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?).

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