Dipper and Alex were preparing to leave the Mystery Shack for an overnight hiking/camping trip in the woods. Since Mabel was having a sleepover with Candy and Grenda, Alex had decided to ask Dipper about doing something with her for the night. Once he had agreed, they had settled on camping overnight in the woods, although Dipper was now having second thoughts.
“Why don’t we just have a sleepover here in the shack or something, instead of going out into the woods?” he asked as he and Alex came down from the attic bedroom. “I mean, the forest is full of all kinds of weird stuff, and spending the night out there might not be the best idea.”
Alex laughed. “You’re not chickening out now, are you Dipper?”
“No! I’m just a little worried, that’s all.” He replied nervously.
“Well, quit worrying. We’ve had this planned for almost a week, and you are not backing out now.”
“But…what if something happens out there? What if we’re attacked by a bunch of zombies or something?”
“We’ll be fine. You’ve got the journal, right?”
Dipper patted his vest. “Yup. Right here.”
“We’re fine then. As long as you’ve got the journal, if anything weird or supernatural happens, we can handle it.”
Dipper smiled a little. “Yeah. We’ll be fine as long as we have the journal.”
The pre-teen and teen were almost out of the living room when Soos ran in and flipped on the TV. The theme song for Tiger Fist began playing.
“Hey! You dudes want to watch the newest episode of Tiger Fist with me?” Soos asked. “He’s supposed to get another fist! Another fist dudes!”
“Sorry Soos, but we’re going camping in the woods tonight.” Dipper said. “But you can tell us what happened when we get back, okay?”
“You got it dude!” Soos replied with a salute. “Have fun, and be careful out there.”
“We’ll be fine.” Alex said. “See you, Soos.”
They exited into the gift shop, where Stan was selling Mystery Shack merchandise to a small crowd of eager tourists.
“One at a time folks, you’ll all get your stuff…” He noticed the two youngsters and turned his attention from the tourists (and hardest of all, their money) to them.
“You two heading out?” he asked as he took a twenty from a hectic mother. “Be careful. Those woods can be dangerous.”
“Like he would know.” Dipper whispered to Alex with a snicker. “He barely ever leaves the shack.”
“What was that?” Stan asked as he adjusted his hearing aid.
“Nothing, Grunkle Stan.” Dipper said, straightening up and looking nervously up at his great uncle.
“You’re always talking about the weird stuff in the forest, Dipper,” Stan tried to keep himself from laughing. “ So if you find anything, bring it back so we can have an “authentic” exhibit in the shack.” At that, he busted out laughing. “Authentic! Ha! Like there’s anything mysterious enough for the shack in those woods!”
“He still doesn’t believe me.” Dipper sighed, looking at Alex. “I don’t think he ever will.”
“Well, we can still hunt for stuff in the forest. It’ll be fun.” Alex said.
Once Stan had turned his attention back to his customers, the two headed into the woods to begin their overnight trip.
“Do you have any ideas for something that could get Stan to start believing you?” Alex asked as they walked through the woods.
“The journal’s got to have something.” Dipper replied, pulling it from his vest. “Let’s see…” He flipped through the book for a while before stopping on a page.
“How about this?” he pointed to it.
“Floating eyeballs? Eh…I don’t think he’d buy that. Heck, he’d be able to pull that off himself with some strings. Any other ideas?”
Dipper continued flipping through the book until Alex stopped him on a certain page.
“Ooh, what’s this?” she asked.
“What, the butternut squash with a human face and emotions? I can’t even believe that one.” Dipper said.
“Have you ever seen one?”
“No, but it doesn’t sound like something I want to see.”
“Well…it’s weird, and impossible enough to fake that I think we could use it convince Stan that the journal is serious about all of this stuff.”
“You really think so?”
“Yeah, I do.”
“Well, okay then. I guess we’re looking for a humanlike gourd now.” Dipper said with a sigh. He began scanning the page for information on where to find the squash.
“It says here that there’s a whole patch of them in a clearing somewhere in the forest.” He said before closing the book.
