

"Yes, I think so.... from down the hallway. It sounded like Ted."

".... and Bill, too!" Joanna added in alarm. "We should go see if they are all right!"

"Oh, don't worry, girls," Missy chided. "They always get so silly when they're in Ted's old room.... jumping up and down on the bed like a couple of kids, pretending to be rock stars...." She smiled with the indulgence her senior years allowed her.... all three of them.

"Still, I think we should check," Joanna insisted.

The three ladies looked in Ted's bedroom, but it was obvious no one had been inside. Perplexed, they checked the other rooms along the hallway.

"Oh, my goodness!" Elizabeth exclaimed when she looked into the library. The other two came running to see what had happened. The room was a shambles. All the books had been pulled from the shelves and thrown about the room. Pictures lay scratched among shattered frames on the floor. Debris was everywhere. Missy screamed loud enough to give Stephen King a heart attack.

Captain Logan appeared in an instant, gun in hand. "What is it? What happened? What.... the.... HELL?!!"

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

All was darkness. If he was still in possession of his body, Ted was not aware of it. He could neither see, hear, smell nor feel anything. He tried desperately to get a grip on the panic that swelled up around him, threatening to smother him.

"Am I still alive?" he wondered. He could remember everything that happened right up to the moment the room disappeared from view as he was sucked down that utterly heinous hole. Then there was nothing. He tried to call out. "Bill?" He did not feel his voice in his throat or hear any sound. It was as if he had only thought the word. The feeling of panic increased.

"Oh God...." he thought, "....Am I dead? No. I can't be. I've been dead before and it was most definitely nothing like this! But how long will this last? What if it never ends? What if I'm stuck like this.... forever? Alone.... all alone!! Help me! Somebody, help me! Plea...." His mind exploded with sensations.... Colors! Shapes! The sound of Bill screaming in his ears combined with his own! They both stopped in the same instant and gawked at each other, dazed. Then they both bolted forward and gripped each other by the arms so hard it hurt.

"Bill! Bill, I have never, never ever been so way totally glad to see you in my whole entire life! Not even when you showed up just in time to stop Edward Fritzwater from beating me up in the seventh grade!"

"Likewise, dude.... and Edward Fritzwater was just a boneheaded wuss-meister."

"So, like.... where are we, dude?"

They both looked around. They were in a wide corridor of some kind, apparently made of rock. A dim red glow permeated everything around them, though they could not detect its source. The corridor stretched both ahead and behind them as far as they could make out in the poor light.

"I dunno, dude," Bill mumbled, straining his eyes. "Some kind of cave, I think."

"So, what do we do now?"

Bill shrugged. "Pick a direction, dude."

"I was afraid you were going to say that."

"Awwwww..... now isn't this sweet?"

A loud, crackling voice came apparently out of nowhere. Bill and Ted gasped, gripping each other's arms even tighter.

"Well, well.... truly my heart would be touched.... if I had one! Hee hee heeeeee!"

A creature stepped into view.... a hideous, shrunken thing with a swollen, cracked face and sharp-looking fangs dripping with green slime. He would have been quite terrifying, Bill thought, if it weren't for the fact that he was only about three feet tall. Bill and Ted released each other and faced the creature. As was usual for them in situations like this, Bill spoke first.

"Who.... or what.... are you?"

The monster sneered at them. "A little more respect, if you don't mind, fella! This...."

he indicated the stone walls, ".... is Hell, and I...." he pointed to himself with a flourish, "am King of this realm! Hee hee ha haaa!!"

He waited for Bill and Ted to fall over in terror. Needless to say, he was a tad enraged when they both, instead, doubled over with hysterical laughter. It was a while before Bill could speak again. The little demon seethed.

"Oh.... oh man! Oh yeah, right, dude! Yeah, like excuse me totally.... snort.... your majesty! Ha ha ha!"

Ted poked him in the ribs, trying to stifle his own giggles behind his hand. "Dude, cut it out! You're hurting his feelings."

That did it. The little demon exploded in a rage, screaming and swearing, jumping up and down all the while. "The insolence!" it screamed. "The nerve! Feelings? My feelings? Oooh.... don't hurt his precious little feelings, now. Oh no, don't do that. The in-so-lence!"

"THAT WILL BE ENOUGH!!!"

The small demon let out a dog-like yelp and scooted away faster than anyone would have thought possible. Bill and Ted froze, paralyzed with horror. They had recognized that voice!

"Bill! Oh dude! We really are in Hell.... again!"

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Of all the stunts! Of all the stupid stunts they have ever pulled.... this takes the cake!" Captain Logan was in a proper rage. "Look at this mess! Look at it! When I get my hands on those boys, I'll...." Elizabeth and Joanna looked at him in alarm. "Uh, I'll chew them both out, royal!"

"But where are they?" Missy exclaimed. "Where did they go.... oh! You don't think something happened to them, do you? Right under our very own roof! I could never forgive myself!" She started to cry.

Captain Logan took her in his arms. "Now, now, Missy.... calm down. You shouldn't get upset in your condition."

"Quite right!" Joanna added. "And there's no way anyone else could have come in this house without us knowing about it. Unless they came in a window or something...."

As one, they all turned to the single window in the room. It was wide open; the curtain flapping gently in the breeze. Captain Logan slapped both hands to his ears to protect them from the combined lung-power of three suddenly hysterical, screaming females.

"Quiet! That's enough now! Do you hear me?" He picked up a dented plaque from the rubble and hurled it across the room. It smashed to pieces against the opposite wall. "I said quiet!!"

The three women silenced themselves instantly. All was silence except for the dim sound of two babies crying coming from the living room.

"All right.... I want all of you out of here now. Check all the doors and windows in the house. I want them all shut and locked tight. Leave this one as it is.... we'll have to check it for fingerprints. Go on now.... I need to make a phone call."

Sobbing pitifully, the ladies moved to comply.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

The walls of the enormous chamber towered over their heads in huge archways. Ted craned his neck back to try and make out the ceiling, seemingly miles above them. Everything glowed and shimmered with a yellowish-orange radiance.

Ted nudged his companion. "Bill, I think this place is made of gold, dude! Pure gold!"

Bill tapped lightly on one of the walls with a fingernail. It made a hollow "ping-ping" sound. "Naw, dude.... it's just brass."

Suddenly the gigantic demon that had been keeping them waiting strode into the chamber, strutting like a peacock. A very, very ugly peacock.

"So.... uh, dude!" Bill began as cheerfully as he could. "Have you got our, um.... little mistake all sorted out then? Can we, like, go now?"

The great creature took a moment to preen, brushing back a few stray spines that were sticking up out of its head. It was feeling cranky as it was having a "bad hair" day. It sneered at them. "Go?.... No, no, absolutely not.... out of the question. You must be mad! Hoo hooo, 'go' he says. Can you imagine?"

Bill and Ted looked at each other in dismay. Bill spoke up again. "Look, dude! We've been waiting for you for, uh...."

