Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Definition of Karma

            I’m back!  Sorry it’s been so long; I’ve been exceedingly busy.  First, I had finals at school, then I something…well, not good happened, and then I had Christmas events (I had four different Christmases on four successive days).  Anyways, I’m back now.

Last time:  A mysterious assailants began stalking the residents of Salem, Massachusetts, killing poor Morgan, whose supposed friends didn’t care that she was missing a whole lot (or at all if we’re talking about Mara).  Also, we met Jordan, whose timely arrival at the school is not at all suspicious.

Chapter Three
May 6
8:56 AM
Tatum opened her history book as she prepared for class.  She saw Leslie come in with a girl that Tatum didn’t recognize.  She was about to go ask her when the bell rang.  It would have to wait.  “Okay class,” said Mr. Thompson, the history teacher. “Open your books to page 330.”  He looked around the room, he noticed Jordan.  “Okay class, before we get started, we have a new student. Her name is Jordan Malcolm. Miss Malcolm, why don’t you tell us about yourself.”  (This rarely actually happened when I was in school…I guess my teachers were more sympathetic to new students than Mr. Thompson is.) 
Jordan stood up and started to speak.  She looked extremely nervous.  “Well, I’m Jordan Malcolm.  I used to live in…..” she hesitated.  “I used to live in Pittsburgh.”  (I don’t know why I chose Pittsburgh.)  She was about to sit down when Tatum’s friend Michael asked her something.  “So why did you move here now?” he asked.  (Man, this little introduction speech just keeps getting worse.  Now people are asking questions.  I feel for you, Jordan.)
Jordan hesitated again, and then finally spoke. “Well, uh.. my family they, uh, decided to….” She was cut off.  (This is supposed to indicate that Jordan is uncomfortable discussing her past, but it really just seems like she’s embarrassed by the situation her insensitive teacher and fellow students have put her in.  Or that I was incredibly bad at foreshadowing…I’m choosing to believe the former.)  Suddenly the fire alarm went off and everyone scrambled to get to the door.  Tatum got a glimpse of Jordan before she was hurried out of the room.  She stood at her desk and sighed in relief.  Jordan was defiantly hiding something, Tatum decided, and she was going to find out what it was.  (I don’t know why people in my stories are always so suspicious.  Maybe Jordan is just glad the complete awkwardness she was just forced endure is over?  I would be.  Still, Faith and her friends from “The Babysitter” would never have noticed anything was strange, except maybe Lily, so I guess Tatum is a slight improvement in the intellect department.)

Adam opened his eyes.  He was in his classroom, and smoke filled the room.  He looked to his right, and saw his lab partner and friend, Dede, lying on the ground.  Some people were still in the room, unconscious, but for the most part everyone was gone.  (Why are people unconscious?  What started the fire?  Apparently I felt these details were unnecessary to explain, probably because there is no logical explanation, which is unsurprising.) 
Adam looked for the source of the fire, and saw it by the door.  (If it’s by the door, why are people all around the room unconscious?  Was there an explosion?)  It was large, and there was no way to get out of the room through the door.  He knew this room led into the regular science room, and there was a way out that way.  Adam grabbed Dede’s hands and pulled her into the next room.  (Wow, Adam’s sort of impressing me.  Who’d have thought that I’d write a character who was actually likeable?  Though there is still time to ruin Adam.) 
He got to the door and pulled on it.  It was locked.  The door was locked, yet there had been students in that classroom earlier.  The door should have been unlocked.  He left Dede by the door and went to get his remaining three classmates. 
This make so sense.  There is no apparent way out of the room, so Adam decides to drag his remaining unconscious classmates to a locked door.  And another thing is bothering me about this whole fire storyline:  where did all the other students/teachers go when the fire started and knocked some of the students out?  Why is Adam the only one in the room who’s not unconscious, and why are there only a handful of students still in the room?  The teachers of this school should be fired.
He walked into the lab and saw that the twins Mia and Mya were lying on the floor.  They were light, and they barley weighed 200 pounds combined.  He drug them into the next room easily (at the same time?  I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t classify dragging 200 pounds across the room as “easy.”), and went back for his remaining classmate.  It was George Adams, who weighed 230 pounds.  He tried to drag him into the next room, but it was hard.  (First of all, I’m sorry if this offends anyone.  I had no concept of weight or anything like that back then.  Also, how is 230 pounds hard to drag across a room while 200 pounds is easy?  That doesn’t make sense either.)
By the time the rest of the class was in the regular science room, the fire had spread across the room.  Adam closed the door, which kept some of the smoke out of the room.  Adam was extremely tired, but he knew he had to continue.  He went to open the windows, but they were the kind that didn’t open since his school was air-conditioned.  (Okay, now this is just a hazard.  There’s no way a school would have non-opening windows for this very [unlikely] reason.  What if there’s a fire and someone locks a bunch of students inside?) 
Adam grabbed a book and threw it at the window.  It shattered instantly, and Adam began to drag Dede to the window.  He picked her up as best as he could and lowered her out the window.  Next he got the twins, one at a time, and pushed them out the window.  He still had to get George out the window. (Maybe you shouldn’t have wasted your energy dragging him to the locked door on the other side of the room, Adam.)  Try as he might, there was no way Adam was going to get George out the window by himself. (Admittedly, it would be pretty hard to get an unconscious person through a window, unless it was a small child or something).  He would have to wait for help.
He didn’t have to wait long.  Dede opened her eyes, dazed and confused. (This is not a reference to the movie…I had never heard of it when I wrote this.)  She stood up and saw Adam in the room.  (This is way too convenient.  I hate plot contrivances like this, yet my stories are full of them).  “Adam!” she said.  Adam looked around at her.  “Dede! Help me get George!” he said, pointing to his body.  Together, they were able to get George out of the classroom just as it collapsed.
Okay, so despite the some ridiculous choices, I am kind of impressed with Adam, who deserves some sort of cool reward.  Maybe this story will have more likeable characters, though they do seem to possess the same stupidity gene as the characters of “The Babysitter,” albeit to a lesser degree.  Still, there might be hope for them yet.

