Author: schillingklaus PM
On All Souls' Day, Dustin Brooks has to confront the looming shadows of deceased former PCA students, but he needs the spiritual support of Nevel Papperman.Rated: Fiction T - English - Spiritual/Horror - Words: 19,456 - Published: 10-19-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8622610
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The story occurs in the identified universe of a huge variety of current or past live action shows produced for Nickelodeon channel, including, but not restricted to, Victorious, Zoey 101, The iCarly Show, Drake & Josh, How To Rock, Big Time Rush, Unfabulous, Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide, True Jackson VP, Supah Ninjas, House Of Anubis, Just Jordan,Bucket & Skinner's Epic Adventures, … and makes heavy use of a variety of members of their casts.
There are no hard prerequisites for reading this stories but knowledge of the main characters and storylines as found e.g. in the Wikipedia pages of the most important Nickelodeon Shows of the past decade, especially the works of Dan Schneider.
The story takes off after the end of the canon of Zoey 101, Drake & Josh, Unfabulous, Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide, and True Jackson VP.
The iCarly Show is considered as closing with the end of season two, considering any later season and some part of season two, as identified in the footnotes where relevants, as nightmares of various main characters. Same goes for seasons four of Zoey 101 and Drake & Josh.
The second part of Zoey 101: The Curse Of PCA is understood as a nightmare of Zoey Brooks.
The canon of Bigtime Rush and Victorious are considered wholly as a nightmare of one of the characters.
But all those dreams are based on people and setting really known to the characters of the story, in one way or the other.
Summary: All souls' day of Dustin's senior year is approaching, and he is confronted more and more confronted with the looming shadows of deceased former students at Pacific Coast Academy. He needs some strong spiritual support in order to handle the situation. The key seems to be his uncanny room mate Nevel Papperman. How does Dustin face and survive this experience?
Pairings include Dustin Brooks / Stella Rivera, Zoey Brooks / Jerry Crony, Nevel Papperman / Megan Parker, Ashley Blake / Beck Oliver.
The story is written for LiveJournal-Community Tamingthemuse, prompt All Souls' Day and LiveJournal-Community 10 Iloveyou, prompt Moon.
The story is influenced by Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven.
The story is influenced by Aleister Crowley's The Pentagram.
The story is influenced by Fenando António Nogueira Pessoa's Iniciação.
Chapter 1 Falling
Hello, my name is Brooks … Dustin Brooks.
Years ago, I studied as a senior at Pacific Coast Academy, the most illustrious boarding school of California … ever, located not far from the gates of the megalopolis of Los Angeles, and thus not far from the world's centre of dreams and illusions: Hollywood. I had been a pupil here already as a second grader, and this meant that I should have been pretty much familiar with everything on our campus. Indeed, I had thought that this had been the case, but this was about turning out as a mistake.
The days were already on the decline, and the shadows were growing longer. Although the falls here in coastal southern Californian were still comfortably warm, the uncanny feeling of growing darkness and cold were felt here, too, at least deep inside.
In particular, All Souls' Day was once more around the corner. Usually, kids were having a lot of fun on Halloween at our school. But this year, it was a bit different. Yet none of us was able to know that when October was coming to an end, and most of us looked forward to Halloween, and thereafter Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Dean Rivers had announced to give a little speach in order to honour deceased former Pacific Coast Academy students, because it was now twenty five years since the founder of Pacific Coast Academy had died.
This did not mean that any of us here ay Pacific Coast Academy really believed in stuff like purgatory and all the other fairy tales spread by campus priest Father MacCurdy[1:1] and his friends.
I at least was more worried about life after high school than life after death. My parents were living in London in Great Britain, and they would have liked me to follow them after my graduation, but I hated truly the English weather and English kitchen.
My room mate Nevel Amadeus Papperman, on the other hand, was of a different opinion. For him, the beginning of November was of a mysteriously dark significance. I had not tried to understand him, as he was scary indeed, and I had hated him before he even came to Pacific Coast Academyabout three years ago. This was the case because he had flamed my favourite Web Show, icarly dot com, beyond any reason, and foulmouth its cast. I am going to talk about this web show later on. Nevel loved talking about the impending end of times as we knew it, about curses, dark omens, and similar stuff. I tried not to believe his particular sermons, but I was unable to avoid being scared by the mere possibility of curses and omens. Nevel was able to play the piano and the recorder. There was no piano in our dormitory roome, 148 Maxwell Hall, but sometimes, he was allowed to use one standing in the aula. His favourite tunes were requiems, derived from some Latin word meaning "rest". But, for all ends an purposes, his performance of those tunes caused a lot of disquiet and mental restlessness inside me.