“Are there any directions to get to this patch?”
“Nope. We’ll have to find it on our own.”
“Well, great.” Alex sighed. “Let’s just keep walking. We’ll run into it eventually.”
The two of them walked through the woods for hours, and by the time the sun had begun to go down, they still had not come across the fabled patch of gourds.
“I’m starting to think that the journal might be wrong about this one.” Dipper said. “What do you think?”
“I think you’re right. Let’s find a place to camp for the night, and then maybe we can continue searching. But if we don’t find it before nightfall, we should just forget about it.”
They went deeper into the woods, looking for the perfect place to set up camp. But in the first clearing they came across, they found something entirely different.
In the middle of the clearing was a run-down old shack, covered in ivy. It appeared to be abandoned, showing signs of major neglect.
“Whoa! What is this place?” Dipper asked, surveying it.
“No idea.” Alex replied. “Is there anything in the journal about mysterious old shacks in the woods of Gravity Falls?”
“If there is, I haven’t read it yet.” He replied, looking into his vest at the book for a brief moment. “Want to check it out?” he asked.
The two of them cautiously approached the old shack. They climbed a small set of creaky wooden stairs up to the porch. Alex went up to one of the windows and cleaned some dirt off of it before looking inside.
“I can’t see anything in there.” She said, straining her eyes to try and get a better look. “Should we go inside?” She looked back at Dipper.
“Why not?” Dipper said. “It’s not like there’s anyone inside or anything…right?”
“Of course not.”
Dipper pulled a flashlight from his backpack, flipped it on, and slowly opened the front door. He peered inside, pointing the light around the room. Alex looked in from behind him. The interior of the house was pitch black, save for the glow of the flashlight; rodents could be heard scampering away from the strange new light in the room.
“Uh…hello?” Dipper said into the darkness. There was no answer, so they went further in, the floorboards creaking beneath their feet.
“Nobody’s here. That’s good…I guess.” Alex said, slightly nervous.
“I wonder why this place was abandoned…” Dipper said as they looked around.
“It’s not abandoned.”
The two jumped, then quickly got closer to each other, now on edge. Dipper, staying close to Alex, pointed the flashlight towards the voice.
“W-who’s t-there?” he asked. “Come out!”
“Yeah….uh…show yourself!” Alex added.
A tall, thin man walked into the light, revealing himself to them. He was bony with scraggily hair and deep, set in eyes. He was dressed in a tattered overcoat with frayed dress pants. He held a lantern to their faces.
“What’re you kids doing here? You’re trespassing.” He said harshly.
“We didn’t know we were trespassing!” Dipper said nervously. “This place looked like it was abandoned.”
“Yeah. If you live here, you don’t do a very good job of keeping up your house.” Alex added.
“I don’t live here; I’m just the new owner. I’ve been trying to clean this place up to turn it into a vacation cabin that I can rent out, but it’s too out of repair for even me to fix.” The man explained.
“How long was the old owner gone?” asked Dipper. “This place looks awful.”
“I don’t know. He must’ve been gone for a while though, that’s for sure. But we’re gettin’ off topic here: who are you kids, and what’re you doing here?”
“I’m Dipper Pines. My great uncle Stan runs the Mystery Shack, back in town.” Dipper said.
“I’m Alex; his friend.” Alex said.
“What’re you doing here?” the man asked again. “That’s what I really want to know.”
“We were just looking for a place to set up camp, when we came across this shack.” Dipper said. “We figured it was abandoned, so we decided to take a look inside.”
“Didn’t your parents ever tell you to stay away from old abandoned buildings like this? You can get hurt inside.” The man scolded them.
“We were just curious.” Alex said. “It’s an old shack in the middle of the woods; why wouldn’t we be?”
“Well, however the heck you two stumbled in here, you need to get out. Now.”
Dipper looked out a nearby window; it was now nighttime. “But, it’s too dark for us to find somewhere to set up camp now. And we probably won’t be able to get back to the Mystery Shack when it’s this dark out.” He said.