Chapter Four
May 6
8:01 PM
Becca took her hot chocolate into the living room and turned on the news.  “And now for the Breaking news,” said Zelda van Gutters, the anchorwoman.  (Oh man.  I cannot believe the name I chose for the news anchor.  I’m pretty sure it was the name of a dog in the Nickelodeon magazine I used to get as a child, and I’m choosing to believe that it was.)  “A fire at Winslow High School (Yes, this is the name of the school in Scream.) resulted in one death today, that of Morgan Ross, though there is some speculation about her death.  Morgan was a sophomore at Winslow; the fire was in a ninth grade classroom.  ‘Morgan wasn’t there,’ says Adam Wilson, who rescued four classmates from the fire (after the incompetent teachers of the school left the 14 year old alone with four unconscious classmates.”) 
Becca sat up in her chair.  Wow, she thought.  Adam was a hero.  (Again, he wouldn’t have had to risk his life to save his classmates if not for the teachers’ complete disregard for their students.)  She was also shocked to hear of Morgan’s death and was eager to hear more about it.  (Man, first Mara and now Becca.  These people are way too interested/excited in their classmate’s death.  They’re insensitive jerks.)  The news story went on.  “Morgan was also reported missing this morning, and no one at Winslow reports seeing her before or after the fire.  And fireman are still not able to pinpoint the source of the fire,” said Zelda. 
Now wait just a second!  First of all, I think that the firemen would be able to pinpoint the source of the fire.  Second, there’s still no explanation about why the students were unconscious.  It seems like there might have been an explosion, but “Zelda” isn’t reporting that.  Thirdly, I’m sort of unsure whether or not Morgan being there would be suspicious.  I mean, maybe she was trying to rescue the students in the room after she saw the teachers fleeing the scene.  And don’t you have to wait 24 hours to report a person missing?  On the other hand, I think the coroner would be able to determine that Morgan was already dead when the fire started.  This story is already becoming senseless.
Becca was shocked.  She had to call Leslie and see how she was.  She picked up the phone, and dialed the number.

Mara turned off the TV.  Morgan was dead.  Wow, was this a juicy piece of information.  (Oh man, Mara, you make Lauren of “The Babysitter” look like a saint.  You, my friend, are a huge jerk.)  She didn’t even feel bad, since she never liked Morgan in the first place.  (Okay, but I would still feel bad even if Morgan had been my worst enemy.  You’re pretty heartless, Mara.) She didn’t really like any of her “friends.”  They were just the people that would get her in the right place to rise to another level of popularity.  (She reminds me of a gold-digging trophy wife here.  Actually, that’s probably her life goal.)  She was about to call Leslie when she remembered that they were mad at each other, which really didn’t bother her, since she didn’t like any of them in the first place.  (Alright, I’m about to kill Mara myself.) 
Mara decided to head upstairs for a shower.  She walked up the stairs and headed into the bathroom.  She turned the water on, but suddenly heard something in her room.  (I used this tactic a lot…I’d have the character turn on the shower and then leave the room, and then something bad happens to them.  Anyone remember River’s big scene in “The Babysitter?”) 
Mara went into her room and flipped the light switch on.  Nothing happened.  She flipped it again.  Still nothing.  Mara heard someone moving, and suddenly all the lights in the house went off.  (Wait a minute…if the stalker was just going to kill the lights in the entire house, why cut the lights in Mara’s room first?)  Mara suddenly felt a pain in her side, like a needle was sticking inside her.  She felt the pain again, this time it was in her back.  (YEAH!  KILL HER, STALKING PERSON!  Okay, if this was real then I wouldn’t be so casual about someone being in pain, but this is a story, and Mara is getting pretty annoying.)  Then in her arm, her neck, her leg.  What was happening?  Suddenly, she couldn’t see.  She was blind.  (This is actually kind of an intriguing scene in my opinion, at least compared to other “death scenes” in my stories.  Why can’t Mara see?) 
Mara stumbled to the bathroom and tried to find the glass door.  (Whenever I mention that the shower door is glass, you can expect that the doors will be broken.)  She would hide in there.  Mara felt for it, but tripped over something.  She then felt some force lifting her into the air.  It was controlling her.  It threw her into the shower door, shattering the glass.  (See what I mean?  I was so predictable.)
Mara hit the wall.  She slumped to the ground.  Suddenly she could see again, and the lights came back on.  (Okay, so maybe the lights were turned off using supernatural means.  I just assumed the killer turned them off using the circuit box or whatever…I’m not really familiar with electrical equipment.)  She saw someone unwrapping a cloth from around the eyes of a doll.  Needles stuck out of it.  It was a voodoo doll.  (Okay, so a voodoo doll’s not the most original concept, but I still actually kind of like this scene.) She looked up and saw the woman controlling her.  Mara gasped as the intruder grabbed her head.  She couldn’t believe it.  The intruder was-SNAP!  (This would actually be rather frightening if it happened in real life.  Unfortunately, I don’t think it translates well to paper.) The woman broke Mara’s neck.
Okay, so the writing could be better and things aren’t always explained very well, but I actually kind of like this scene.  If I were going to rewrite this story, which I currently have no plans to do, I probably wouldn’t change a whole lot about the basic premise of this scene.
As for Mara, I remember hoping people would feel sympathetic for her, but alas, I don’t.  On the contrary, I’m glad we don’t have to hear about how she doesn’t really like any of her friends anymore and will be spared her incessant lack of respect for her deceased classmate Morgan.  If she’d known that she would soon be joining her, I doubt Mara would have been so cavalier about Morgan’s death.  Serves her right.