Ted consulted his watch. "Two hours, dude."

"Two hours!" Bill continued, "And we were told that you were in charge of 'the gateway', whatever that is, and that with permission from those higher-up, you could let us go! And we don't even belong here!"

"Yah!" Ted chimed in. "We're totally alive, dude!"

The demon cocked a spiny eyebrow at them. "Are you?"

Taken aback, Bill and Ted looked at each other again. "What does he mean, 'are we'?" asked Ted. "Of course we are! I mean, I think we are. Are we, Bill?"

"Yes! Yes, of course we are, Ted!" Bill was beginning to heat up. He spun back around to the demon. "Look, dude! Stop playing with your porcupine needles and listen to me!" The demon snarled at him, but Bill continued, unabated. "You're just trying to confuse us, man! If we were dead already then how come we didn't see the Grim Reaper dude, huh?"

"Whoa, Bill!" Ted beamed at him with pride. "You are a total, brainiac genius, dude!"

The demon was less impressed. It smiled at them, showing multiple rows of nasty, crooked, pointed teeth. Kind of like that shark in Jaws, Ted thought.

"Look, fellas...." it sneered, "....the fact is, the Great Royal Demon above all demons, the Tremendous One, the Mighty, the Magnificent, the...."

"Could you get to the point, dude?" Bill interrupted. "We'd kind of like to get back before sunrise. Our wives are going to brain us as it is...."

"But that is the point, my friends. The 'man' in charge says you can't leave. Not just...." it snapped its bony fingers, "....like that, anyhow. So sorry.... wish I could help, but I can't. Too bad." He yawned loudly.

Bill and Ted's alarm increased. Ted sputtered, "but.... but we have to get out! We don't belong here!"

The demon raised its hands. "Hokay! Okay, that's enough now. I didn't say there was no way you could ever leave, did I? No, I didn't. What I'm driving at, boys, is if you want out of here you have to face a.... er.... let's call it a trial. Nothing really; a pittance. I'm embarrassed to mention it at all.... but you know, rules...."

"What kind of trial?" Bill demanded. He was not liking this creature any more than anything else in this place.

"Ah.... simple! A simple thing, really!" The demon wove its index finger in the air. A piece of paper appeared out of no where over their heads and floated downwards. Bill caught it and they both looked at it.

"What is it?" Ted asked. "A map?"

"A map, yes! A cigar for the young man! Veeerrrryyyy gooooood!!!"

Bill glanced around for something to throw at the demon. Unfortunately, nothing was handy.

It continued. "Now, as you can see.... look at the map, please, gentlemen, not at me, although I can hardly blame you.... as you can see, the place you are currently standing is marked on the map with a large, black 'X'.... hmph, how conventional.... Anyway, if you will now direct your gaze alllll the way over to the other side of the map, almost to the very edge, you will see a bridge marked clearly. A very looooong bridge, no?"

Bill and Ted found the bridge in question. They were not sure what scale the map was in, but it seemed as if the bridge was a very long way away. And yes.... it was a very long bridge.

"Have you found it? Splendid! Now, I think your poor, tiny minds have probably grasped the concept by now. All you have to do, lads, is travel 'til you come to the bridge and cross it! What could be easier, I ask you!"

"And then we can leave?" Bill demanded.

The demon glided up to him and gripped him by the shoulder, its claws digging in just a little. It leaned right up to him until their noses were touching and breathed into his face. Bill felt sick.

"...And then you can leave," it hissed to Bill, digging its claws in a little deeper. "You have my word on it! Ha ha ha haaaaaa!!!!" It whirled away, then stopped at the entrance, looking back over its shoulder. "Oh, one more thing, my loves.... while you are visiting you will be granted all the status and privileges of a resident demon.... 39th class. That is, 'bottom of the heap' class.... with all the benefits and room for advancement therein. You will be allowed to accumulate powers, just as any respectable demon would be allowed to do.... only, of course, if you survive the trial and leave, your powers will disappear, mores the pity. Well, it's been a million laughs, uh, dudes! Ha haaaaa!!!!" It swept out of the room like a giant bat.

"Hey! Wait!" Bill called. "What do we.... where.... how....?" But the demon was gone. Bill looked up at Ted, who looked back at him with wide, confused eyes.

"Okay," Bill said, "Let's get this over with as fast as we can. It can't be that difficult. So...." He spread out the map and pointed to the 'X'. "....we are here."

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

"How're we doing, Ted?" Bill asked, stopping to lean against a rock jutting out of the wall.

Ted checked his watch. "Uh.... we've been walking for about an hour, dude. Are we almost there yet?"

Bill consulted the map. "Well, we need to go down the corridor we're in now 'til it ends, then turn left and go to this outcropping and hang a right, then on 'til a fork in the road...."

Ted sighed and sat down on the ground. "Can't we take a short break, Bill? I'm tired already."

"Yeah, me too." Bill looked around briefly. "But not here. We're a little too exposed for my liking, dude. Let's find a cave or something to hide out in for twenty minutes or so." He pointed to the left. "You look over there. I'll check this way." He headed to the right and struggled to find a suitable hidey-hole where they could be reasonably ambush-free.

Ted dragged himself back up with a groan and went off in the direction Bill had indicated. He ambled over to what appeared to be just a bunch of boulders piled against the stone wall, but on closer inspection revealed a small opening. He squeezed inside to see if it was large enough for both of them to fit comfortably, and found himself in another corridor that dead-ended about twenty or thirty yards ahead.

"Excellent!" As soon as he said it, he heard a rather unpleasant grinding sound. What little light there was vanished, plunging Ted into total darkness. Terrified, he whirled around to where he thought the entrance was and tried to find his way out. His hands came upon solid rock. He desperately felt around but could find no trace of an opening. He yelled and pounded on the rock, then stopped and listened, hoping to hear Bill answering him, but all he could hear was his own heart pounding in his ears, coupled with his rapid breathing. He collapsed against the wall with a dry sob and let himself slide down into a sitting position. He seriously considered whether or not it would be considered sissy-like under the circumstances to start bawling, decided it wasn't and was about to proceed, when a voice directly behind him startled him so much he leapt back to his feet and stumbled forward in the dark.

"Ted? Ted, where are you?"

Ted lunged toward the sound of Bill's voice but crashed into solid rock once more. "Bill! I'm here!" he cried out. "Wherever here is! I'm totally trapped in some kind of cave!"

"How did ya manage to get in there, dude? I can't find an opening...."

"There was! Bill, do something! It's dark in here!"

"Hang on!" Bill called.

Ted waited, trying unsuccessfully not to imagine that something might be sneaking up behind him in the dark.... "Bill?"

"I found it, Ted! On the map.... there's an opening on the other side. Wait there!"

"Bill!!"

"I mean it, Ted! Don't move from that spot. I'll get there as soon as I can, okay?"

