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.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Car Accidents and Mysteriously Placed Trees

Chapter Seven
December 5th
12:30 AM
            "Do you see that?," asked Lauren.  They had just gotten back from visiting Faith at the Andrews' house, where she and Salem told Faith all about their relationship.  (For some reason, I have a problem when babysitters’ friends visit them while babysitting.  That just bugs me.)  Faith also told them what she had been hiding.  She thought that Colby had been possesed.  Lauren was having trouble believeing that, and so was Salem.  (Which is unsurprising.  I wonder what Faith expected them to think?)
"What is that," Salem said.  There was a person in the middle of the road, and something was lying at his feet.  (In case this isn’t blatantly obvious, the car that River saw before being soul-sucked was Salem’s, and the person in the road and the “something” at his feet are actually the demon and River.  Just wanted to clear that up.)  When they got closer, they saw that it was actually River lying at someone's feet, they same someone who was carving some tthing in his back with a knife.  The carvings weren't very deep.
Okay, seriously, how are Salem and Lauren supposed to know the carvings aren’t deep?  Did they get out of the car and investigate River’s back while the demon just stood to the side, waiting for them to finish?  And, why did I feel the need to establish the fact that the cuts weren’t deep?  I think I felt the need to show my readers that I wasn’t some sort of sadistic creep.  Apparently, I forgot the parts of the story involving impaled boyfriends and teenage girls pinned to walls with knives.
  "Oh my gosh! That's River!," said Lauren.  The attacker turned around and they saw his face.  It was demon.  Suddenly everything made sense.  The pocessed Colby story, the lasting sleep, the dead guy in Kris's garden, and the strange markings.  (I don’t see how seeing someone with an apparently demonic face clears everything up.  How do Salem and Lauren know that this person isn’t just a serial killer who likes to wear masks or has some sort of developmental defect?  This doesn’t clear up anything, but rather creates more questions.)  It didn't make perfect sense, but it was clearer then it had been.  (Obviously, my young self was thinking the same thing, but instead of deleting the last couple of sentences, I just wrote another.  That makes perfect sense.)
The demon walked  toward them after throwing River to the side of the road and jumped to the roof of their car.  It stuck it's foot through, hitting Lauren in the head.  "Ouch!," she said.  (This is supposed to create a feeling of suspense, not be unintentionally funny.  Sadly, it fails.)  Salem sped away, knocking the demon to the road again.  "What was that?," asked Lauren.  "How should I know!," Salem yelled.  (For people who everything made sense to a few seconds ago, you don’t seem to know anything remotely useful.  Clearly, you thought it was a demon, but now you’re not so sure I guess.) "Where are we going?,"  "To the hospital," (As opposed to oh, I don’t know, the POLICE STATION maybe!!!  You people should all be slaughtered.)
            About ten minutes later Lauren noticed the demon was following them.  It was flying very fast and it caught up to them.  It flew around the car, which caused Salem to stop suddenly.  Since he wasn't wearing his seatbelt, he went through the windshieild.  (This is the biggest plot contrivance in the history of plot contrivances.  Why would Salem not want to hit the demon with his car?  It’s trying to steal your soul and cut symbols into your back!  You should hit it with your car!  Instead, you’re lying on the road, merciless.  Serves you right, Salem.  Let’s hope Lauren’s smarter than you.)
The demon went to him as Lauren climbed into the driver's seat.  The demon opened a box.  Lauren saw a bright light leave Salem.  Lauren drove around them and started to the hospital.  (Hit the freaking demon!  Kill it!)  She knew the demon wasn't following her becauseit still had to make the marks on Salem's back.  (Since Lauren is fully familiar with the demon’s modus operandi by now.)
            When she was almost to the hospital, Lauren looked back to see if the demon was following her, she didn't sse the tree next to the road, which was next to the hospital.  (Just the lone tree on the curb.  To clarify, I did imagine it this way when I wrote this, since I pictured the hospital in a city area, and I pictured a single tree on the corner of an intersection.  Since, you know, that happens all the time.)  She looked and saw it just in time to put the brakes on but, but since she didn't have anti lock brakes, she crashed into the tree anyways.  (To be fair, I’m still not sure of the difference between anti-lock and non-anti-lock brakes when it comes to bad weather.  Not that I mentioned that there was bad weather.  I always pictured there being ice on the road from the freezing rain I didn’t mention earlier.  Apparently, I expected my readers to be mind-readers as well.)  The last thing she remembered were bright red flashing lights.
December 5th
1:21  AM
            Maryn came downstairs, followed by Drew.  "Were are mommy and daddy?," Maryn asked Faith.  "They said they would be home real late, but that they would wake you when they got home," she said.  (This is completely unrealistic.  At least I think it is.  Do parents actually wake their kids up when they get home late?)  She took them upstairs to their bedroom.  "Good night," she said as she turned off the light.  Suddenly the phone rang.  "I'll get it," said Drew.  "No! I'll do it," said Faith.  Drew got to the phone in the room next door first.  (So, Drew climbed out of her bed and sprinted to the phone before Faith could get there?  Is Drew on some sort of steroid or something?  She’s five.) 