Chapter Five
May 6
8:02 PM
            Leslie was talking to Jordan.  “Yeah, I can’t believe Morgan is dead,” said Leslie.  (You sound really distraught, Leslie.) 
“I know, too bad that Adam kid couldn’t have saved her too.  He saved everyone else in the room though,” said Jordan.  (Wow.  Instead of a reward, Adam’s got people complaining that he’s isn’t, in fact, endowed with superpowers and could only save four people and not five.  These people are ungrateful jerks.) 
“That Adam kid is my brother,” said Leslie. 
“Wow, that’s really cool,” said Jordan.  (Yeah, whatever Jordan.  I know you’re just trying to counter your previous comment.  Luckily, Leslie isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer and doesn’t notice.) 
“Hey Jordan, why did you get so tense today when you were introducing yourself.  You also got really nervous when I told you we were learning about the Salem Witch Hunt. Why was that?” asked Leslie.  (I just remembered what Jordan’s hiding…it took me this long to remember the a plot point of a story I wrote.  What does that tell you about this story?  It’s not very memorable, that’s what.  Also, I feel bad for Jordan and the constant stream of awkward conversations she’s being forced to endure.  Maybe Adam can come and save you from this interview Leslie’s giving…unless he’s, you know, busy saving four other people instead.)   
“Well, I can’t answer the first question, but I can answer the second,” said Jordan.  (Way to be inconspicuous, Jordan.  You’re not hiding anything at all.)  “Someone I’m, uh, related to was burned at the stake during that time.”  (Her stammering was supposed to indicate that she was hiding something about the second question, as well.  It’s not very effective.  Also, if this is true, Jordan needs to get over it.  No one she has ever met was even alive during the Salem Witch Hunt!  Why does it bother you so much!) 
“Oh how terrible!” exclaimed Leslie.  “Who was it?” she asked.  No answer.  “Jordan?”  Still no answer.  (This isn’t really clear, since I never even established that Leslie and Jordan were talking on the phone and not in person, but Jordan isn’t just being quiet; the call was interrupted.)  Leslie hung up and was about to call her back when the phone rang.  “Jordan?” asked Leslie. 
“Not Jordan,” said the voice.  (Why do the supernatural entities in my stories feel the need to call the protagonists?  At least this person didn’t reveal his/her entire plan – unlike the demon in “The Babysitter.”  Well, at least not yet, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it eventually happens.)
“Who is this?” asked Leslie.  “Come,” is all the voice said.  “Where?” asked Leslie.  “You know where. And bring you brother and sister.”  The person hung up. Leslie checked her caller ID.  The call had come from Mara’s house.  (This is actually kind of creepy, though if I were Leslie I would probably suspect that the caller was, in fact, Mara.  We readers, however, know that Mara is dead, which was supposed to make this situation disconcerting.)

Tatum was walking with Adam and Leslie.  They were on their way to Mara’s house.  (If they really think Mara is in trouble, why didn’t they call the police?  Their friend just died under mysterious circumstances, and there was just a massive, unconsciousness-inducing fire at the school.  Something might be going on, you idiots.  Sigh…why didn’t I ever write smarter characters?)  They didn’t know why someone had called them but it didn’t sound good.  Something was wrong.  “Are you sure that it wasn’t Mara,” asked Adam. 
“Yes,” said Leslie.  (Well, I’m glad Leslie doesn’t need to explain this.  I, for one, want to know what the mysterious caller sounded like.  Sadly, we’ll never know.) 
Tatum listened to the rustling of the leaves, but there was no wind.  How could the leaves be rustling with no wind.  (Uh oh…something spooky’s going on!  There’s no wind!  Better watch out!)  “Stop,” Tatum whispered.  They all stopped.  “Listen, do you guys here that?” she asked.  The rustling was coming from the left.  It was also coming closer.  (Oh, this is actually kind of unsettling.  The leaves are moving because someone is coming toward them.  Well, we know it’s not the police since apparently none of these characters are aware that such people exist.  Who could it be?)
Tatum shivered as it came to them.  She picked up a rock as the figure came into view.  She was about to hurl the rock when Adam screamed “NO!”  Tatum stopped and saw Dede.  (Something about this scene just makes me cringe.  It’s way over the top.  I don’t think anyone would actually react this way, though this is a story about supposedly supernatural events involving witches, so I guess realism really shouldn’t be a consideration.)
“You scared the crap out of me!” Tatum told her. 
“Sorry,” said Dede.  Suddenly they heard rustling from the right.  Tatum clutched her rock as someone else emerged from the bushes.  Tatum hurled her rock right at………..Jordan.  She fell to the ground as the rock hit her.  (Holy crap, how big was this rock?  Was it a boulder or something, or does Jordan just have the worst balance of anyone in the world?)  Someone hurried to help her up, and Tatum recognized her friend Michael.  (Wait, who’s this Michael person?  Have I mentioned him yet?  If I have, he apparently wasn’t very memorable.  That doesn’t bode well for his character.) 
“Why did you do that?” he asked. 
“Sorry,” said Tatum.  (“Yeah, sorry I nearly killed you with a giant boulder, unless I actually threw a small rock and you just have terrible balance.  Then it’s all your fault.”)
“Yeah, we thought you were someone else,” said Adam.  (Though Adam doesn’t say whom they were expecting.  Again, if they’re really this scared, why didn’t they call the police?)
“Why are you all here?” asked Jordan. 
“I was headed to Mara’s house with my sister, Becca, when we got separated,” said Dede.  (If they all know each other, shouldn’t they all know that Becca and Dede are sisters?  Why did Dede feel the need to clarify this?) 
“We were going there too,” said Jordan.  (Who’s “we?”  Was she traveling with Michael?  If so, how do they know each other?) 
“So were we!” said Leslie. 
“Did someone call you and tell you to come?” asked Tatum.  Everyone nodded and said yes. 
“Wow, this is weird,” said Michael.  (Yeah, just a little odd, but not at all something you should call the police about.  These people are morons.  Maybe this story takes place in the same town as that “The Babysitter” occurred in?  That would explain a lot about.)
“Well, were almost there,” said Leslie.  She was right.  Mara’s huge house was visible in the distance.  They all finally emerged from the woods behind her house when someone hurled a rock at Jordan.  (Another familiar plot device.  Everyone lives near the woods, and the only way to get anywhere on foot is by running through said woods.)  Once again she fell to the ground. 
“Ouch!” she said, holding her shoulder where she had been hit.  Tatum looked at who had hit her.  It was Becca and Sarah.  (Oh man, I actually laughed reading this.  Forget the killer, Jordan’s friends are the real threat.  She’ll be lucky to survive the chapter.) 
“Sorry,” said Becca. 
“Yeah,” said Sarah, “we thought you were someone else.”  (Who are you?  Have I mentioned you?  Again, if I have, I’m thinking that you and Michael are both doomed.)
“What are you guys doing here?” asked Tatum. 
            “Someone called us and invited us to come,” said Becca.  They walked to Mara’s back door and knocked.  There was no answer.  Tatum opened the door and walked in.  (Is it just me, or does it seem like it took them FOREVER to get to Mara’s house?  Come on already!)
“Mara,” called Sarah.  There was no answer. 
“Let’s split up,” suggested Adam.  (Adam, you’re hero license is dangerously close to being revoked.  You never split up, especially considering the circumstances.)  They did.  He, Dede, and Sarah went upstairs, while Tatum and Michael looked in the basement, and Leslie, Jordan, and Becca looked on the main floor.  (They don’t even split up into two large groups, but rather into three smaller groups.  You. People. Are idiots.)  Adam walked into the bathroom.  The lights were off, and when he flicked the switch, the light didn’t go on.  He flicked it again, but still nothing happened.  (Uh oh…this is an allusion to Mara’s death.  Gasp!)  Dede and Sarah walked in, and suddenly the door closed. 
“What happened?” asked Dede.  They stood in the darkness, trying to get the door open. 
“What’s going on?” said Sarah.  Suddenly the lights went on and the three kids stared at the shower in terror.  Mara was hanging from the showerhead.  The glass door was shattered, and blood stained the floor.  (Whoa, this is very macabre and actually somewhat frightening.  Or at least it would be in real life.)
There was a symbol around Mara.  They didn’t dare touch it.  “Sarah, do you recognize the symbol?” asked Adam. 
Sarah looked at it.  She was a practicing witch, (which is not suspicious at all in a story about witches and witchcraft.) so she might know what it was.  “It looks like a protection spell, but different somehow,” she said. 
“Do recognize it?” asked Dede. 
Sarah examined it closer.  She was about to touch, then stopped.  “Oh my gosh….this is an evil spell!”  (I have no familiarity with witchcraft outside of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which I’m sure isn’t accurate, so I don’t describe the symbol here.  As if I needed a reason to be vague and nondescript.)
“What’s it do?” asked Adam. 
Dede walked to it.  She put her hand on the symbol and shuddered.  (Seriously, Dede?  Sarah just told you the symbol was evil.  Why would you touch it?)  She was thrown back, through the door, and hit the wall in the hallway.  “That’s what it does,” said Sarah as the ground began to rumble. The walls began to crumble (That wasn’t supposed to rhyme) and the floor started to fall in.  It then completely fell apart.  Adam and Sarah fell to the floor below; the only thing left in the bathroom was the showerhead, with Mara’s body hanging from it.  (Nice job, Dede.  See what you did?  Actually, that was pretty suspicious.)