“Well, just camp outside!” the man replied.
The two of them began heading back for the door, when suddenly a downpour of rain began outside. Thunder rumbled.
“Aw, really? That’s the third time in a row it’s stormed this week.” Dipper said, looking out a window at the storm.
“Well, we definitely can’t set up camp now.” Alex said. Dipper nodded. They turned and looked back at the man, who rolled his eyes.
“Fine, you can spend the night in here. But I have to lay out some ground rules.” He began.
“Like?” Alex asked.
“First off, I ain’t feeding you. Second, I’d better not hear any complaining about how hot or cold it is in here, if the roof’s leaking, or about any bugs or rats you might run into in here. Especially from you, girly.”
Alex rolled her eyes.
“Finally, don’t keep me up. Once I’m in bed, you’re both asleep. Got it?”
“Okay, Mister…uh?” Dipper paused.
“Zeke. Now, follow me.” He said, heading over to a staircase in the corner of the room. The two readjusted their backpack straps, then followed him.
He led them upstairs into a small bedroom with one cracked window and a day bed.
“You two are sleeping in here. If you need the bathroom, there’s a bush outside with your name on it. Any questions?”
“Uh…are we supposed to share that one bed?” Dipper asked.
“Would you rather sleep on the floor?” Zeke asked.
“Then you’ll figure out a way to share the bed.” He said. “I’ll be back up in a half hour to check on you. Bedtime is in an hour.” And with that, Zeke closed the door and headed back downstairs.
“Well he sure is friendly.” Alex huffed once he was gone. “Anyway…who gets the bed?”
“Want to Rock Paper Scissors for it?” Dipper asked.
“Okay. Best two out of three.”
“Rock, paper, scissors, shoot!” they both shouted. After three rounds, it turned out that Dipper had won.
“All right! I’ll just make myself comfortable and-” he hopped onto the bed, but froze stiff when a large, hairy tarantula came crawling up onto the mattress from underneath. Several other spiders followed it.
Scared, Dipper looked to Alex. “Floor?” he asked.
“Floor.” She replied, just as scared of the spiders as he was.
In a minute, they had their sleeping bags set up next to each other on the floor. Shortly afterward, they climbed in, each with books to read. In case the spiders got any ideas, they kept their shoes nearby for scaring them away, or squishing them if need be.
“All right. As long as the spiders stay away, we’ll be fine.” Dipper said, now slightly relaxed.
“Yeah. Now, where-?” Alex was cut off when a large bug crawled onto her sleeping bag. She jumped a little. Another one crawled onto Dipper’s bag, startling him a little as well.
“Ugh. I wish Zeke had left us some bug spray or something.” Alex sighed. “All we’ve got is some mosquito repellent, and that’s not going to work on these guys.”
Some rats ran across the floor, headed for their bags of food and supplies.
“Some rat poison would be nice right about now.” Dipper huffed.
Suddenly, Zeke entered the room, scaring the rats away.
“What did I tell you two about complaining about the critters?” he grumbled.
“Sorry, but they’re a little…well…annoying.” Dipper said.
“And they’re everywhere!” Alex added.
“I told you, I can’t do nothing about them.” Zeke said. “Besides, you’re only here for the night. Can’t you just deal with ‘em?”
“We’ll try.” Alex said with a sigh.
“That’s more like it. Now, bedtime is in half an hour. Do something quiet ‘til then. Or even better: just go to sleep early.” And with that, he left them alone once again.
The two decided to read their books until lights out, Dipper a mystery story and Alex a collection of short fairy tales. Whenever they saw the rats going after their food, they threw their shoes at them. Eventually, they had finally managed to get as comfortable as was possible in the old place.
Soon, Zeke stopped in to tell them that it was time to get to sleep before heading off to bed himself. Once he was out of earshot, they started talking quietly.
“As much as I’d love to get some sleep, I don’t think I can. I feel like I have bugs all over me.” Dipper shuddered. “And that storm is shaking the whole house.”
“Same here. Maybe if we just read, he won’t notice that we aren’t sleeping.” Alex said.