"Hello?," she said.  There was a brief silence once Faith came into the room.  "No," said Drew," my mommy and daddy aren't home."  (On the other hand, this would totally happen.  I always told people who called when my parents weren’t home.)  Faith froze.  When she regained controll of her body, she lunged toward the phone.  (Wait, is Faith possessed?  Or are her reflexes just the worst ever?  I’m going with the latter.)  "He hung up," said Drew.  Faith wondered who that was.  (You seemed pretty sure that it was the attacker calling when you lunged yourself at the phone, Faith.  What’s with all these characters second-guessing themselves?  Oh, that’s right, THEY’RE COMPLETE IDIOTS!  I keep forgetting this story isn’t populated by normal people.)
December 5th
2:00 AM
            Lauren opened her eyes.  She was in a hospital bed.  She had badages on her head and on her arm.  Her nose ached.  "Salem, River!," she said out loud.  "They've already been found," someone said.  (Okay, that’s creepy.  What was this person just doing sitting in here, watching Lauren sleep?  That’s weird.)
For the first time Lauren noticed that someone else in the room with her.  She sat up and saw it was a nurse.  "They have?" saked Lauren.  "Yes," said the nurse.  "Are they in the lasting sleep?"  The nurse just nodded.  "I know how it happened," said Lauren.  The nurse jumped up.  "Did you see who did it?," she asked Lauren.  "Yes," said Lauren,"it was a demon.  The demon opens a box which sucks out, well I think, the victims soul, then it makes the markings on their backs."  (How in the world does Lauren even suspect that this mysterious box sucks out souls?  It’s one thing to experience the process and feel the soul being sucked out, like River, Salem, Lily, and Kris, but it’s quite another to just see a bright light and think, “hmm, that looks like a soul.  Or at least what I think a soul looks like, seeing as no one in the universe has ever actually seen one,” which is probably what Lauren thought to herself.)
The nurse just looked at her.  "Oh, dear," she ssaid," You must have hit your head harder then I thought."  (Which exactly the right reaction to this sort of outburst.)
"I didn't hit my head! Well, I did, but I'm fine now!  (Way to eliminate what little credibility you still had left, Lauren.) Why is there even a nurse in here.  I don't need one," said Lauren angerly.  "I'm not here for you," said the nurse, pointing to a patient.  Lauren saw that her room mate was Colby.  (I thought Colby was Kris’s roommate.  I guess the staff at this hospital has figured out that it’s better to keep patients who can’t have visitors out of the rooms of patients who can.  They have not, however, figured out that they should not room men and women together.)  "Colby!,"  said Lauren.  "I'm going to get a doctor for your head," said the nurse.
            As she started to walk out of the room the demon came in.  It cut the nurses throat and in 3 swift movements made a mark on her face before she fell to the ground.  (That was sudden and unexpected, which was not the way I did things back in the day.  Usually, one had to endure a lot of heavy-handed foreshadowing before such a thing happened.  I was probably getting bored with this story.) "Aagggggghhhh!," screamed Lauren as the demon knocked her into the corner. 
It went to Colby.  "Help me Lauren! Help-aaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!," he said as the demon opened a box and sucked out his soul.  Lauren got to her feet.  She ran out of the room while the demon made the marks on Colby's back.  (So the demon turned Colby around, exposed his back, and begin cutting symbols into it before Lauren left the room.  Way to eff your hope of escape, Lauren.  Also, why did the demon kill the nurse but take Colby’s soul?  Does the demon of some sort of soul-screening process?  Perhaps its victims have be complete and utter morons…but he did take the soul of arguably the smartest person in town, Lily, so who knows?)  Lauren ran down the hallway.  The demon didn't waste anytime with the markings because in the next minute it was chasing Lauren.  "Help! Someone please help me!," she said.  She ran into a room with about 4 people in it.  Lauren saw that these people were the lasting sleep victims: Kris, Lily, River and Salem.  (Well, isn’t that convenient?)  Lauren closed the door.  The demon banged on it, but Lauren wasn't afraid because she locked it.  (Oh come on!  There’s a demon with supernatural ability after you!  It can fly for God’s sake!  What makes you think a locked door’s gonna keep it out?)  But she should have been afraid.  The demon knocked the door over.  It landed on Lauren and pinned her to ground.  The demon oped the box and sucked out Lauren's soul.  Then it pushed the door off of her and started to make the markings.

Okay, so that’s it for this entry.  This story is almost over, which means there will be just one more entry.  Does Faith stop the demon (considering her lack of intelligence, it’s unlikely)?  Does the demon steal anymore souls?  Why does the demon even need the souls?  More importantly, of all the idiots in this town, why is the demon stalking a bunch of teenagers who do things like examine mysterious corpses, climb onto roofs instead of jumping to relative safety, and avoid running down said demon with a car before crashing into a single tree on the side of the road?  Actually, I think I just answered my own question:  because these people are incredibly easy targets.  This town doesn’t stand a chance.

Next time:  Faith earns the title of Worst Babysitter Ever (as if she hasn’t already), the demon enacts its evil plan, and we’ll learn just how easy it is to locate a Satan-worshiping cult.
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