Alright, so we’ve finished this installment of “Salem.”  As promised last time, we lost another character (thanks again, mysterious stalker for putting us out of our misery and killing Mara), and all we need is for the stalker to kill Michael, Sarah, and Tatum to eliminate the ones who are useless and/or utterly unbearable.  However, if we get rid of Tatum, she won’t have the chance to try and kill her friends with boulders anymore.  Unfortunately, I think Tatum’s going to be with us for a while.

Next time:  The characters exhibit extraordinary selective memory by all but ignoring the destruction of Mara’s house, we learn more about the extent of Sarah’s knowledge of the occult, the witch will slay another character (believe me, you won’t miss him/her in the slightest), and someone travels back in time where, ironically, time seems to have no meaning but the date is still relevant.  Yeah, that doesn’t make sense to me either.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Burning Alive

Cast of Main Characters
Tatum- 15 years old. Interested in Salem witch hunt.
Leslie- 16 years old. Tatum’s sister.
Adam- 14 years old. Tatum and Leslie’s brother.
Dede- 14 years old. Adam’s friend.
Sarah- 17 years old. Leslie’s friend. Modern day witch.
Michael- 16 years old. Tatum’s friend.
Becca- 15 years old. Tatum and Michael’s friend.
Jordan- 17 years old. The new girl.

            Okay, so this story is about someone stalking people in Salem, Massachusetts, site of the infamous Salem Witch Hunt back in the day, and killing them the same way they killed witches.  Or that was the intention at least.  Some of the deaths don’t really have anything to do with deaths during the Salem Witch Hunt, at least not that I’m aware of.  I sort of ran out material, so I think I just started making things up.  Basically, this became more of slasher story, where people are just randomly murdered, as opposed to there being any method to the madness.  This is completely unsurprising to me and actually typical of my stories.
            One thing about this story that’s different from “The Babysitter” is the fact that this story is very macabre and dark, or at least more so than “The Babysitter.”  What I mean is, while the latter had some flashes of sinister things (anyone remember Lily’s soul-sucking, where she was pinned to the wall with knives?), the attacks were relatively tame.  In this story, however, some of the killings are actually very painful-sounding, such as when *someone* burns to death.  However, there are also many atrocious, horribly-written scenes (just wait for Becca’s big moment with the stalker, which is one of the most unintentionally hilarious things I’ve ever written).
            Before we begin, though, a word about the names.  Tatum was named after a character from Scream, played by Rose McGowen (she played the sister of Dewey [David Arquette] who is SPOILER ALERT killed by garage door when she tries to escape said garage).  Dede, Mara, Becca, and Jordan were originally named something else I think, but after watching MTV’s Sorority Life back in the day, I changed them to the names of the pledge master (Becca) and three pledges (Dede, Mara, and Jordan).  Yeah, I don’t really know why I did that, since the characters are nothing like their namesakes, except for Becca, who only resembles the real Becca in appearance (not that I bother to actually describe my Becca).  Dede, by the way, is pronounced like “DeeDee;” yes, the real Dede actually spelled her name like this. And with that, let’s begin “Salem.”

The Past
May 9
7:41 AM
She wiped her eyes as they slipped the rope around her neck.  She hadn’t done anything to the people of this sleepy town, yet they were hanging her.  She looked to her left. Her sister, Mary, stood there.  To her right, Betsy was there, and they all stood at the gallows.  They had been accused of being witches and were now going to die.  Betsy and Mary were crying, and she had as well, but now knew there was something better to do.  Her friend, Leah, who actually was a witch, had been burned the other day.  She had chanted a spell right before she died.  Now the spell was stuck in her mind, and she knew what she was going to do.  As Betsy and Mary were pushed off the gallows, she spoke the magic words.  She immediately felt power course through her body, and she knew she would have her revenge. Even as she was pushed off the gallows, she knew she’d be back.
I love that this person, who is not a witch at all, is able to just invoke some hidden power at whim without any sort of training or practice.  If this were real life, I’d be worried because anyone could just randomly decide to start casting spells on people left and right.
FYI, I deliberately did not reveal her name.  In hindsight, however, I don’t really know why I did this, but I remember it being deliberate.