The two of them quietly continued reading, hoping that Zeke wouldn’t wake up and find them out. When they had finally relaxed a little more, another rat scuttled over to Dipper’s sleeping bag. It jumped up, snatched the flashlight from his hand, and took out the batteries before throwing the torch back at the boy, barely missing his head.
Dipper was shocked. “Did that rat just…steal my flashlight’s batteries?”
“What?” Alex asked, turning from her book.
“A rat just took my flashlight, unscrewed it, and took out the batteries!” Dipper said frantically. “See?” He showed her the empty flashlight.
“A rat stealing flashlight batteries? Do you realize how crazy that sounds, Dipper?” she asked, raising her eyebrows.
“I know it sounds crazy, but it happened! I saw it with my own eyes!”
“Okay then. Zeke’s definitely got some weird rats here, if they know how to take batteries out of flashlights.”
“Maybe he trains them or something.” Dipper said, pulling himself out of his sleeping bag. He tiptoed over to his bag to get some replacement batteries, but found that the ones he had packed were gone. He turned to find them in the mouth of a large cat, which then quickly carried them out the door and down the stairs.
“Alex, did you see that cat? It stole my extra batteries!” he said in a hushed voice.
“Don’t worry; I packed some extras. Check my bag.” She said to him.
When he did, he found that hers were missing as well. He sighed. “They’re not in there.”
“I guess the battery stealing cat got them as well. Sorry Dipper.”
“It’s fine. I guess I’ll just have to try and get some sleep.” He replied, after putting the dead flashlight back into his bag. After getting back into his sleeping bag, he turned to Alex and said, “Maybe you should too.”
“Yeah, you’re right.” Alex said, turning her flashlight off and placing it and her book beside her.
They both lay down and closed their eyes, hoping to try and get some sleep.
Dipper was awoken by the sound of his twin sister’s voice in his ear.
“Dipper! Hey, Dipper!” Mabel’s familiarly cheery voice said to him.
“Umh…Mabel?” Dipper’s eyes opened a little, and he saw his sister standing over him. He was wide awake in seconds.
“Mabel! What are you doing here?! I thought you were having a sleepover!” he said to her.
“I am! We just decided to go out exploring in the woods! And look who we found!” Mabel replied. “Why aren’t you two out camping?”
“It’s raining.” Dipper said, nodding to the window. “Why did you guys leave the shack in the middle of a storm?”
“Oh, no reason.” Mabel said with a laugh. “But anyway, guess what we found downstairs! Come and see!”
“Okay...” Dipper nodded slowly. “I’ll be down in a sec. Let me wake Alex up first.”
“All right, but don’t take too long!” Mabel said before running downstairs.
Dipper turned to Alex and shook her shoulder. “Alex, wake up! You’ll never believe who’s here!”
Alex’s eyes blinked open. She sat up and rubbed them as she said, “What? Who is it?”
“Mabel’s here! She and her friends must have snuck out of the shack to follow us.”
“Yeah! She just went downstairs. Let’s follow her.”
“Okay. Let me get the flashlight.” Alex said, turning to reach for it. But all she found was her book. The flashlight was gone.
“Looks like someone robbed us while we were sleeping.” She said. “It’s gone.”
“I guess we’ll be walking downstairs in the dark.” Dipper said with a sigh. “Hey…maybe Mabel took the flashlight.”
“Maybe. Let’s go find out.”
The two of them began groping around to find their way downstairs, using the occasional lightning flash to help them get a better look at the room. After a few minutes, they had finally managed to make it downstairs, but found no trace of Mabel or her friends.
“Dipper…are you sure you saw her?” Alex asked, looking at him.
“Yeah! She came to my sleeping bag and woke me up. She was really here!” Dipper said confidently.
“Are you sure? You could have been dreaming, you know.”
“I know I saw her!” He sighed in frustration. “You know what; I’ll go look for her. I bet she’s just playing a game or something.”
