Welcome back to a story that should have ended before it ever began. I’m referring to a story I composed 12 years ago in my early teens when I had a very tenuous understanding of college life and love. The tale in question revolves around a group of four friends at a photography school in California: Lila, ringleader of the pack with an apparent attraction for annoying science teachers; Samus, the side-kick named after a female Nintendo heroine who manages to overreact about any innuendo; Benny, who’s special ability is to make his dreads spontaneously grow; and Taylor, winner of the most confusing arguments on the planet. The science teacher in question, Mr. McFadden, is still rather mysterious (although kind of dumb, too). Let’s see what else we can discover about the object of everyone’s obsession…
Two moons rising. Extreme caution being her only ally, she studied the scene. Long, moderatly thick pieces of grass sprout from under her feet. Tall, coniferous trees bunched together as if being held by a rubber band are off to Lila’s right. […I suppose I didn’t understand tense…] No. Not two moons; a moon and a star, maybe even a planet. [So far this is the beginning of a wonderful, trippy filibuster…] A window of silver light, almost in the form of grey scale blanketed the mysterious surrounding. A light fog drifted in, shielding the front of the woods. It was noisless except for the piano music that seemed to come from the forest, and the deep humming of the violin which grew in volume as each breeze passed. [So, it’s not noiseless at all…] The song ended slow and sad leaving her curious.
She flipped over and slapped the snooze button on her alarm clock when the piercing sound roused her from her dream. She wearilly read the red digits on the screen; 6:30. She checked the end of the bed for the stalwart cat. [Has the cat been knighted?] He stood hunched over a bowl of food, chomping hungrally by the kitchen door. [“Fear not, fair maiden! I will dispose of this wretched food and clear a path of safety for you in no time!]
Taylor had already been up; the fragrance of garlic was filling the room. [Taylor emits the pungent odor whenever she awakens or is cornered, like some sort of skunk.] Lila pushed herself out of bed, and opened the window for some fresh air. A crisp autumn smell, commen in Reymont in many forms; the evergreen sent shook the sleepiness from Lila. [First of all, what kind of a sentence was that? Second of all, they’re practically in Long Beach, California where I’m sure autumn doesn’t smell very autumnal.] Taylor stepped into the room with bright cheery smile. Angelo, noticing her enter, fled to the window sill and lay silently observing the birds. [The cat can’t stand the garlic smell either.]
“You slept in, later than usual so I made breakfast for you. It’s nothing too fancy; just an omlet.” She said, handing her the steaming plate. [Slept in? It’s only 6:30! Also; is there a hot plate in the dorm room?]
“I had a really strange dream,” she accepted the plate and set it on the bedside table. Angelo, who had smelled breakfast, cautiously stepped toward the food. His pupils widened making his golden eyes a thin rim around the black as coal centers. His nose twitched as he stared intensly, hoping to strike fear into the tasty morsals. [Seriously?] Spying Lila, who was changing into some blue-flared pants, Angelo nabbed a small piece of linguisa stepped back and wolfed it down. [Meanwhile, Taylor watched like a dolt and did nothing.] Checking Lila’s position again he stepped forward to repeat the pattern. But Lila was returning and he moved to the window unseen. [Since when did the story become about the cat?]
“…And you’re sure you’ve got second period off so you can check on Angelo?” she asked, picking up the plate. [It is about the cat! What’s going on?]
“I told you, I’ll check on him,” she said already knowing that Angelo needed a pill for his heart problems. [What?] “What class do you have first?”
“Biology.” She said quickly brushing her teeth and spitting out the peppermint flavored foam. Taylor shooed Angelo away as he made another attempt for the plate.
“You’re so lucky. I’d do anything to have Mr. M first.” Taylor pouted, moving the plate to the left a little more. [Oh no. Not again.] Angelo stared up at her and meowed in discontent. “Oh poo to you,” she whispered to the cat. Angelo drew a long deep growl and returned to the window, eyeing her indefinitely. Taylor glared back, knowing he was having a hissy-fit. [Pun fully intended, I’m sure. Urk.] “Unfortunately, I’ve got some Western Humanities notes to type.”
“What’s wrong with him?” Lila questioned, slipping on her shoes.
“He wanted your food.”
“Oh, he should know better…” She started eating the now cool eggs when a clock beeped in the other room, signalling the time to be 6:45. [Last thing I knew, clocks don’t beep at 6:45.]
“Oh crap. See you for lunch; kay?” she slung her book bag over her shoulder. [I really didn’t understand punctuation.]