Chapter One
Present Day
May 5
10:30 PM
Morgan woke up as she heard a crash downstairs.  Someone was in her house.  Morgan’s parents were on vacation, leaving her home alone.  She had been scared, so she had brought a knife upstairs with her.  (I’ve actually done this before…which I am ashamed to admit.  As a result, I can’t knock Morgan for this.) She clutched in her hands and climbed out of bed.
Morgan tiptoed halfway down the stairs and listened.  (What the hell, Morgan?!?!  Why are you investigating?  Personally, I’d have already climbed out the window and be running for safety by now.  I guess I sort of admire you’re resolve, even though it’s going to result in your death.  If you thought that was a spoiler, then you must not have read my first story.)  She could still hear the person moving around, but was still in the entry hallway.  Morgan silently stepped down the stairs, hands trembling.  (Again Morgan, why exactly are you going downstairs, especially considering how scared you are?  Climb out a window!  Or, better yet, call the effing police!)  She reached the bottom, and screamed.  (Way to blow your cover, dumbass.)  The intruder was right in front of her.
Morgan screamed again, then ran back upstairs.  (Of course it was necessary for her to scream a second time, especially before she ran back upstairs.)  She could hear the intruder following her, close behind her.  It was a woman, and she grabbed Morgan’s blonde hair.  (How the eff does Morgan know the intruder’s a woman?)  Morgan grabbed the stair railing as the woman let go of her hair and grabbed her feet.  Morgan screamed as she let go.  The duo rolled down the stairs.  (Oh man, these people are idiots.  I’m starting to think this story takes place in the same [hopefully] fictional town as “The Babysitter.”)  Morgan got up first, and realized something.  They were both girls.  She had a weapon, the intruder didn’t.  Morgan was an orange belt in karate, which was pretty good.  (I actually had no idea back then if an orange belt was good, and I still don’t.  In fact, I don’t even if there is an orange belt.  The entire extent of my karate knowledge comes from this kid I babysit who can break a board with his hand.  Back when I wrote this, I wasn’t babysitting board-breaking kids who could kill me, so I didn’t even have the little karate knowledge that I have now.)  She could probably take the woman who was now getting up. 
Okay, Morgan:  if she pulled you down the stairs, why try to fight her?  At the very least, she seems to be in pretty good shape, so why try and…well, what were you planning to do anyways, Morgan?  Kill this person?  Even though she broke into your house, you seem pretty okay with slaughtering her.  Maybe you’re the murderer in this story?
As Morgan prepared herself for battle, the woman grabbed her.  Morgan thrust the knife toward the woman’s stomach.  The intruder was incredibly fast, and grabbed Morgan’s hand before she was even close to stabbing her.  (I bet you’re regretting that surge of empowerment you felt a minute ago, aren’t you?  At least you still have your weapon.)  The woman took the knife and threw it.  (Uh, nevermind.  At least neither of you appear to have a weapon, though.)  She reached inside her large coat and threw some kind of liquid on Morgan.  (Okay, scratch that.  I guess it’s *possible* that the liquid isn’t anything that can do real damage, but who are we kidding?  Morgan’s doomed.)  It smelled like gasoline, and suddenly Morgan knew what the intruder was trying to do.  She ran to the door, the intruder right behind her.  (Now she runs.  Better late than never I guess.)  She got to the door and opened it, but paused.  She looked at the woman.  Morgan saw her face as the woman said, “Time to die.”  Morgan looked up and saw a flaming rag come at her.  It would be the last thing she ever saw. 
Umm, so I guess that whole better late than never thing doesn’t really hold up since it was Morgan’s attempt to escape that eventually did her in.  I’m sort of confused by this sequence though.  If we’re to believe this woman set some sort of booby trap, how did she do so?  Also, what would she have done if Morgan had gotten bold and stayed and fought, or if she had tried to run back upstairs?  Is the entire house rigged with flaming rags? 
So I guess Morgan’s not the murderer, unless she’s faking her death…which I doubt.  But seriously, where the eff did this “flaming rag” come from?  And was it just floating there (by magical means perhaps), waiting for Morgan to enter the room?  I really hope not, because that’s just ludicrous…though this is a story dealing with supernatural stuff, so I guess the whole thing’s ludicrous.