He began scouring the room for his sister, hoping to find her and prove to Alex that she really was there. He ran all over the room, looking in every possible hiding spot. Finally, he opened the door to Zeke’s private living room and saw Mabel at the far end of the room, waving at him.
“I found her! Quick, come look!” Dipper said, running back over to Alex and urging her to come and see.
By the time Alex had made it over to the door, however, Mabel was gone.
“Dipper, I don’t see her. Are you feeling okay?” Alex asked, a little worried for him.
“I’m fine! But she was right here! I swear!”
Alex sighed. “You can keep looking for her, but I’m going upstairs and back to sleep before Zeke wakes up and finds us walking around down here.”
“All right, fine. I’ll bring her back up there when I find her.”
“Okay, whatever you want to do.”
Alex turned to head back upstairs, but didn’t make it far before she heard Dipper scream in surprise. She ran back to him.
“What’s wrong- oh!” she cried when she saw what had shocked him. Zeke was standing in the doorway of the room where Dipper had just seen Mabel, and he did not look very happy.
“What are you kids doing up? I told you, as soon as I’m asleep, you’re asleep.” He said, fuming.
“We were sleeping, but then my sister came in the room and woke me up!” Dipper said. “She told me to follow her downstairs, so I woke Alex up and we came down here looking for her.”
“Your sister? What in the blazes are you talking about?” Zeke scratched his head.
Alex spoke up. “He woke me up and told me that his twin sister Mabel had come into the room and woken him up. But when we came down here, where she supposedly told him to go, she was gone. He said that he saw her again in this other room, but by the time I got over here, she was gone again.”
“You’re saying you saw her down this way?” Zeke asked Dipper.
“Yeah! She was right over there!” He pointed past Zeke into the room behind him.
“That’s the way into my room.” Zeke said with a frown. “And I haven’t seen any little girls running around in here. I think you’re just tired.”
“See, I told you Dipper! You were probably dreaming.” Alex said, folding her arms. “Come on, let’s get back to bed.”
“But I’m telling you! She was here!” Dipper protested. “Mabel! Come out of there!” he called into the room, pushing past Zeke to see inside.
“Okay, now you’re really starting to act crazy.” Alex said. She grabbed his arm and dragged him back upstairs with her. Once they were there, they sat down on their sleeping bags together and she said, “Dipper, face it. Mabel isn’t here.”
“But I saw her!”
“You thought you saw her. She isn’t here. I didn’t see her; Zeke didn’t see her. She’s not here, Dipper.”
Dipper sighed. “But, I know what I saw. It was Mabel; there was no mistaking her!”
Alex put a hand on his shoulder. “Dipper…ah, never mind. Just get some sleep, okay? Maybe you’ll feel better in the morning.”
“Fine.” Dipper said begrudgingly, laying back down in his sleeping bag. Alex smiled at him before going to sleep herself.
Once Dipper was sure that she had fallen asleep, he quietly sat up and grabbed the journal from under his pillow. Using his cell phone as a light, he began vigorously flipping through the pages, determined to find the answer he was looking for.
Alex had only gotten about an hour of sleep before she was rudely awoken by a loud “Aha!” from beside her. She sat up and saw Dipper staring at the journal, a look of excitement on his face.
“You didn’t sleep at all, did you?” she asked, frowning.
“I’ve been looking through the journal, and I think I know what it was I saw!” he said, looking at her.
“What, does the journal have an entry on hallucinations?” she asked.
“Very funny. And no. Look!” he showed her the page he was on.
“Zeke is a shapeshifter!”
“A shapeshifter?” She took the book from him and briefly read the page. “All right Dipper, I think you’ve been overthinking this. A lot. Why can’t you just accept the fact that you were seeing things?”
“Because, it all makes sense! How else could Mabel have disappeared right before Zeke showed up? He obviously changed into her to lure me out of bed!”
“Why would he do that? And on top of that, how would he know about Mabel anyway? We didn’t tell him about her until a little while ago.”
“I think he was also those animals that got into our stuff; I have a picture of Mabel and I in my wallet. Maybe he saw it while he was stealing the batteries!”
