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.


  1. Voodoo dolls were definitely all the rage with the Puritans. Kudos to you for doing the research! Also, isn't it obvious how the fire at the school started? I have two words for you: FLAMING RAG.

    I'm actually surprised I can comment on this at all, as someone I'm related to was killed by a rock a century ago. (No, really. A rock to the head can kill. Beware, Jordan!)

  2. Umm...sorry about the rock incident. Now I realize how lucky Jordan was, but back then I didn't really think of a rock as being a real potential weapon.

    As for the voodoo doll, I'm pretty sure I stole this from "The Crucible." I have no idea how accurate this is, but at least I didn't just make it up...unlike the flaming rag, on which I can blame no one but myself.

  3. Man, voodoo dolls were all kinds of awesome in the 90s--I even had a toy one.


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