Ted swallowed hard. "Okay," he managed in a weak voice. He sat back down and hugged his knees to his chest. At first he tried to amuse himself by straining his eyes into the darkness, but then it occurred to him that he might actually see something out there. He shut his eyes tight, burying his face in his arms, and tried to pretend he was invisible, but that didn't work either. "Man," he mumbled to himself, "I must be one unimaginative dude!" He sat up straighter and, unable to think of anything else to do, started to hum, making up a tune as he went. Suddenly there was a faint, multi-colored flicker of light ahead of him. He stopped humming.... the light disappeared. Ted thought he must have imagined it, but then he remembered he didn't have an imagination. He hummed some more. The light flickered in response. Ted was so intrigued he forgot to be frightened and he got up and made his way along the wall toward the light, humming all the way. As soon as he got close enough to touch it, it stopped. Disappointed, Ted started to turn back when he spotted another light identical to the first a little further ahead. Once again it vanished at his approach. Then another light appeared. The pattern continued, luring Ted farther and farther from the place where Bill had told him to wait. He didn't even notice that the distance the lights were leading him should have been impossible in the short corridor.

After he had passed twenty or more of the lights, Ted realized he was supposed to be waiting for Bill and was about to head back when a much brighter light came to life right in front of him, illuminating the walls around it. It was part of a large mass of rock hanging down from the ceiling. It was encrusted with what appeared to be brilliant gems and pulsated with light to the tune Ted was continuously humming. Mesmerized, he approached it. It did not go out like the others. In fact, it shone even brighter as he drew nearer. Tentatively he reached out to touch it. When his hand was about an inch away, the rock suddenly spat out a bright, bluish-purple bolt of energy that struck him square in the chest. As he stumbled backwards, Ted's mind was overwhelmed by a cacophony of sound, as if thousands of instruments were playing millions of songs all at the same time inside his head. He cried out once before losing consciousness.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

"On your mark.... get set.... go!"

He was off in a flash, pedalling as fast as he could. When he was a good ways down the street, Ted risked a peek over his shoulder then laughed aloud. He was already way ahead of Bill. He considered letting his friend win for a change, but remembered the loser had to buy lunch. Besides, Bill got a much larger allowance than he did; he could afford to lose.

Ted stood up and pedalled even harder.... no chance of losing now! He glanced back once more.... almost there! He rounded the corner to his house. As he did so, his baby brother, Deacon, spotted him from where he was playing on the porch. The excited toddler scurried out into the street with a happy squeal, directly into Ted's path. Instinctively, he jammed on the brakes and yanked his handlebars to the left. The rest happened too fast to really make any sense. Ted got the faint impression of a tree rushing towards him, then a bright flash of light as if someone were taking his picture. Then nothing.

"Ted!! Ted.... can you hear me, dude? Ted! Wake up, man, it's me!"

Ted sat up, blinking in confusion. Bill was kneeling beside him. "Did I win?"

"Win? Whoa, Ted.... snap out of it, dude!"

Ted shook his head and looked around. He was sitting in a dimly lit corridor with a large rock formation hanging down from above. His head cleared rapidly, filling with a rush of memory. "Whooooaaaa! Bill! You found me!"

"Yeah, I found you.... why didn't you stay put like I told you to!!!" Bill was a bit upset.

Ted hung his head. "I'm sorry, Bill! It was dark.... there was this light.... there were lots of lights! Then there was this really big light! Look!" He jumped up and stumbled sideways.

Bill grabbed Ted's arm and tried to right him. "Ted, what are you jabbering about? Did you hit your head or something?"

"No, dude! Watch!" Ted stumbled over to the large rock and started humming energetically. Nothing happened.

Bill pulled him back into a sitting position. "Okay.... that's enough, dude. Take it easy. You're just a little loopy, that's all. Just rest for a few minutes."

Ted looked hurt. "Bill! I'm telling the truth! This rock was glowing, then it hit me with something!"

"Ted, I think you ran right into that rock, dude! You should have waited for me. We're way off course now." He looked at the map. "See? We're.... no wait! Ted! Ha ha! Look, dude! We're actually closer to the bridge now! You found us a shortcut! Way to go!"

"Excellent!" They air guitared, and the air was fill with loud electric guitar sounds.

"Whoooaaaa!" they gasped.

"Bill, did you hear that?"

"I heard it, dude.... but I think we're both losing our minds in this place!" He air guitared once more. "See? Nothing. We just imagined it."

Ted air guitared. Once again the cavern echoed with music.

"Ted! How did you do that?"

Ted started laughing. "I don't know.... but I like it, dude!"

"Try something else.... uh, how about acoustic?"

Ted strummed and thought of the sound of an acoustic guitar. The sound rang out accordingly.

"Try a trumpet, dude!"

Ted held his hands up and wiggled his fingers. Nothing happened.

Bill thought for a moment. "Of course, Ted! You have to blow the trumpet, don't you?"

Ted held his hands up and blew. BLAAAAAAAAT! They both fell over laughing.

"Do you know what you've done, Ted?"

Ted looked suddenly chastised. "What.... I didn't mean to...."

"No, dude! You've got one of those 'powers' that ugly demon dude told us about!"

"Oh.... wow! But what's it for, Bill?"

"I dunno.... just for fun, I guess."

"Hmmmmm.... I didn't think those evil dudes knew how to have fun, Bill."

"Shows to go ya, dude. So.... feel up to moving on?"

"Yeah!" Ted leapt back to his feet and lurched sideways again. Bill steered him back down.

"Whoa! Bad idea, Ted. Better siddown for a while longer."

"Okay.... hey, you wanna hear something?"

"Sure."

Ted strummed the air once again. The opening notes of "Layla" filled the air.

"Whoa, dude! You're as good as ol' slow hand himself!"

"Thanks, dude."

They both leaned back against the rock wall while Ted played. After the third verse Ted switched to piano, then back to guitar for the long finale. However, the music faded away before he was halfway through. They had both fallen fast asleep.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Ted! Wake up!" Bill grabbed Ted's arm and was looking at his watch before Ted even had a chance to get up.

"Wha....? Did we fall asleep?"

"Oh dude, I'll say we did! We've been out for three hours. C'mon, can you stand okay now?"

Ted got up cautiously, but steadily. "Yeah.... I think so."

"Good. Let's go, dude. We've still got a lot of ground to cover."

They moved on with haste. After they had travelled for some time, Bill suddenly stopped short. They were standing in front of two identical corridors that stood before them, side by side.

"Uh oh."

"What's up, Bill?"

Bill looked at the map, then at the entryways. "There's only one of these corridors on the stupid map, Ted! I'm not sure which one we're supposed to take."

Ted looked at the map as well. "Maybe we should just guess, Bill. If it's not right we can always backtrack."

"Yeah, I guess.... Wait!" Bill looked down each tunnel, squinting his eyes, then looked down at the map again. He pointed to the left tunnel. "It must be this one.... yeah, it's gotta be. It curves around to the left and so does the one on the map. Let's go, dude!"