“And maybe you’re crazy.” Alex said, snapping the book shut. “Come on Dipper. This is ridiculous.”
“Why don’t you believe me?”
“Because, this is just a weird old house, with a slightly creepy owner, and weird animals and bugs. It’s obviously getting to you.”
“No it’s not!”
“Dipper…” she sighed. “I would believe you, but…I didn’t see Mabel. You’re the only one that saw her. If I had seen her too, I might actually believe you a little. But right now, you just sound crazy.” She handed the book back to him. “Give it a rest, okay?”
Dipper sighed, glancing down at the book. “Okay, fine. I’ll stop.”
“Promise?” Alex asked.
“I promise.” He replied with a nod.
Alex smiled at him. “Okay then. Let’s try to get some sleep, all right?”
“Okay. Good night.”
Alex was awoken when someone shook her roughly. She figured it was just Dipper, and brushed it off.
“Dipper, not now.” She grumbled, turning over. “Go back to sleep.”
“Dipper is asleep.” The familiar voice said to her. She jolted awake to see her twin brother Jordan standing above her.
“Jordan?! What the heck are you doing here?” she asked, sitting up.
He hushed her. “Shh. Just follow me.”
“What?” she asked.
“Come on! This way, sis.” he said, calling her towards him. He then headed downstairs.
She got up and followed him, tiptoeing across the floor towards the bedroom door.
Dipper, who had simply been pretending to sleep the entire time, opened his eyes. He sat up and, seeing that Alex was gone, panicked. Fearing the worst, he grabbed his video camera and quickly bolted after her. From the top of the stairwell, he saw her go down into the living room.
“Alex! No! He’s the shapeshifter!” he cried, stumbling down the stairs after her.
“Dipper?” Alex said, turning to see the boy stumbling down the stairs. He ran up to her and breathlessly said, “Don’t follow him! He’s the shapeshifter!”
She rolled her eyes. “Dipper, I told you to give that shapeshifter stuff a rest. You promised me you would, remember?”
“But he is! I’m telling you!”
“Dipper,” she sighed in frustration. She noticed his now fearful expression.
“What is it?” she said, turning around to see what he was looking at.
She then realized why he was so afraid.
Standing where Jordan should have been was a tall, slender, black shadowlike creature. It had glowing white eyes that were staring down at them.
“What…w-what is that?” she asked, stepping back.
“I-it’s the shapeshifter!” Dipper said fearfully, slowly backing up the stairs. “Come on, back up here! Quick!” He called, running back upstairs. He dropped the camera in his haste.
Alex, confused and scared, instead ran towards Zeke’s room and slammed the door shut behind her.
Meanwhile, upstairs, Dipper was getting ready to leave as quickly as he could. He pulled on his hat and vest, periodically looking over at the doorway to see if Alex had made it back upstairs. After a minute or so, he was starting to get really worried, so he called down after her.
“Alex, where are you? Hurry up!” he called.
“I’m coming! Hold on!” He heard her call back. He sighed, relieved that she was all right.
She appeared in the doorway seconds later, before walking over to him.
“Why are you walking?!” he asked, confused. “We’ve got to get out of here now! You don’t have time to walk!”
“It’s fine. The thing won’t find us up here. It went the other way.” She said calmly as she began rolling up her sleeping bag.
Dipper was very perplexed. What was wrong with her? She really wasn’t worried about the creature?
“Come on, hurry up! We have to get out of here before it finds out that we’re not down there and follows us up here!” He said, trying to get her to speed it up a little.
“Calm down, Dip. Don’t rush.”
Dipper froze in place. Alex had never called him “Dip”. Ever. That was a nickname only Mabel used. He knew then that this was definitely not Alex. He turned to face “her”. The creature, which had realized that the boy had caught on, quickly shifted into the form of Zeke, right before Dipper’s eyes. Dipper let out a loud scream upon seeing the transformation. “Zeke” then grabbed him by the collar, stuffed a sock in his mouth, and threw him into a hidden door in the wall.