Chapter Two
May 6
6:15 AM
Tatum opened her eyes as the sunlight streamed into her room.  She was excited about today.  They were starting the segment on the Salem Witch Hunt in History class.  Tatum had been looking forward to it all year. 
In real life, I was excited whenever we would learn about the Salem Witch Hunt, too, until I had to play the part of Reverend Hale when my class acted out The Crucible.  I told my teacher I didn’t want to act, and she said she’d give me a small part.  I guess by small she meant the second largest male part in the entire play.  Thanks a lot, Mrs. P.
Tatum walked down the hall into her brother Adam’s room.  She woke him up and went back to her and Leslie’s room to shower and get dressed.  Leslie was already awake and in the kitchen, eating. 
After she was done, Tatum went into the living room of her family’s middle class apartment.  (I don’t really know why I felt the need to specify that the apartment was “middle class.”  I’ve never lived in an apartment, so I don’t even know what a “middle class” apartment would be like.)  Her mom’s suitcases were by the door.  (Conveniently, Tatum’s mom is going out of town just when everything’s about to go down.  Hmm, that’s suspicious.  At least her dad’s staying in town to protect his children.) 
“Okay Tatum,” said her mom as she walked into the room.  “I’m ready to go. And remember, your dad will be really busy for work so don’t bother him.”  She rolled up her sleeves halfway and went into the kitchen.  (I find the whole “sleeve rolling” phrase to be very bizarre.  Why is she rolling her sleeves up halfway?  Why not just wear a t-shirt?  Also, I don’t think I ever establish why Tatum’s mom is going out of town.  Maybe she’s having an affair?  Or, better yet, maybe she’s working with/is the killer?  Maybe it’s some combination of the two, and this whole plot is an elaborate attempt to murder her family so she can start a new life with her lover?)
That’s when her dad walked into the room, talking into his cell phone.  “No! No, I can’t come to New York! My wife will be out of town and there’s no one to watch the kids.  I don’t care how important he is.”  There was a pause.  “Fine. Fine, I’ll be there.”  (Man, Mr. Tatum’s Dad gives in pretty easily.  Perhaps he’s having an affair, and the argument was just an act?  Maybe he and his wife are working together to eliminate their children?  If his wife is planning to have him killed, I bet she’s pretty pissed right about now.)  He hung up the phone.  He looked at Tatum.  “Tatum, sweetie, I have to go out of town.  There’s a very important client I have to go see.  I’ll ask Mrs. Wyatt to come stay with you.” 
Tatum couldn’t believe what he was saying.  “But Dad, I’m old enough to stay home alone, and so are Leslie and Adam.  We’re not babies anymore,” she said, going on and on and on.  (I don’t think my parents left me home alone overnight until I was 18 or so…I have no idea if they were just being overprotective of if they were being practical [which wasn’t really an issue because I never did anything to worry them growing up].  Still, I’d be concerned about leaving a 16 year old and her younger siblings home alone all weekend in my middle class apartment.)
“Okay,” said her dad, but Tatum went on.  “Okay Tatum, I trust you,” he said, finally silencing her.  (Apparently, Tatum’s dad is not so concerned with her well-being, just about shutting her up.  I don’t really blame him.)
“Aaaagggghhhhh! Thank you daddy, thank you! You won’t regret this, I promise,” she said, hugging him.  He hoped he wouldn’t, but somehow knew he would. 
I would too, considering Tatum almost died of excitement.  Why are the parents in my story so irresponsible?  He might as well buy the alcohol for her…though there ends up being no party in this story as a result of a serial killer stalking Tatum and her friends.  Also, this is the last we hear of Tatum’s parents, meaning that once everything starts to go down she apparently never calls to tell them or they just don’t care enough to come home.
Leslie walked over to her friends, Sarah and Mara.  They were sitting in the courtyard in the front of the school, with someone Leslie didn’t recognize.  (I love this abrupt shift from Leslie’s middle class apartment to the courtyard at school; it makes me feel like Leslie teleported to school.  She didn' far as we know.)  “Hey girl,” said Mara, waving.  Leslie came over and sat down.  (The “Hey girl” makes me cringe).
“Hey,” said Sarah.  “Have you met Jordan? She’s new.” 
Jordan smiled and said “Hi.” 
“Hi,” said Leslie, not really wanting to.  (Man, Leslie’s kind of a jerk…I like that because it means she actually has a little bit of a personality.  Tatum does too, though hers is sort of annoying already.)  She looked around. “Where’s Morgan,” she said. 
“Omigosh!” said Mara. “Haven’t you heard?!? Morgan is missing.  Her mom and dad came home this morning and she was gone. All that was left a burnt rag.”  (Whoa, Mara, you’re a little too excited about your friend being missing and possibly dead.  Maybe you’re the killer?  Also, there were seriously no other signs that Morgan had been burned alive?  The stalker must be very efficient…though he/she did leave the burnt rag behind, which was a misstep).  There was one thing Leslie didn’t like about Mara.  Mara loved to get her hands on a juicy piece of gossip, no matter who it was about, even if it was about her own friends.  (I was just thinking the same thing, which brings me to another question:  why, exactly, are you friends with Mara in the first place, Leslie?)  She beamed with excitement.
“Mara, you know what?” said Leslie.  “Morgan could be dead!  Don’t you even care?” she said.  Mara looked shocked.  Leslie knew exactly what she was thinking.  How dare she speak back to me? was what Mara was thinking.  Leslie stormed off without looking at her.  (I’m sort of impressed with Leslie for standing up to her friend, and she is currently my favorite character.  Because of this, I know she’s doomed.)
Leslie was almost to the door when Jordan ran up behind her.  “Hey!” she said. 
“What? Did Mara send you,” Leslie snapped. 
I think Leslie has some anger issues…maybe she’ll turn out to be the killer?  That might actually be interesting, if it turns out that Leslie is some reincarnated witch who has untold powers beneath her angry demeanor.  Maybe she doesn’t even know about them and/or can’t control them, like Carrie White or something?  That would be sort of cool, if not slightly plagiarized, which means it’s not going to happen.  Not because it would be a mild case of plagiarism, but because it would actually be somewhat interesting, and that wasn’t my style.
“No, no,” said Jordan.  “I think what she did was totally uncalled for. I mean, she’d supposed to be Morgan’s friend, right?”  (Wow, these characters seem to exhibit slightly more intelligence than the protagonists of my last story.  I’m impressed with my young self.) 
Leslie nodded her head.  “Finally, someone who agrees with me,” she said.  She looked at Jordan.  “Hey, where are you headed next?” she asked.  “Um…. History,” she said, looking at her schedule.  “Hey, me too,” said Leslie.  “We better get going, today we start the segment on the Salem Witch Hunt.”  (Do you ever notice that on television shows and movies, all the main characters seem to have class together?  Well, that happens all the time in this story, rather unrealistically.)
            So this concludes our first entry in “Salem.”  At this point, I’m going to give some of the characters the benefit of the doubt and assume that they’re not total morons.  Sadly, others have already failed miserably at getting me to actually care about their fates (I’m looking at you, Tatum).
            Next time:  Suspicions arise about Jordan, Adam saves his classmates from a mysterious fire (after nearly killing them and himself), we learn of plot to cover-up Morgan’s murder, and another character dies.  Sadly, it’s not Tatum.  I really don't know why all of my lead characters are so annoying (remember Faith everyone?).

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Retrospective on "The Babysitter"

So, we're finished with "The Babysitter," and I have to say I'm kind of sad about that.  Since it is, at the time of this writing, my earliest surviving story (I'm still hoping to find some of my older ones, which even more fantastically awful), I thought it would be a good story to begin with, but now I'm sorry to be finished with it.  Despite its (many, many) flaws, the story holds a certain amount of nostalgia for me.