They took a few steps forward and this time it was Ted who suddenly stopped short. "Bill.... we can't go this way, dude."

"What? Why not?"

"I.... I don't know, dude.... we just can't. I've got a bad feeling about it."

"Ted.... Look, dude.... I've got a bad feeling about this whole place, but we gotta go this way if we ever want to get home."

"No, Bill! It's the other one we need to take. I know it is...."

Bill crossed his arms stubbornly. "I think you're still a little 'funny' from walking into that rock, Ted. We've got to go this way!" He took a few steps forward. Ted didn't budge. Bill whirled around, angry. Ted put on his best sad face, lowering his head slightly. Bill frowned at him. "You're not going to get to me with that look, Ted!" He grabbed Ted's arm and tried to pull him forward. Ted braced his feet and pulled back.

"C'mon, Ted! The babes'll be worried about us!" He let go and took a few more steps away from Ted. Ted stood his ground, his head drooping a bit more.

Bill sighed. "Oh, all right! Honestly, Ted, this is just a waste of time!" Bill stomped over to the right corridor. "We'll do it your way, dude, but if it doesn't start curving around to the left soon, we're heading back, okay?"

Ted brightened. "Okay!" He bounced into step alongside Bill.

They had not taken two steps when they heard a deafening roar. A gigantic ball of fire shot out of the left corridor and disappeared down the tunnel the two dudes had just come from.

"Ted?"

"Yeah?"

"You wanna let me know if you get any more of those 'bad feelings'?"

"Yeah, okay." They traveled on down the tunnel.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Two of us chasing paper, getting nowhere, on our way back home! We're on our way home! We're on our way home! We're going hoooooome!" If the singing was not in perfect tune, Bill and Ted were making up for it in sheer volume. This, coupled with Ted's choice of rapid-fire, heavy metal electric guitar backing, made for a spirited, albeit slightly unharmonious, rendition of the old Beatles classic. They were now past the half way mark and making, in Bill's words, "most triumphant progress".

"What should we sing now, Bill?"

"Are you sure you're up to playing still, dude? We've been at it for a while now."

Ted laughed. "Bill, I could keep on playing like this forever! It's totally easy.... nothing like when we were trying to learn how to play the real guitar at home! Look, dude, my fingers aren't even bleeding like they always do after a long jam!"

Bill looked thoughtful. "Yeah, that's good.... but don't get too used to it, Ted. It'll just make it that much harder when you do go back to the real thing."

"Yeah.... I guess you're right, Bill. Anyway, I suppose it kind of means more when it's really me doing it. It won't make much difference pretty soon though, huh?"

"That's right, dude. We'll be home before you know it."

"Y'know, Bill, I know we had some scary stuff, but altogether it's been a pretty good trip...."

The tunnel they were travelling through suddenly closed in around them with a rumble and a crash, as if the walls had a life of their own. They found themselves trapped in a spacious cave that had not even existed moments before.

"Not!"

"Tee hee he he he he he he he, tee he hee hee he he he he he hee hee, he he he hee!" Bill and Ted were surrounded by the sound of hundreds of thin, high pitched giggles.

"Whoa, totally gremlins!" Bill choked.

As their eyes adjusted to the dimmer light, the two dudes found themselves surrounded by hundreds of tiny, lizard-like demons, with hundreds of hungry-looking, beady little pairs of eyes fixed steadfastly upon them.

"I dunno, Bill. I think they're kind of cute!"

The air was filled with a collective hiss.

"Yeah right, dude.... cute in a 'Chucky' kind of way!"

"GREETINGS...."

"Whoooooaaaaaa!"

The biggest, most powerful demon, not counting the biggest, most powerful demon Bill and Ted had ever laid eyes on, materialized into the cave amidst an explosion of sulfurous steam. The little demons let out a great, tinny cheer of welcome. The monster paused a moment to bask in its glory, then it adjusted its hideous features to focus on its two new "guests".

Bill and Ted stood frozen like a pair of statues. The giant demon stared at them observantly. After a few moments, it shifted its bulk forward in their direction. Bill mustered every ounce of courage he had ever possessed, and then some, and took a few steps toward the beast, coming between it and Ted. The demon's only reaction was to smile ever so slightly. A tiny bit heartened, Bill spoke up.

"Uh, g.... greetings to you, too, extremely large, hairy, ugl.... uh, sir. We.... we didn't mean to, er, barge in like this....we'll just be on our way. Excuse the interruption."

The demon threw its head back and roared with laughter. Bill felt his heart hit his stomach, although he wasn't sure why. This monster seemed friendly enough....

"YOU CAN NOT 'ON YOUR WAY', MY FRIENDS.... YOU HAVE INVADE MY SANCTUARY.... YOU MUST PAY TOLL PRICE IF YOU WANT BE GO ON YOUR WAYYY!!"

"Bill!" Ted whispered. "How much money do we have on us, dude?"

"I dunno, dude," Bill whispered back. "You think he accepts credit cards?"

The demon roared with laughter once again. The little ones tittered accompaniment. Ted stared at them, uncomprehending. Bill felt his temper start to rise.

"Look, uh.... sir.... you wanna let us in on the joke here? We've got things to do, and...."

"SILENCE!!!"

Bill and Ted gasped and took a few steps back, which was all they could take in the enclosed space. The demon rumbled at them. The mini-demons growled like hundreds of rabid chihuahuas. The demon pointed a clawed finger at Bill.

"I KNOW YOU.... LITTLE HUMAN! YOU CAUSE MUCH INTERFERE WITH MINE GOOD CLIENT, DENOMOLOS...."

Bill and Ted looked at each other in amazement. "DeNomolos!" Ted gasped. "This great big, powerful dude knows that total wipe out loser? I don't get it!"

"AND YOU.... SON OF POLICE COP.... I KNOW BOTH YOU VERY WELL!!!"

Bill was getting tired of this. "Well, if you know us like you know how to speak English, dude, then I'd say you don't know us as well as you think you do."

"Ha ha! Good one, Bill!"

The demon only appeared to grow more pleased by this. "AH YESSS, FAIR ONNNEEE! SO SPIRITED.... SO BRAVE.... SO YOUNG.... SO GOOD FOR COLLECTION, MINE!"

"Huh?"

"YOU..." It pointed to Bill again. "FOR COLLECTION.... MINE!" It pointed to itself.

"Bill! What's he talking about? Does he want your record collection?"

"I don't think that's what he has in mind, Ted...."

"HA HAA! YESSSS! YOU WANT OUT? YOU AGREE FOR MY COLLECTION, YES? THAT IS MY PRICE, YOU MUST PAY!"

"Let me get this straight," Bill began. "You want me to, to.... volunteer to be part of your.... COLLECTION?"

"YES! YESSSSS, GOOOOOOD!"

"Are you saying, then, that you can only, uh, put me in your collection if I volunteer?"