I did not understand the reason for the impact of his music on my mind, and I tried to ignore it, although this was horribly hard.
Fortunately, Nevel was not my one and only room mate. There was also Jack Ross,[1:2] and we had shared our dormitory room for ten years already.
Another of my closest friends was Robert Carmichael alias Scooter,[1:3] Unfortunately, he was a bit too much scared by many things.
OK, I was not immune to uncanny stories, either.
Once upon a time, I had watched some terribly inappropriate Japanese horror movie[1:4] with Logan Reese, Chase Matthews, and Michael Barret. Those were pals of my elder sister Zoey, who was four years my senior. In that illegal film, I had seen a bunch of ninjas in a frenzy, stabbing everything in their way to death with chop sticks.
But even then I had recovered very fast from my shock.
Alas, Zoey had once told me a story that scared the living hell out of me, and this had been a repreated nightmare she had started dreaming like six years ago.
Everything had started because her evil teacher for business studies, a certain Hodgens,[1:5] had been particularly mean to his class. Logan and Michael had heard of rumours that the same teacher had already scared one pupil to death, a certain Charles R. Galloway. This incident dated, according to rumours, to the time before the war of Vietnam. Logan, the spoiled son of an excessively wealthy Hollywood producer, had gathered his pals for a field trip to the place that had been rumoured to be the tomb of said lost pupil. Zoey Brooks wa in the excursion, but against better judgment. They had even found the tomb, but returned emptyhanded. Logan would have loved to grab a locket from the belongings of the poor victim, but Zoey and the rest of the gang had deemed this blasphemous and impious. Ever since, Zoey had started dreaming the same crap, over and over and over again:
This was of course very scary, and it made us rush back as fast as possible, neglecting our care.
I, for example, stumbled and almost broke my ankle, whatever, it hurt badly. Fortunately, Chase was there for me, and he carrioed me back to the campus.
But by no means were we safe there. The green tornado followed us everywhere, and Quinn's technology failed miserably.
The monstrous phenomenon turned out as the ghost of Charles Galloway, and he had followed us angrily because Logan had stolen the amulet from the tomb.
Returning the amulet to the tomb finally helped, beguiling the angry spirit. He even helped us scare Hodgens away, postponing an important written test.
Aforementioned Quinn Pensky was Zoey's room mate, a geeky girl from Seattle who believed that science was able to solve everything, or so at least she did until her graduation from Pacific Coast Academy, and I had not come to see her ever since, just like the rest of Zoey's pals. And I was not aware of any still existing contact between Zoey and her high school pals.
For better or worse, I did not see Zoey very often either. On the one hand, I missed her badly, on the other hand, she had often enough been much more protective of me than I had been able to bear.
This was not the only dream about a medallion Zoey had had during the last six years. There had been another one in which she had been gifted such a thing by one James Garrett, a tall blond rake whom she had dated in that dream. James's description matched with that of one Dennifer, a guy I had seen once on this campus.[1:6] Zoey had not really known him.
Strangely, I had seen the same guy, Dennifer, once in my aforementioned favourite web show. Carly seemed to have some sort of a crush on him, but nothing seems to have come out of this. But his name was Jake Crendle. His appearance in Zoey's dream had certainly not been an accident. But what was it supposed to tell me?
Of course, Zoey had not told me about those scary dreams all voluntarily and immediately. Rather, I had heard her talking about it in her sleep, and then I had started being curious. And that's what I got for it. Curiosity is said to have killed the cat, right?
1.2 Nevel's Practice
I would have tried hard to forget, but I was not able to, especially not with this year special edition of the annual fall prep rally, which was closely tied to the aforementioned celebrations for the memory of the founder of our school.
We students were of course supposed to contribute to the pep rally, but how?
I woke up next morning, not because of an alert clock, but because of Nevel's recorder.