I began writing "The Babysitter" when I was in seventh grade.  As a young aspiring author, I'd been writing for many years, but due to what I've not self-diagnosed as juvenile arthritis (now it's pretty obvious that have arthritis, and it does run in my family, so I feel pretty confident that I had it) my hand often hurt too badly to write for a long stretch of time.  Though we'd had a computer for several years before seventh grade, I never used it with any kind frequency until the day we got a new computer.  Because I was so enthralled with the computer, I used it as often as I could, and one day I got the idea to start typing my stories on it.  It was a match made in Heaven, as my hands could withstand typing for much longer than when I physically wrote the stories, and I was bound by the amount of paper I had, either.  So, this was the beginning of my major writing phase.

Although "The Babysitter" was one of the earliest stories I ever typed, it was not the first.  Before that, I wrote a couple of sequels to "I Know What You Did Last Summer."  For some reason I decided it would be a good idea to delete the stories off the computer after I printed them, so these are sadly among the ones that are now lost.  However, by the time I started "The Babysitter" I had the common sense to keep the files on the computer.  Unfortunately, typing my stories on the computer is also the reason "The Babysitter" got messed up toward the end; I opened the file one day, and there was an error message...and then most of the ending was gone.  To this day I still don't know what happened, but thankfully this was the only story that happened with.

After I had finished "The Babysitter," I was so impressed with it that I showed everyone I could.  While most people just humored me and told me how "good" it was, my dad was the only one who actually told me the truth.  He said that it was good for my age, but that I couldn't get it published (I actually thought it was close to being publisher ready).  At the time I just thought he was wrong, but now I see he was trying to mentally prepare me for the day I realized that it would take a lot of work before I could become a published author.

After I had exhausted nearly every parent, sibling, and every other relative, I moved on to people from church.  I'm choosing to blame my youth on this, because back then I really had no qualms about showing the Baptist members of my church a story about a demon who, with the help of stolen souls, a sketchy cult, and child sacrifices, tried to summon Satan into the mortal world.  Yeah, I really thought they would find it amusing.  To be fair, I obviously wasn't writing stories of this nature because I hoped they happened or something; if I really was the freak that this story portrayed me to be (to the members or my church at least), I wouldn't have had Faith come out on top in the end.  However, these facts didn't sway the minds of the church members.  While they never said anything to my face, their faces as they read the story (especially when they got to the Lily-pinned-to-the-wall part) said it all:  in their eyes, I was seriously disturbed.  None of them complimented the story in any way other than to say, "It's not what I expected," which is actually not a compliment at all.

For a long time people at church probably wondered what sort of sinister thoughts were brewing underneath my non-sinister exterior, but eventually they forgot about it...or at least the pretended to.  No one ever mentioned the story again, and I never brought another to church.  If they disliked "The Babysitter," I knew they wouldn't like stories involving people being burned alive, hungry demons, and trios of homicidal maniacs (I've written stories on all of these subjects).  I think that I ultimately made the right decision.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dial "C" for "Cults"

Chapter Eight
December 5th
2:54 AM
            The phone rang.  It startled Faith because she had been worried ever since that suspicios phone call.  She even made the girls lock their door.  But the phone that rang was her cell phone.  "Hello," said Faith as she answered the phone.  It was her mom.  "Faith, I've got bad news. There are more sleep victims."  "Who are they," asked Faith. although she already knew who it was:  Salem.  (Okay, so River and Salem are already in the hospital, and Faith’s mom is just now calling her?  Way to responsible…not.  Also, how does Faith know Salem is one of the victims?  I think it was supposed to be because Faith thinks the demon is cutting through her friends, but it’s foolish to assume that it wouldn’t target other people connected to her.) 
"There are four."  Faith wasn't ready for this.  (Not surprising.)  "They are Salem Michaels, Lauren Anderson, Colby James, and, and,"  (I don’t know why Faith’s mom feels the need to say their last names.  These are all people Faith knows.) her mom couldn't finish because she started to cry.  "River, isn't it," said Faith.  "Yes," said her mom through tears.
Alright Mrs. Faith’s Mom, I have a bone to pick with you.  Your son has been attacked, as have several of your daughters friends, and you thinks it’s okay to leave your teenage daughter at a strangers house with only two small, annoying children as company?  What kind of mother are you?  Clearly not a very good one.
Faith felt a pit in her stomach.  (I think I used the wrong expression here.  I’m not sure what I meant.)  She felt that again when the phone went dead.  "Mom? Mom! Mom are you there?!," she said.  She put the cell phone down.  The regular phone rang.  "Hello, mom?," she said.  "You wish it was your mom, don't you?," said an evil voice.  (Yeah, I was definitely, umm, let’s just say “inspired” by the Scream movies.  Does this remind anyone else of the scene where Casey a.k.a. Drew Barrymore gets those threatening phones calls and is subsequently murdered?  Yeah, there’s a reason for that.) 
Faithwas terrified.  "Who is this?," said Faith.  (Do you really have to ask?  Ugh.)  "Guess." "This is a demon, a domon on a mission who is putting my friends in everlasting sleep!" 
"You got one right.  You soul is strong and smart!," said the demon  (Are you sure we're talking about Faith's soul?  Did you perchance dial the wrong number, demon?).  "What do you mean?," asked Faith.  "I knew your soul would be too strong to controll so I pocessed Colby to kill you," he said.  (Then why did you, after Colby failed to kill Faith, just stop trying?  More importantly, why did you target the friends of one of the few souls that were useless to you?  Even more importantly, seriously, we're talking about Faith's soul here?)
"But that didn't work," said Faith.  "So," said the demon,"I decided to take your friends souls for the ritual."  "what ritual?," asked Faith.  "I'll will make my sacrifices, then release the souls in the place of evil.  If I release the souls anywhere else, they will be free to go back to their bodies."  (This demon is being pretty damn specific about what’s going on.  Why doesn’t he just give her the address of where this ritual is happening?  It seems the inanity epidemic in the town does not exclude demonic creatures.)
"What does the ritual do," asked Faith.  "Well," said the demon,"It summons the prince of darkness himself.  By the way, I'm surprised that you haven't asked who the sacrifices are yet. They're so cute, sitting here in their room, sleeping so soundly. They ahve no idea that they are living their last hours on this earth."  (You. Effing. Idiot.  Why would you tell her that?  Why are you even calling her?  Hang up the freaking phone!) 
Oh my gosh, thought Faith.  (A completely appropriate thought considering the severity of the circumstances.) The girls.  "You better leave them alone!," said Faith.  No answer.  Faith ran upstairs.  The girls door was locked.  Faith remembered that this was her doing.  Stupid!, she thought.  "Let me in!," she said.  (So the door is locked from the inside?  What babysitter would do that?  But this is Faith we’re talking about, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.)
First Faith heard the girls scream, then she saw the door break into pieces as the demon shattered through it.  Faith was knocked to the ground.  She quickly pushed the rubble of the door off and chased the demon.  It smashed through a window and flew away with the girls.  I have to save them, thought Faith. 
This scene is ripped-off from a scene from Hocus Pocus, the movie about the three witches played by Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy.  I’m referring to the scene where the witches kidnap Dani, a precociously young Thora Birch, from the attic bedroom of her home and bust through the ceiling.  I didn’t want to completely rip off the writers of this movie, so I had the demon smashing through a window instead of the roof.  Still, I’m pretty sure I’d be sued if this was ever published.  Then again, I'd also be living in a bizarro world where painfully awful stories find publishers, so who knows what the laws would be there?
December 5th
3:07 AM
            Faith took the keys to the Andrews' car after she left them a note.  (What note could possibly convey what just happened?  I don’t think, “Sorry, your children have been kidnapped by a demon who wants to murder them, but don’t worry.  I’m dealing with it.  Also, the demon can fly, but no worries; I have a car, and so I think I’ll be fine.  My car can’t fly, but whatever.  See you soon!  Love, Faith” is going to cut it.)  She saw some rubble that had fallen off the demon heading north, but Faith wasn't headed that way.  She was going to a cult.  (Since not only is every cult easy to find and infiltrate, but all of them worship and/or are associated with child-murdering, soul-stealing demons.)