The demon was ecstatic. "YES! SOOOOO GOOOOOOD! SO.... YOU VOLUNTEER, YES?"

Bill smirked. "No."

"NO??"

"No.... N-O spells 'no', as in no way, dude! Good try, but most definitely no! Sorry, dude.... I'm flattered and all, but you see...." The demon's gaze seemed to go out of focus, as it was suddenly looking right through Bill instead of at him. "Uh, dude?" Bill waved his hand in the air. "Hello? Hey, demon! Wha....?"

Just then Bill realized that the demon's gaze was focused on Ted, who was still standing behind him. He spun around. Ted had gone very pale and was staring straight ahead into the demon's eyes.

"Ted.... Ted? What's going on?"

Ted's eyes seemed to glaze over. He groaned, as if in pain.

Bill spun back around to the demon. "What are you doing? Stop it!"

Ted groaned again, louder. Suddenly he squeezed his eyes shut tight and crumbled to the ground, moaning continuously. Bill was frantic.

"Ted! Ted, can you hear me?" He leapt up and threw himself at the demon, attacking it with all he had, pounding and kicking, but it was like a gnat attacking a mountain. It ignored him and pointed at Ted, a large smile forming on its face. Ted moaned louder and louder. Bill fell down next to him on his knees, trying to shield him from the monster's power.

"Stop!" he cried. "Stop it!! You win, dude, you win.... I'll volunteer! Just stop it! Please...."

The demon continued to ignore him. It grinned wildly.... a stream of saliva trickling down through its rapier-like teeth. Ted screamed, thrashing in agony.

Bill threw himself at the demon's feet. "Please.... please stop! I said I'd go! What else do you want?!"

The demon looked away. With one final scream Ted collapsed and lay still, gulping in shuddering gasps of air. The demon made a small gesture. Two sections of the rock wall vanished, one revealing an opening back into the tunnel they had been travelling in, the other opening into.... nothing. Pitch black nothing. It pointed to Bill, who was kneeling at Ted's side.

"YOU...." It pointed into the blackness. "....COME HERE. HE...." It pointed to Ted. "CAN GO ON WAY.... YES?"

Bill looked into the "collection box" with horror. Ted opened his eyes and gawked at him, apparently unable to move.

"YOU CHANGE MIND, PERHAPS?" The demon looked at Ted again.

Bill jumped to his feet. "No!"

"GOOD.... COME."

Bill looked down at Ted, who was trying desperately to speak. "Ted.... I have ta go, dude."

"COME.... NOW!"

Bill backed away. Ted managed to stretch an arm out, reaching for him.

"I'm sorry, Ted...."

"NOW!!"

"Goodbye...." Bill turned away and walked to the gaping black doorway, determined not to lose control until he was out of Ted's sight. The demon started laughing again. The little demons snickered with glee.

Ted clawed vaguely at the air with his outstretched arm.... the cavern filled with the sound of wailing guitar. Bill spun around, cut to the quick.

"AAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRGH!!" The demon slapped its hands over its ear holes and stumbled backwards. Bill dove out of its way.

Ted immediately felt some of his paralysis fade. He managed to prop himself up on his elbows and strummed the air again. A clumsy crescendo of chords rang out. The demon fell over and squealed like an injured pig. It couldn't stand music! Ted sat up and played a bolder melody. The demon rolled around and yowled. The little demons and Bill scrambled to keep from being crushed by it. Ted heaved himself to his feet. The demon reeled back and pointed at him. Ted stumbled and air guitared. The demon stumbled and pointed again. Ted's expression grew fierce. He leapt up and started swinging his right arm in full circles, Townsend style. The demon tried to block its ears and point at Ted at the same time. They moved toward each other, each firing "shots" at the other in a frenzied duel! Ted gritted his teeth and launched into the guitar solo from the end of "Hotel California". The demon could not keep up.... it started to back away. Then, with a howl, it collapsed. Ted stopped playing.

For a few moments, no one moved. Then Ted shook himself and grinned happily.

"Ready to go, Bill?" Bill gawked at him. "Bill?"

"Huh? Oh.... yeah." He half stumbled to exit behind Ted.

Ted waved. "See ya, little muppet-like demon dudes!"

The little demons started to titter. The big one managed to mumble.... "SILENCE..."

Ted walked out. As Bill was stepping through the demon called out to him weakly.

"YOU NO CAN GO! YOU VOLUNTEER.... YOU MAKE PROMISE!"

Bill looked at it with disgust. "I lied." He walked out.

"Tee hee he he he he he he, tee hee he he he hee he he he he hee he he he he he!"

"I SAID SHUT UP!"

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

As soon as Bill and Ted were outside the cave they broke into a run, not stopping until it was well out of sight. When they were too out of breath to take another step they stopped and leaned against the wall to rest.

"Ted...." Bill panted. "Ted, you were.... you were...."

Ted waved his hand dismissively. "S'okay, dude. You were, too."

"Thanks. I truly owe you one, y'know."

"S'okay," Ted repeated. They were both quiet for a few minutes. When he felt he could breathe almost normally, Ted spoke again. "So.... which way now, dude?"

"Uh...." Bill looked down at his hands then jumped up with a cry. "Bogus! Oh man.... oh God.... oh bogus!"

"What?! What is it, Bill?"

"The map, Ted! I left the map back.... back there!"

"Whoooaaaaaaaa!"

Bill slumped down to the ground. "Oh Ted, I don't believe it! How could I be so stupid?"

Ted put a hand on his shoulder. "It's okay, Bill! We can't give up now! I'm sure we can find the bridge if we try. We didn't have much further to go anyway, did we?"

"Nooooo," Bill sighed. "It was just down to the end of this tunnel, then left and on to a big S shaped corridor and around this circle, then down one more tunnel and we would have made it! And now I've blown it by...." He stopped and looked up at Ted, who was grinning broadly at him. "Ted!" he yelled, laughing. "Dude, I remember the rest of the way!"

"Yah! I guess you memorized it, Bill!"

Bill shook his head with amazement. "I've never been able to memorize anything in my life, Ted.... well, except important stuff like my address, phone number, all the words ever sung by Eddie Van Halen...."

Ted nodded. "You've always had your priorities straight, dude!"

He helped Bill up and they marched on down the tunnel. Ted began strumming happily as they went. Their luck did not hold out for long, however. As soon as they made it to the end of the tunnel and turned left, Ted slowed to a standstill. He looked around warily.

"What's up, Ted?"

"Bill.... you remember when you told me to let you know if I got any more bad feelings?"

"Yeah?"

"I've got a bad feeling."

"How bad?"

"Way bad, dude."

"Great. Come on, let's hurry." They started running again as quietly as they could. Suddenly, Bill skidded to a halt. Ted crashed into him from behind.

"Ow! Bill, why....? Whooooaaa, man!"