My room mate was practising for the performance of the Requiem at the impending celebrations. Of course, he had already practised the same music over and over, but now he had got an official reason for doing so, and the school's administration would certainly have considered it inappropriate to object against his practice, even in ere the rise of sun.
At the same time, I was still not aware of my contribution for the rally.
Nevel continued, "I can't perform the Requiem all alone. If I play the piano, I need at least some strings and woodwinds, but no lower quality scums." He panted heavily, expressing his despair.
I suggested, "hasn't Ashley[1:7] got a friend playing the oboe? I have heard that is an instrument …"
Nevel shrugged. "Yeah, it certainly is one of the most versatile woodwinds … ever! I have heard about it, but Ashley is so …"
Ashley Blake was one of our class mates, and she was a totally arrogant Hollywood diva. She had been a child star and harvested lots of praise during the last decade. But due to her emerging pubescence, she had no longer been able to go for typical chuild star rôles, and she was not willing to go for minor tasks, and thus she had slipped into some sort of a crisis. She was now struggling to stay in the business, with whatever means. Her popularity among the kids was still great, though.
As a tween boy, I had watched all of her movies in a totally addicted manner. Her arrival at Pacific Coast Academy for the first time had made my heart stand still for several hours, and Jack had to reanimate me. Fortunately, Zoey had not come to hear about it. But she had been totally aloof from the very first moment, and this had almost broken my heart. She had become even worse the day her elder brother Vince, former quarterback of our football team, got expelled for bullying and cheating. She had sworn to make Chase Matthews, who had caught the jock in flagrante delicto and denounced him to the teachers, pay dearly for his utterly ruthless treason.
I feared that someone able to be her friend was not a really pleasant person, wither. And, of course, asking the diva for a favour was a very daring enterprise, she would probably expect some recompensation for it, such as massaging her feet and cleaning the space between her toes. But I was tired of Nevel's bad mood, and so I decided to go through it. In addition, I needed instructions for the pep rally.
1.3 Ashley's Request
Ashley Blake and her friend Wendy Gellar[1:8] were sitting in the lounge of the high school girls when I entered the same, still feeling uneasy.
Wendy's presence made everything even worse. Seven years ago, I had got a crush on her, but she only laughed about me in the most insane manner when she had found out.
The two of them were apparently talking about the impending rally, so I decided to interrupt. "I don't know what to do for this event. Also, Nevel needs a decent oboe player for his requiem."
Wendy giggled. "Sure … you have never been very original."
I sighed deeply. Even as a senior, almost four years after Zoey's graduation, I was still known as nothing but her little brother. This way, I had of course not been able to hold a candle to Drake Parker, the idol of idols.
Drake was a former teenage rock star, now already almost in the middle of his twenties, on whom Wendy had had some totally insane crush back then, the huge age difference not withstanding.
Ashley announced that she was going to perform a little play about Halloween fever. "But I need a male co-actor."
I shook my head. "Sorry, I can't really act. May I clean the space between your toes instead?"
The little diva glared at me. "I know that you suck in acting, and even if you did not …" She choked. "Wendy alreaady cares for my feet. OK, bring me Beck Oliver on a silver platter, and I will tell Megan to show up. This will also count as your contribution to the pep rally." I wondered, "who is Megan?"
Wendy answered, "Megan Parker is the little sister of Drake Parker, and apparently a good oboe player."
So, I was essentially trying to get Drake parker's sister perform at the all souls' day celebrations.
I grinned, but this was not going to last for long. "Er … Beck Oliver … that Beck Oliver?"
Ashley confirmed this, saying in her ice cold manner, "yes, that one, and no other!"
I sighed deeply.
Beck Oliver was a Hollywood young actor who had just won his first Oscar at the age of eighteen. He had graduated last summer from Hollywood School For The Professional Performance Arts, a prep school specialised for training actors, dancers, singers, producers, and other Hollywood stars.
So, my task was no less than getting an Oscar winner to perform at our pep rally … really easy, right? Hell no!
Lola, aforementioned pal of Zoey, was an acknowledged Hollywood starlet as well. I was nbot sure whether she would have been of any help here, as Zoey and Lola had stopped being friends by the end of their high school time, after almost four tears as best friends and room mates.
The reason for this had been Lola's ongoing dishonesty, especially inone particular point.