            She got to the cult's hideout at about  3:30 AM.  She went to the door and, seeing that there was no guard, she walked in.  About hÜ¥e_#À  And this is where the story gets really, really messed up for three and a half pages, and a lot happens.  Well, not really.  Basically, Faith, clearly a seasoned detective, finds the cult, gets them to tell her where this demon is headed (since remember, every cult in the history of cults is connected to this demon), and arrives at the murder site, which is an old cabin the woods where several murders have taken place in the past.  Then, the story goes on repeat itself, literally; nearly everything before the second chapter appears.  I won’t bore you a second time.
The action picks up in the cabin after Faith has killed the demon, released her friends’ souls, and rescued the children.  When she released the souls, her friends appeared magically, wound-free.  Also, the cabin has inexplicably started to collapse.  If I gave a reason for this, which I doubt, it’s been lost.

"What are we waiting for! Let's go!," said River.  They ran out of the cabin.  As they made their way out, the cabin started to crumble.  Lauren and Salem were almost hit with a large piece of wood.  But everyone made it out safely.  (That sucks.  I was really hoping they would all die.  Except maybe for Lily, who needs to find some new, non-stupid friends, though I’m guessing that would be pretty hard in this town.)  When they made it out of the cabin, it was swallowed into the earth.  (This seems to indicate that something supernatural was happening.  But, it’s likely that there is no logical explanation for the cabin being “swallowed by the earth.”) 
After they stood there for a while (marveling at the fact that there’s hope for the imbeciles of the world after all), they started to tell each other their stories.  (Because the remains of a cabin in the woods where Satan was almost summoned is the perfect place for that.)  After they were done Faith said this: "I better be getting a hefty bonus from you parents, Maryn and Drew. (since, you know, I let you get kidnapped after locking myself out of your room.”)

January 10th
6:35 PM
            Faith put on her jacket.  She was going to see a movie with the whole group:Lily, Kris, Salem, Colby, and even Lauren, who she was beginning to like.  She was even taking River with her.  She was babysitting Maryn and Drew tomorrow and was planning to take them to putt putt golf.  (Either Faith didn’t tell the Andrews the whole story, or they’re taking up the mantle of worst parents ever from Faith’s mom.) 
Ever since the incident last month, she was being kinder to everyone. (Because nothing makes you appreciate your loved ones like being stalked by a vicious demon.)  Her and Colby's relationship was doing much better (and, unsurprisingly, we’ll never learn why River thought Faith didn’t really like Colby), she was being nicer to her brother, making friends with new people(Lauren) (I guess Faith forgot that not only has she known Lauren for years, negating any sort of “new” status, but also the fact that they used to be friends) and even enjoying babysitting Maryn and Drew.  Of course that wasn't hard anymore, since they now worshiped the ground she walked on.  (Way to take advantage of your incompetence, Faith.  I’m not sure if I’m outraged or impressed.)  Faith was also seeing a lot more horror movies now, but she couldn't figure out why.  (This is supposed to by my joking, light-hearted way of ending the story, which is completely realistic.  Only, instead of watching horror movies more frequently, one would likely need a lifetime of therapy to recover from such a traumatic experience.  Close enough, though.)

            So, there you have it:  “The Babysitter”.  I really have no words.  Before reading this again to write my comments, I had forgotten how stupid everyone in it is, including the demon.  None of the characters are actually based on real people (at least I really, really hope not) except for River, who was supposed to be an older version of myself (I must have really thought poorly of myself back then).  Even if they were, I would never, ever tell anyone.

This is all we get for “The Babysitter.”  I know, it’s pretty disappointing.  Why kind of ending is that?  I wish my original ending hadn’t gotten ruined because it was much more entertaining.  That doesn’t mean it was good, but the fight scene between Faith and the demon was classic.  The whole cabin in the woods/near sacrifice/demon slayage/earthquake sequence was amazingly appalling and full of impossibilities, but we’ll never be able to read it.  Sigh…

Next time:  a shortish entry about my thoughts and experiences writing “The Babysitter,” which will hopefully be published later today or tomorrow.  Then, we’ll dive into our next story, the compelling drama “Salem.”  People are tortured, drowned, and burned alive in this one, and believe me, they deserve it.  Some of them would even give Faith and Kris a run for their money in the idiot department.

Things That are Here and Then Gone - Free Blogger Templates, Free Wordpress Themes - by Templates para novo blogger HD TV Watch Shows Online. Unblock through myspace proxy unblock, Songs by Christian Guitar Chords