An angry-looking demon, about Ted's height but much bulkier, was standing in front of them, blocking their way. Before the dudes had time to react, it lunged at them with a snarl, swinging its long arms and knocking them both against the wall hard.

"Ungh! Ted.... run!"

They tried to turn back the way they had come, but the demon was much faster. It grabbed them both by their shirt collars and yanked them back, sending them sprawling. Angry, Ted kicked out at its legs, hoping to knock it over. This only succeeded in enraging it more. It grabbed Ted bodily and lifted him over its head.

"Leave him alone!"

The demon shrieked with pain as the large rock Bill threw careened off its head. It dropped Ted and grabbed hold of an enormous boulder, hefting it high to smash Bill.

"No!" Ted screamed. Instantly the demon and the boulder flew away down the corridor with tremendous force. Its panicked howl grew faint as it travelled beyond hearing range. Bill and Ted stared blankly at each other.

"Ted.... did you do that?" Ted shook his head. Bill was not convinced. "Dude, you had to of! I know I didn't! I think you've got another one of those 'powers'!"

Ted shook his head more vigorously. "No, Bill.... there's no way.... I didn't...."

"Wait!" Bill picked up a small rock and held it up before Ted. "Try it again, dude. On this rock. Make it fly down the tunnel like you did that nasty demon dude, dude!"

"But Bill, I...."

"Just try, Ted!"

"Okay," Ted sighed, and stared at the rock. "Okay, dumb rock, fly away.... hocus pocus!" The rock did not comply.

Bill frowned. "You've gotta try harder than that, Ted. Concentrate! Really want the rock to move!" he coached.

Ted squinted at the rock. It didn't budge.

"Concentrate real hard, dude!" Bill coached.

Ted shut his eyes tight. His whole body shook with effort. "Has it moved yet, Bill?"

"I'm afraid not, Ted. Can't you try harder?"

Ted opened his eyes and exhaled loudly. He looked at the rock thoughtfully a moment, then snatched it suddenly from Bill's hand and hurled it as hard as he could. He threw his hands up and looked back at Bill with a grin. "There! Okay?" He turned and bounced on ahead.

Bill raised his eyebrows and sighed. "Okay." He turned and followed along behind Ted.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

The creature held its hind leg up and considered its toes. Dissatisfied, it began licking strenuously, making sure to get at the webbing in between where dirt so easily accumulated. It gave several grunts of pleasure while it worked. It held its leg out one more time, inspecting its foot closely.

"Pretty feet, pretty feet, pretty feet!" it sang. Suddenly it heard the sound of footsteps below. It scurried to the edge of the small hole in the rock wall it called home and peeked cautiously out. Its eyes glittered as it saw Bill and Ted approaching.

"Humannnnnnnsssssss! Oh goody goody goody goody!" It perched carefully on the edge to get the best vantage point it could. When you only had one power, you liked to exercise it any chance you could! It reached out with its forked tongue and flicked a speck of dust from one of its glistening eyeballs and waited patiently.

"Well, Ted, we're almost there. The bridge should be at the end of this corridor. Are you getting any more 'feelings'?"

Ted bounced along happily at Bill's side. "Naw, dude, I feel...." Directly above them a tiny pair of eyes began to glow.

"I feel...." The eyes grew brighter as the small demon put its power to use.

"You feel what, Ted?" Bill asked.

Ted stopped and sat down with a thud. He looked up at Bill with an expression of despondency, his eyes filling with tears. Alarmed, Bill crouched down beside him, placing an arm around his shoulder.

"Ted.... what is it, dude? What's wrong?"

Ted wiped a tear away and looked down at the ground. "It's.... all over."

"Huh?"

"It's.... hopeless. We're never going to make it, dude. We're lost.... and we'll never get home."

"What the he.... uh, what on earth are you talking about, Ted? We're almost there now! What has gotten into you?"

Ted sighed. "You don't understand. It's no use going on any more, don't you see that, Bill? We might as well just give up and die."

"Give up and die? Ted, I don't...." Bill broke off suddenly. He had seen something glittering out of the corner of his eye. He looked up, but nothing was there. He looked back at Ted.

"Ted, I don't know what's gotten into you, but we are getting up and going, now!" He noticed the glitter from above again. This time he didn't immediately look directly at it, but studied it sideways. It looked like a tiny pair of eyes. Bill began to catch on to what was going on.

Ted slowly shook his head. "No, Bill.... there's just no use in going on any more. We're going to die."

Bill stood up. "Well, maybe you're going to sit here like a worthless lump and die, dude, but I'm leaving!"

Ted glanced up at him, angry. "You'd leave me?"

"Yep! Sure would!"

"I should have known. Nobody really cares about me." Ted looked down again.

Bill fought the impulse to reassure him and started walking away slowly. "Yeah, well, those are the breaks, dude. So long, Teddy!"

Ted's head shot back up. "Don't call me that!"

Bill cocked his head to one side. "Why? You gonna do something about it.... Teddy?"

Ted jumped to his feet. "I'm warning you, Bill...."

"Theodore Logan! Theodore Logan! Teddy Ruxpin Theodore Roosevelt Loooogaaaaan! Yaai!"

Bill barely managed to turn and run as Ted launched himself towards him, enraged. They disappeared rapidly down the tunnel. The little demon's eyes dimmed as it turned, whimpering, and slouched back into its hole.

Ted caught up with Bill at the end of the tunnel and tackled him. He easily pinned Bill down and yelled in his face. "Take it back!"

"Take what back?"

"You know what! Take it back, or else!"

"Or else what?"

"Or else.... this!" Ted started tickling him furiously.

"Whoa, ha ha! Okay, hee, stop! Ha! I take it back, dude.... Hee hee! I take it back!"

"Good!" Ted released him.

Bill sat up, still laughing. "Whoa, Ted! I thought you were going to kill me, dude!"

Ted looked concerned. "Yeah. I did, too. Bill.... what was wrong with me?"

Bill started laughing again. "Dude, would you believe me if I said the devil made you do it?"

Ted laughed, too. "Wow, really? I'm really sorry, Bill.... whoa, Bill!"

"What?"

"Look! It's the bridge!"

Bill jumped to his feet and pumped his fist in the air. "Excellent, Ted! We made it!"

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

"How long has it been, Ted?"

"Ten minutes, dude. Maybe it hit the bottom and we just missed it."

Bill and Ted were crouched at the edge of the precipice the bridge stretched across. They had thrown a rock into it to try to determine how deep it might be.

"I dunno, Ted. Maybe this is the 'bottomless pit' we've always heard about."

They stood up and considered the bridge. It looked to be at least as long as a football field, but it was only about two feet wide and made of flimsy looking rope and wood.

Bill shook his head. "Ted.... I just don't think that thing'll hold both of us at the same time, dude."

"Yeah.... bogus. So, who goes first?"

"I do."

"I was kind of thinking I should, Bill. You're afraid of heights."

"I am not, Ted! I just don't like them that much."