Chase Matthews had had a stuborn crush on my sister when Lola was new here. The Hollywood star had been annoyed by Chase's impossibility of fessing up to her, and by Zoey's blindness towards Chase's obvious feelings.
For that reason, Lola had started dating Chase in order to provoke her room mate's jealousy.[1:9] She was very good at that, because she had been practising so much. Dating Chase had also served her totally well as a practice for scenes in the likeness of The Beauty And The Beast. Zoey had been obviously jealous, but she had been too vain to admit to this. After a few days, Lola and Chase had given up, because it did not feel right. You just don't use a girl's best friend in order to make her jealous, do you?
For better or worse, Lola had got an elder sister named Rebecca.[1:10]
Rebecca Martinez is now sort of a supermodel and bodybuilder, or so I believe, as she is regularly seen in commercials for sportswear for young women. She had also tried to become an actress, but failed miserably. Whatever, she had been perfectly suited — so at least in Lola's opinion — for the purpose of feigning to be Chase's girlfriend, for the one and only purpose of provoking my sister's jealousy. Reebecca had gone out of her way by threatening her with violent actions, should she have ever dared to come too close to Chase. The latter latter feigned having broken up with Rebecca for that reason, making himself look like a hero.
Zoey had been thoroughly impressed, but she had still not been jealous, quite the contrary, she had confirmed clearly that she would never be anything but a close friend to Chase.
Chase had refused to pay Rebecca the due price, which would have been a play that would have made her absolutely famous, because the busty Latina had messed it all up. Chase was a gifted playright and screen writer.
But Rebecca had gone angry and sworn to wreak havoc again.
Zoey had not come to hear about Chase's awkward deal with Rebecca, arranged by Lola, until the wake of senior prom.
And who had made the whole thing blow up? That had been no other than my cherished class mate Ashley Blake. She had set up Rebecca for Vince, a really appropriate couple with all whistles and bells, and used the right moment in order to destroy Chase's almost marriage with my sister, with just a few weeks left until the scheduled wedding day.
Ashley had told Zoey, first in an anonymous letter and then from face to face, about the dirty deal between Rebecca and Chase.
Thereupon, my sister was done for good with the bushy dweeb. She had skipped senior prom completely and ran away weeping. Not only her engagement with Chase had been broken by these revelations, but also her confidence in and friendship with Lola and Quinn who had arranged and supported the whole farce involving Chase and Rebecca.
I had not heard about her troubles for a few days when she had been found and taken to the infirmary by Stacey Dillsen, the least popular girl of Zoey's class, lying almost dead in the trench. This was pretty similar to the rumoured destiny of Charles Galloway, I had to admit. So … had my sister been cursed? Was she still cursed? Really, Ashley had just brought on the inevitable, for sooner or later, Zoey would have heard about the unjustifiable plan of her friends, and the marriage would have failed sooner or later, no matter what. But it had probaly been the worst possible moment.
Ashley's ice cold face always reminded me of those dark days, making it much harder for me to even start to try to fulfill her insanely tough request.
So, where was I going to start?
1.4 Newtown High
Currently, Beck Oliver was a member of the cast of popular young adult soap opera Newtown High,[1:11] a popular production by Malcolm Reese,[1:12] the father of Logan.
Of course he was earning gazillions of bucks and probably all time busy.
I wondered whether talking to Logan would have made sense, but this was not necessarily the case. Even Zoey had broken up her contact with Logan after graduating from Pacific Coast Academy, and she was no longer aware of the coxcomb's current whereabouts.
According to my knowledge, the dandy had been preparing for a career as a male supermodel. If he had already succeeded, he would have been travelling the world and the seven seas all the time for new expositions. Logan was also supposed to share his life with female supermodel Dakota North,[1:13] an arrogant lass that had even been expelled from Canada for her rudeness. OK, there was no doubt left that Logan deserved a wife like Dakota, but this did not help me any further.
I wondered what the play to be performed by Ashley was about.
Wendy had told me that it was some dark drama about the dead rising from the tombs.
Ashley was going to be one of those reanimated corpses, and Beck would have to play the male counterpart.
There was also supposed to be some death metal music. And that was definitely the kind of sound that was able to scare me into the next millennium. The music would probably come from a tape, or so we hoped.