“Okay. Bye, Ang, be a good boy.” She ordered. The cat was too disobedient to be expected to follow her request. She was hoping it would sink in anyhow. [She really should just give up hope.] She hurried down the hall and merged with the flow of students. She pushed her way into the Science lab in room 23. [For some reason, I was under the delusion that the classrooms, dorm rooms, pool, and EVERYTHING else where in one giant building.] Immediately, she noticed the blinds hanging in front of the window, blocking the wave of sun from spilling into the classroom. Samus entered behind her and only seemed to notice for a second before he remarked, “Now he’s trying to impress ya.” [BY PUTTING UP BLINDS? What the hell is wrong with you, Samus?! Take notes, kids. That’s how you’ll impress the ladies. Install a pair of blinds.]
Lila rolled her eyes and sat dejectedly in the desk next to him.
“I’m not the only one he’s trying to impress.” she said, pointing to the watch on Mr. McFadden’s wrist. [Uuugh…]
“Charming. Just charming.” he muttered, pulling out his book and pencil. Sliding it out, he found the picture of him, Lila, and Ross sticking out. He stared at it carefully, noting each person and detail. A silver flash seemed to happen in his head as he focused on Ross. [Oh my word…]
“Ross, where are you going?” he had asked as he caught up with him later after school.
“Maybe down to the point just to get a look at the moon and have a couple of candy bars.” Ross answered as he walked down the cement sidewalk. […Look at the moon…and eat candy bars. How romantic.]
“Look at the moon? We’ve got a week before graduation. Why not go to Lila’s house and chill?”
“I want to leave the celebration for next week.” he said, obviously distracted. Samus slowed and Ross passed him.
“Okay. I’ll see you tomorrow then.” Ross said nothing and kept walking.
Fast forward to later that night. [No, this isn’t a movie. You can’t do that!] A snapshot of Ross in a pool of his own blood. The moon full, beaming down on him and a whisper echoing the word of “follow…follow…” The image got hazy and clouded. “Follow…follow…follow–” […the yellow brick road?]
“Sam?” Lila’s voice shattered his thoughts. He breathed deeply and put his hand to his forehead which was burning up. [Well, at least now we know his fever is the reason for that weird silver flash in his memories.]
“You okay?” she asked, concerned. He nodded his head and at the same time stuffed the picture back into his binder.
Class wizzed by like cars on a freeway. Samus’ head pounded, the lesson confused and bored him. The extreme flashback had brought sickness to him, making him feel ill mentally and physically. It seemed every time he was caught up, the group was ten paces ahead. [He wasn’t caught up then!] Just like yesterday. He rubbed the back of his neck and stared with a tired expression on his face at Mr. McFadden.
“We’ve got 20 minutes left. Let’s take out a clean page and get a start on cloud forms.” [WHAT? Isn’t this BIOLOGY?] The teacher glanced at his watch. [Now that I can tell time…] Samus let out a huge sigh and eyed the clock wearily. ’20 more minutes.’ he thought. Mr. McFadden moved to the board and began to write.
“The first of basic cloud forms is the cumulus. The kind associated with sun, usually it is caused by uneven…” he froze in place, the chalk dust floated unseen in the air. [Why do we care about the INVISIBLE chalk dust?] There wasn’t a fraction of movement; almost a look of horror on his face from some imaginary scene [He’s finally realized that cloud forms have absolutely NOTHING to do with biology.]
Madaline tapped her foot on the floor repetitively and stared at her watch.
“Mr. McFadden?” he remained motionless but his head turned a little. “Mr. McFadden!” The spell broken, he turned to face his bewildered class.
“Sorry. I…uh…lost my train of thought. I’ve got a lot on my mind.” He shook his head and turned back to the board. Lila made a mental note of his odd behavior and resumed her work, keeping a close eye on him and Samus, who had displayed the same behavior a half an hour prior. [IT’S AN EPIDEMIC! EVERYONE GET TO THE CHOPPA WHILE YOU STILL CAN!]
Samus, in his own notebook, noted something else.
And so ends chapter 5. A few more horror-like things are beginning to happen. Lila’s cat is a knight with an appetite for cured meat which is probably the cause of his “heart problems”, Samus is having crazy “silver-flash” memories of “lives by the sword” Ross and his death, and dress-to-impress Mr. McFadden is having his own weird vegging-out moment. He also thinks clouds are biological organisms. The crazy train has sailed, ladies and gentlemen. Find out where it disembarks next time on Horror-FAIL Friday.