"Well, who's gonna go first, then?"

"I am."

"I was kind of thinking I should...."

Bill raised his hands. "Whoa, wait Ted! This isn't getting us anywhere. Let's flip a coin on it." He pulled out a quarter and tossed it up. "Call!"

"Tails!"

The coin landed tails up.

"Looks like it's you, Ted."

"Yah...." Ted gulped. "Well, here goes nothing." He put one foot on the bridge and hesitated. "Bill? If anything happens.... you know."

Bill sighed and patted his shoulder. "Yeah, I know. Don't worry."

"Okay. Well, here goes nothing.... again!" He started across, gripping onto the rope hand railings as hard as he could. The bridge dipped a little under his weight but held strongly. When he was halfway across, Ted looked back over his shoulder and waved.

Bill yelled out encouragement. "Keep goin', dude! You're halfway home!"

Ted made it to the other side and stepped back onto solid ground with relief. "Hey, Bill! That was easy!"

"Yeah.... easy." Bill stepped out onto the bridge and paused to fight down the vertigo that washed over him. Slowly he made his way across.

"You're doing great, Bill! Don't look down!"

"Ooooh, Ted! Did you have to say that?" Bill felt beads of perspiration roll down his face, but was afraid to let go of the railings to wipe it away.

"Way to go, Bill! You're half way.... whoooaaaa!"

Bill looked up at Ted in alarm. "Whoa? What do you mean 'whoa', dude?"

Ted pointed to the other side. Bill craned his neck around to look. "Whoooaaaa!"

It was the "gatekeeper" demon. It stood at the foot of the bridge and smiled toothfully at Bill.

"Welll, my friend! You have done so well for yourself, haven't you?"

"Bill! Hurry!"

Bill turned and made his way toward Ted with speed.

"Yesssss, very well!" the demon continued. "Too bad you're not going to make it, isn't it?" Yes, it is a shame.... breaks my heart to think about it...." It pointed to the bridge. One of the ropes broke with a "pop".

"Bill! Haul it, dude! He's breaking the bridge!"

The demon wove several fingers in the air. All the ropes that held the bridge up on its side broke explosively.

"Bill! Hang on!"

Bill held on. The bridge swung down, leaving Bill dangling, clinging to the rope railings. Ted tried to haul the bridge up, but it was too heavy.

"I'm okay, Ted! I'm climbing up!" Bill managed to pull himself upward hand over hand along the railings.

Ted looked up to see the demon pointing again. "Uh oh.... Billlll...." One of the ropes on their side broke. "Bill! Hurry.... please!"

Bill climbed faster than he ever thought he could. Ted leaned over the edge, reaching a hand out to him. The demon continued destroying the ropes 'til there was only one left. Bill lunged for Ted's hand. He gripped it just as the last rope broke, sending the bridge tumbling down into the blackness. Ted was lying, spread eagle, on his stomach to keep from being pulled over the edge. He tried to pull Bill up.

"Whoa.... dude! You sure are a lot heavier than you look!"

"Any other time I'd be glad to hear that, Ted...."

Ted heaved as hard as he could, but it wasn't working. He could feel Bill starting to slip.

"Ted!" Bill called up to him. "Do that trick, dude! Like you did to that demon with the boulder! You can pull me up with it!"

Ted shut his eyes, gritting his teeth, and pictured Bill flying up to safety. He could still feel Bill's hand slowly slipping out of his own. "I.... I can't, Bill! I don't know how!"

"Keep trying, Ted.... it's our only.... aaahhhh!!" Bill slipped suddenly from Ted's grip and fell. Ted barely managed to keep himself from jumping over the edge after him. He buried his face in his hands and screamed. Then he started to cry.

"Uh.... Ted?"

Ted looked up, startled. Bill was hanging in the air above and in front of him with no apparent support.

"Bill? Is it really you?"

"No, dude, it's the flying nun. You wanna reel me in or something?"

Flustered, Ted went through the motions of reeling in a fish, jerking his arms back. When he looked up again, Bill was gone. He looked over the edge with horror.

"Bill?!"

"Behind you, dude."

Ted spun around. Bill was hanging there, upside down but safe over solid ground. "Uh, Ted.... do you mind?"

Ted exhaled with relief. The force that held Bill up in the air released him. He landed on his back with a thump. Ted cringed. "Sorry, dude."

Bill lifted one hand and pointed at him. "That's okay."

"Uh, Bill?"

"Yeah?"

"We made it."

Bill sat bolt upright. The gatekeeper demon was standing, watching them in silent fury from the other side. Bill leapt to his feet with a whoop. "Most triumphant! Yo! Ugly, spiny-headed dude! Ya gotta let us go now!"

The demon gestured. An opening appeared in the rock wall in front of them, revealing the front of Captain Logan's house on the other side.

"Not bad!" the two gasped.

Bill stepped through the doorway and turned to look back. "Coming, Ted?"

Ted turned to the demon with a small wave. "Well, bye mister demon dude. No hard feelings, I hope?"

The demon just smiled evilly. "No, of course not. No problem...."

Ted moved to step out, then jerked back as if he had walked into an invisible wall.

Bill was alarmed. "What the....?"

Ted tried again. He could not budge even a finger through the door.

Bill jumped back inside. "Let's try together, Ted." This did not work, either. Bill could step in and out easily, but Ted just bounced back with every try.

"What's going on?" Bill yelled across to the demon.

The demon waved a hand. He disappeared and reappeared on their side with a poof. "Is there a problem, gentlemen?"

"Yeah!" Bill yelled. "We've kept our side of the bargain! We took your little 'trial' and we passed it. Now you have to hold up your end and let us go!"

"Let us go?" the demon mimicked. "Let us go? I never said anything of the sort." Before Bill could protest again, it leapt forward and gripped his shoulder with claws digging in as it had done before and leaned up to his face.

"I said I would let you go!"

Bill and Ted were too stunned to speak. The demon let out a huge laugh and zapped back over to the other side where it laughed some more.

The dudes looked mutely at each other. Finally, Ted spoke.

"Bill, you should go. I.... I'll be okay, honest...."

Bill shook his head. "No way, du...."

"Oh, I wouldn't worry too much about your friend...." the demon called. "He's already done very well for himself! S'already gained two powers, in fact! I can think of some young demons that could learn a lot from him...."

"He's right, Bill. And besides, someone has to go take care of the babes and the babies. We can't just both desert them."

"Oh yesssss! Can't disappoint the ladies, can you? No, of course you can't.... silly to ask! Well?" The demon rubbed its hands together. "Make up your mind.... hurry up! The gate will only remain open for five more seconds!"

Bill looked sadly at Ted. Ted just shook his head.

"Bill! Go.... you have to!"

"Four!"

Bill looked out the doorway.

"Three!"

He turned back to Ted, his face resolute.

"Two!"

"No."

"One!"

"No? Bill...."

"Zero!!" The door vanished.