Alex was shaking violently as she stood behind the closed door. Her breathing was fast and shallow.
I am not going out there again. She thought. No way.
Then, she remembered Dipper. He had gone back upstairs; the monster could have followed him. Her suspicions were confirmed when she heard him scream for a brief moment before he was silenced.
She knew then that, monster or no monster, she had to go save Dipper. She took a deep breath, still shaking, and opened the door, ran across the room and up the stairs to the room they’d been sharing.
When she got there, however, she found Dipper quickly and quietly packing up their belongings. He looked to be in quite the rush, but didn’t appear to be terrified at all.
“Dipper, are you okay? I heard a scream.” She said worriedly, taking a small step forward.
He turned to look at her. “Oh, great! You’re here! Come on, we’ve got to hurry up and get out of here!” he said, ushering her over to their belongings. He then continued packing up his stuff, and she began to do the same with her own items.
“Was the monster up here?” she asked.
“Yeah it was. But I took care of it.”
“What happened to it?”
“It ran away, out the window.” He nodded in the direction of the room’s only window.
Alex turned to look at the window and noticed that it was not the kind that could be opened or closed. It also did not appear to have been damaged at all, save for the crack that it had had since they’d arrived. This made her a little suspicious.
“Uh, how did it get out the window? That’s the kind of window you can’t open, and it isn’t broken.”
Before Dipper could respond, a small hidden door in the wall busted open and out came…Dipper?
“Huh?” Alex’s eyes grew wide. “Two?”
The Dipper that had come out of the wall pointed at the other and frantically said, “Alex, don’t trust him! He’s the shapeshifter!”
The Dipper that had been packing up his stuff said, “No, no, no, no, no, don’t listen to him; he’s the shapeshifter. I locked him up in that hidden compartment in the wall.”
Alex looked back and forth between the two Dippers, looking from the collected one to the frantic one that had just come out of the wall. She turned to the one closest to her.
“Why didn’t you tell me about the secret compartment in the wall?” She asked him.
“Uh…because I just discovered it a little while ago!” He said, after a moment of thought.
“Liar!” wall-Dipper shouted. “Alex, I’m telling you, he’s the shapeshifter! He was pretending to be you, and when I realized it wasn’t you, he changed into Zeke and stuffed me in here! Then he turned into me!” He then turned to the other Dipper and said, “Beat that!”
The other Dipper was about to begin his own story when Alex stopped him. “I’ve heard enough.” She said. She looked to the Dipper she had silenced and asked, “Have you got the journal?”
The Dipper in question turned to his bag and began rummaging through it. “Yeah, it’s right in here!”
Alex smirked. “Gotcha. The Dipper I know always keeps the journal on him, all the time. He would never stick it in his bag.”
She turned to the real Dipper, who pulled the journal out from within his vest and smiled at her.
“Glad to have the real you back.” She said to him with a grin.
“Same here.” Dipper said with a smile.
The two of them then turned their attention back to the fake Dipper, who had by now shifted back into the hauntingly familiar shadow form of the shapeshifter.
“Okay…how do we stop it?” Alex asked.
“Well, the journal doesn’t have any specific directions for defeating a shapeshifter...” Dipper said as he ran to her side.
Alex frowned. “Oh great.”
“But, it does mention that they can’t shapeshift in the daylight!” As he said the last part, he nodded over toward the window. Alex saw that it was daybreak outside; the sun was rising.
“So, all we have to do is get outside and it won’t be able to follow us?”
“It can follow us, but it won’t be able to trick us by changing its form.”
“Well, I guess that’s a plus.”
“But who said you would be able to get out?” said the shapeshifter, speaking up in a deep, ominous voice.
“What do we do?” Alex squeaked as she scooted a little closer towards Dipper.
“Don’t worry! While I was trapped in there I found out that there’s a secret passage behind the wall. We can use it to get out!” he replied.
“You don’t think I know about that passageway?” the shapeshifter asked, overhearing him. “I’ve lived in this old shack for years. I know every inch of it. There is no escape.”
