The chase continued, and soon Michelangelo Demetrius was about the overtake the Bubbly Bear mascot. They reached a dead end, blocked off on one side by a wall along the edge of the framework of a roller coaster and on the other by a small pool decorated with a fountain. With nowhere left to go and his pursuer almost on top of him, the mascot turned and held out a fluffy paw. “Stop!” it pleaded.

Michelangelo stopped dead in his tracks.

Tilting its head with what seemed to be a questioning look, the mascot gave another command: “Back up!”

Michelangelo took a step back.

Bubbly Bear nodded knowingly. “Ah, I see you are a child at heart.”

Michelangelo stood entranced. He felt like he would do anything Bubbly Bear asked, even that he would be able to do anything he asked, no matter what. After all, he was Bubbly Bear. What child hadn’t dreamed that Bubbly Bear was real, that maybe one day he would find him and befriend him, see him with his own eyes and talk to him? He silently worshiped the larger-than-life character, thinking dreamily of all the adventures they would go on and all the fun they would have.

Albert broke into his thoughts as he finally caught up, panting as he doubled over in exhaustion. “Good work, Mr. Demetrius. You’re trapped, Mascot Man. Give up, and Mr. Demetrius will go easy on you.”

If it were possible for a mascot costume to change its expression into a sly, evil look, it would have. “Oh, don’t be so sure about that.” It pointed its beady black eyes straight at Michelangelo. “Kill him!”

Without any hesitation Michelangelo Demetrius turned, wrapped his huge hand around Albert’s neck, and lifted him right off the ground.

The short man struggled to breathe, his legs flailing in the air frantically. “Mr. Deme…trius…stop…it’s…me…Albert!”

Michelangelo acted as if he couldn’t hear him. He glared at his aide as a red mist shrouded his sight, turning the world around him to the color of blood. Bubbly Bear’s command resonated in his mind, keeping all other thoughts from it as the words echoed: “Kill him!”

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