Bill shook his head sadly. "Sorry, dude. There's no way I'm gonna leave you here all by yourself with that.... pin-head! Rufus and your dad'll take care of the babes."

The demon zapped back to their side, laughing its head off. "Ooohh! I can't say this hasn't been sooo entertaining, guys, really! However I do have other duties. So! Since you have decided to pass up your little trip through the gate, I am required to offer you a, shall we say, consolation prize? Anything you want...."

Bill opened his mouth.

"....except to leave."

Bill shut it again.

"Oh, c'mon now.... think! Anything we have to offer!"

Bill snorted bitterly. "What do you have that we could possibly want?"

The demon leered at him. "Well, I shouldn't be telling you this, but we do have women here.... some truly wicked females they are, too! If you like, I could arrange, oh say, an hour or two of...."

Bill cut him off with a sharp gesture. "You are totally, utterly, bogusly, heinously disgusting!!"

"Why, thank you."

"Just leave us alone," Ted sighed.

"Ted! That's it!" Bill spun around to the demon. "That's my request! Leave us alone! Not just you.... every living or dead or, or.... moving thing in this egregious hole. Just leave us both totally alone.... forever!"

The demon snarled with fury. "Out of the quest...." It stopped and stared off into the distance as if it were suddenly listening to something. Then it gave them a sickly, evil grin. "Ohhhh yessss! Of course! My friend.... your wish is my command!" With that it snapped its fingers and vanished with a large puff of smoke.

When the smoke cleared, the dudes were startled to discover that Ted was now standing on the other side of the precipice.

"Oh verrrry funny...." Bill murmured.

"Bill!"

"Don't worry, Ted! You'll just have to use that trick of yours to get me...." All of a sudden the ground began to shake violently. Bill and Ted were both knocked over. "Now what?" Bill yelled. "An earthquake? I always figured Hell was underneath Los Angeles...."

"Bill.... look!" Ted called. A gigantic mass of solid rock was rapidly rising up out of the pit, filling it in.

"Whooooaaa!" Bill yelled. "Why're they....? Hey!" When the rock mass had reached the top of the precipice it did not stop. In fact, it continued to rise even faster towards the ceiling of the cavern. Realizing he was being sealed off from Ted, Bill tried to scramble over the top, but it had risen too fast. Desperately, he made a running jump for it and managed to grip the edge. Everything was shaking too hard for him to hold on, however, and he fell back down with a painful thump.

He watched helplessly as the wall came in contact with the ceiling with a tremendous crash that echoed on and on. Then, all was still.

Bill stared at the wall in front of him, stunned. He then noticed some writing that had been carved in tiny letters into the wall directly in front of him. He leaned forward and squinted to make it out.

It said: YOU ARE HERE.... ALONE.... FOREVER!

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Bill sat quietly, in shock. He had lost all track of time, but it seemed like years had passed already. He was painfully aware of being hungry and thirsty. He fought down a surge of grief as it crossed his mind that Ted must be feeling the same way, too. He wondered if they're souls would really be stuck in this horrible place after they starved to death. He allowed his head to sink down to rest on his chest and hugged himself, shivering.

"This is it," he sighed. "I've totally blown it.... for everybody."

"Yes, you have."

"It's all my fault."

"Yes, it is.... well, maybe not all."

Beyond surprises, Bill looked up to see a man standing in front of him. An ordinary looking, older gentleman dressed in a nice grey suit.

Bill looked away again. "I should have known you dudes wouldn't really leave me alone."

"In fact...." the man continued as if Bill hadn't spoken, "you've done quite well, really. If only you would learn not to be so impulsive."

"Go away."

"Still, you're young.... eventually you will achieve great things. You just need to think things through a bit more before you act, Bill. To 'look before you leap', as it were."

Annoyed, Bill stood up to face his intruder. "Uh.... look, dude. Who exactly are you?"

"I'm Sam." The man extended a hand to Bill. "I'm an angel."

Bill laughed bitterly. "Ha! Oh man.... you dudes never give up, do you?"

"I'm serious...."

"Okay, fine. You're an angel. Look dude, I appreciate your advice and all, but since you're a little too late I'd appreciate it a whole lot more if you'd go away and let me be miserable in peace, okay?"

"This is my favorite part!"

Before Bill could respond to that, the man swung his arms around, clapping his hands loudly. There was a great explosion that sent shards of rock flying everywhere. Bill dropped down and covered his head.

"Aaaaaahhhhhhh!!!"

When he looked up again, Bill realized he wasn't in the cavern any more. He stood up shakily. He was in a place full of light. Dazzled, he put his hand up to his eyes and squinted, blinking to try and make out where he was. After a few moments, he could make out an open window, the curtain flapping gently in the breeze.

"Bill!"

He spun around just as Ted crashed into him and picked him up in a crushing bear hug.

"Oof!" Ted released him and took a few steps back, embarrassed.

Bill shook his head, trying to clear it. "Wha.... where?" He suddenly realized he was back in Captain Logan's library. He spun around. "Ted??"

"Uh, sorry dude. I was just so glad to see...."

"Ted!!" Bill leapt forward and threw his arms around Ted's neck.

"Bill!! Ted!!" Joanna and Elizabeth dashed into the room and threw their arms around their husbands. The four of them fell over in a laughing, tangled heap.

Hearing the commotion, Captain Logan appeared in the doorway. "Ted! Where....? You...." He did not seem quite as overjoyed as the ladies by their sudden return.

A pair of investigating officers appeared in the doorway. "Are these your kidnapped boys, sir?" one of them asked.

"Yes," Captain Logan snorted. "Yes, thank you, men."

The officer patted him on the back. "See you at the station, Captain." He headed for the living room.

The other officer leaned into the room with a grin. "I used to sneak out the window for the occasional night on the town myself when I was younger. The wife woulda brained me if she ever found out!" He backed out and followed the other man. The two officers could be heard laughing as Missy showed them out. Captain Logan seethed as he watched Elizabeth and Joanna, still on the floor, kissing Bill and Ted passionately. He lifted a finger to speak when Missy slipped her arms around him from behind and whispered in his ear.

"Oh honey, let's leave them alone. I'm just glad they're okay."

She started to lead him out when he hesitated, hand on the doorknob. "I just want you boys to know that while you've been out having a good time, we've been going through hell worrying about you!"

Ted looked up at him. "Wow! Really, dad? We have to!"

"What he means, Captain Logan," Bill broke in, "is we've learned our lesson. It'll never happen again!"

"I should hope not!" Captain Logan snapped before slamming the door.

Elizabeth looked up at her husband, her eyes misting. "Ted.... where did you go?"

"Yes," Joanna added. "We were so worried!"

Ted got up and searched through the debris in the room, picked up a book and started flipping through the pages. "Well.... you see, Lizzie, we...."

Bill grabbed the book away and tossed it through the open window. "Ladies.... let's go get some breakfast and have a talk. It's a looooong story!"

THE END