“Oh yeah? You may know every inch of this place, but are you fast enough to catch us?” Dipper asked before disappearing into the wall. Alex followed him.
They ran as quickly as they could through the passageway, Dipper in the lead.
“Are you sure this passage leads out of here?” Alex asked.
“Well, it doesn’t exactly lead outside. It goes to the first floor. But it does give us an advantage!” Dipper replied.
“I was hoping it would get us outside, but I guess the first floor is almost as good.”
They were almost down to the first floor when they heard a voice cry out from behind them.
“Dipper, wait! Don’t leave me here!” It cried out to him.
They turned to see Mabel running towards them.
“Mabel!” he called back. He stopped to wait for her, but Alex kept him moving.
“Dipper, focus! That’s not Mabel; it’s the shapeshifter.” She reminded him.
“I know, but…”
“Come on! Just ignore it!” She said as she continued pulling him forward. When he was once again focused, they sped up a little more. Unseen, the shapeshifter shifted its appearance again.
The other door was soon only feet away from them. Dipper tumbled towards it, ready to open it. Alex came up behind him, until she heard the voice.
“Sis! Wait for me!” It sounded exactly like Jordan.
Alex knew who it really was, but as hard as she might try, she could not resist the urge to turn around and look. But before she could, Dipper was pulling her out the door. Once she was safely out, she prepared to turn back to the door, but stopped when Dipper shouted, “Don’t do it! Don’t look back!”
“But…the door!” she said.
“I’ve got it. Just don’t look back!”
Alex squeezed her eyes shut, and kept them closed until she heard Dipper say, “It’s all right. You can open them now.”
She opened her eyes and saw Dipper standing beside the now closed hidden entrance. Loud pounding could be heard from behind it.
“Is it trapped in there?” she asked.
“I think so.” Dipper replied. “I jammed the door. But I’m not taking any chances. Let’s get out of here.”
“Yeah.” Alex nodded.
The two of them were headed out the front door, when suddenly Dipper remembered something.
“Oh yeah! My camera. I dropped it somewhere in here…” He walked around the room for a moment, looking for it. “Ah, here it is.” He picked it up off the floor.
“It’s still recording? Wow.” he said when he noticed that the red light of the camera was still on.
“Wait…you got footage of that thing?” Alex asked.
“Yeah, but…I think we should destroy the tape.”
The two of them quickly ran out of the house and back towards town. On their way back, they ran into the very squash that they had been looking for yesterday, hopping around in the woods. They stopped to observe it, though only for a moment as they knew that the shapeshifter could be following them at that very moment.
“Want to take it back?” Dipper asked as they looked at it.
“Nah. How about we just film it hopping around instead?” Alex suggested.
“Good idea. I didn’t want to carry one back anyway.”
After filming a short clip of the emoting gourd, they rushed back to the shack, ran inside, and closed the door behind them.
“Oh, hey kids!” Stan said when he saw them come in. He, Wendy, Mabel, and Soos were watching DuckTective on the TV.
“Why are you guys back so early?” Mabel asked. “I thought you were going hiking and stuff today.”
“We had a change of plans.” Dipper said as he walked over and sat down on the carpet.
“What happened out there?” asked Wendy. “Did you guys get attacked by a bear or something?”
“We…don’t want to talk about it.” Alex said, sitting down as well.
“I bet they saw something “scary” in the forest and barely made it out alive.” Stan said with a laugh. “That’s usually Dipper’s story when he comes running inside all freaked out like this.”
“Well, we did!” Dipper said. “But whether you believe us or not is up to you.”
“Are you dudes gonna tell us what happened?” Soos asked.
“Sure…I guess. If you want us to.”
“All right, fine. Tell us what happened.” Stan said, lying back a little in his chair.
“Okay. But it was terrifying.” Alex said. “Really terrifying.”
“We’ll be fine! Just tell us!” Mabel said.
Dipper cleared his throat. “We were walking in the woods, looking for the perfect place to set up camp…”