The play had been written by one Jade West, Hollywood's most promising screenwriter for dark romance. She bore some tattoo on her right arm, depicting a five tipped star. Some people believed in this as the sign of Satan, but, according to Nevel, the situation was a whole lot more complicated. He knew a lot about five pointed stars, and he talked my ears off about them. Regardless of what it was, Jade's tattoo was not leaving me with an easy feeling.
According to some Alphonse Louis Constant, better known as Éliphas Lévy, the upward pointing pentagram — that is how Nevel called that star — represents the superiority of the spirit over matter, whereas the downward pentagram was evil, the domination of the elements of matter over the spirit, or — as Nevel also called it — quintessence.[1:14]
Medieval monks had sometimes interpreted the pentagram as a symbol for the wounds of Jesus, also known as stigmata.
For Aleister Crowly,[1:15] somme creep that scared the living hell out of me, the downward pentagram had been the symbol of the descent of the spirit into matter.
The ancient Pythagorean orders had considered the same figure with the same orientation as a sign of health and balance.
The most scary one was the interpretation as the Seal Of Solomon, a ring with which that ancient king of Jerusalem conjured and controlled demons he used — according to Nevel — for the construction of the temple of Zion. Nevel had found it in some old book named Testament Of Solomon.
OK, there wear apparently all those, and many more for me to mention here, interpretation of the symbol, with or without taking care of its orientation. Already this huge variety scared me. This uneasy feeling multiplied with the approach of Halloween and All Souls's Day.
What if the orientation really made a difference, and Jade West moved her arm up and down, changing the possition of the star over and over?
In Lola's aforementioned nightmare, Jade and Beck had been a couple living in filthy concubinacy. It was hardly possible to imagine any more foul and disgusting pairing than the two of them. But what if the dream had not been quite as unreal as assumed?
I was too timid to intervene on my own.
Hey, one of the screenw4 riters of Newtown High was a certain Fletcher St. Troy,[1:16] a former adviser of the drama club of our school. He was nowadays working in a similar position at Pacific Bluff High in San Diego county.
I had come to hear about it last year, when our academic bowl team, of which I was still a member, got busted by theirs. OK, being defeated in a contest is something that happens. But what was really embarrassing that my team of four clever guys and girls, including even Nevel, got buted y just one middle school girl. Her name was Piper Peckinpaw, and she was a fury, but an intelligent one, if that makes any sense …
It seemed that I had to do the bite and ask my rival, Piper Peckinpaw, for help in order to contact St. Troy, and I better did it as fast as only possible. At least Nevel was going to be with me there, as he thought of Piper as cool … for whatever reason.
1.5 Piper Peckinpaw
The next morning, I woke up ere the rise of sun due to some uncanny voices heard from outside the dormitory hall.
A cold shower rushed down my spine. I wondered, "is this Piper Peckinpaw? A restless avenger spirit? Will she torment us as Charles Galloway had done in Zoey's dream? Idid not take away any of her lokets or other accessories … honestly! Why did I have to tell her where we live?"
Nevel seemed to have read my thoughts, and he woke up, remarking, "hey! Piper is a nice girl!"
I glared aghast.
Finally, Piper stood in our room, although the door was shut, and it was thus not possible to open it from the outside without a key or a special magnetic card.
The windows had been closed, two.
Piper Peckinpaw grinned. "Hey, guys, you dared to ask a favour?"
I stammered, "how … did you make it hereto?"
Piper whistled innocently. "Oh, I know certain secrets here …"
I had been living on the campus for a decade and not come to know any secret about the dormitory rooms.
Piper continued, "In turn, you have to invite me to your Halloween party."
I had apparently not got any othe choice. But I imagined that Piper's presence at our Halloween party was inevitably leading to a more uncanny night than ever encountered here on the campus. The middle school girl was more fear inspiring than a pack of ninjas with chop sticks.
"Anyways, how has the girl achieved making all the way from Pacific Bluff to Malibu at that early time of the day?" I shuddered upon this thought.
Nevel was not really afraid. "OK, Piper, where is your drama teacher … Fletcher St. Troy?"
Piper grinned. "He has already contacted Dale Squires,[1:17] the director of Newtown High."
I calmed down a bit, as the first step had been done. But now Piper was certainly going to hunt me all over the universe in my nightmares.
But was Fletcher really able to talk Beck Oliver into showing up as Ashley Blake's partner in her Halloween short movie?
1.6 Megan Parker
A few hours later, Ashley Blake and Wendy Gellar informed me that Megan Parker was on her way to Pacific Coast Academy.
Apparently, Ashley was content with my efforts to get Beck to show up, although there was little to do for me until Fletcher St. Troy and Dale Squires had contacted him.
Nevel was already excited to encounter finally the best teenage solo oboe ever.
Wendy took us to the campus fountain where they were all appointed.
And there she was: Megan Parker from San Diego, the alleged star of the classic orchestra. But … hey! Why did she look so much like Carly Shay, the host of my favourite web show?
Nevel was evem consternated. "Carly Shay? I told you to rue the day, until the age of dystopia!"[1:18]
Megan chuckled. "I an not Carly, that is my evil cousin."
I choked. "You call Carly evil?" But my words appeared to fall like silent flakes of snow in the Canadian tundra.
Megan picked her oboe. "Does Carly play this?"
Nevel shook his head. "She hads got an extremely poor taste for music."
I poked my room mate.
Megan also looked at Robbie Carmichael. It turned out that their homes were just separated by a small street in uptown San Diego.
Nevel growled at Robbie, "why have you never told me that you have got a neighbour girl like this?"
Robbie stammered, "then I would have had to eveil that I was a neighbour of Drake Parker. And then his fangirls would not have left me any longer in peace."
That certainly made a lot of sense.
Megan continued, "OK, Nevel, I liked it how you talked about the age of dystopia." She grinned. "We should work together a bit more and spread the message of doom and gloom."
Nevel blushed a deep shade of flaming crimson.
Quinn Pensky had once upon a time had a nightmare of a girl in the likeness of Carly Shay named Paige Howard.[1:19] That lass had won the science fair and then made it to Pacific Coast Academy in order to demonstrate her powerful invention. Quinn had felt humiliated by Paige's superior intelligence. The invention had almost made the school blow up.
Fortunately, this had been nothing but a dream, because Carly Shay was definitely not a science freak, and she would not have made anyone feel inferior.
But in the case of Megan, this was a bit different. But it would turn out that even Megan was not such a science geek girl. Blowing up the whole campus, on the other hand … Her voice gave me totally the creeps, and the fact that she enjoyed Nevel's style was definitely not going to leave me without an uncanny feeling.
After all, the dream had just been a dream. Nobody wanted to blow up our campus, right? Paige Howard was not real, and there was no restless spirit out there with the goal of destroying us for having disturbed the eternal rest of some former student at Pacific Coast Academy.
Megan continued, glaring at Nevel. Then shea leaned in to kiss him on the cheeks. "This was a kiss on your cheek, but one more kiss I'm going to seek."[1:20]
Nevel shivered, but then he kissed Megan back. On the one hand, these actions had occurred in some silent corner on the campus of Pacific Coast Academy, and thus hardly been noticed by anyone. On the other hand, they felt like having caused a shockwave roaming the campus, making many students sense an awe-inspiring feeling.
Scared into the next millennium, I started shivering.
Nevel and Megan walked away, but the uncanny vibes did not wane, at least not yet.
1.7 Josh Nichols
Megan had not made the whole way from San Diego to Malibu on her own, but was accompanied by her evi step brother Joshuah Nichols, a bigheaded and uncomely dweeb that had just obtained his degree of a master in science at Caltech. Josh had been a student teacher here during the last years, at least on and off, and he had never been very successful at explaining things to us.
Later I would come to hear that Piper had also come here with Josh and Megan. More precisely, the smart beast had snuck into the cargo space of Josh's car.
But for the time being, I was not aware of a connection between Piper and Megan beyond the point that both of them were living in San Diego county, making a vague mutual familiarity not quite implausible. But the connection would turn out as somewhat deeper. Already thinking about such a thing would have scared me to death.
Joshuah Nichols was thus also the step brother of young adult rock legend Drake Parker, and, even more, he was the manager of his band, at least on and off.
This reminded me of the necessity of looking for a band for my senior prom. There were several options, but some of them were very costly.
Eight years ago, Drake had already given a concert here at Pacific Coast Academy.[1:21] This had been all Zoey's idea. His manager had requested five thousand bucks. This was more than we had been able to afford, even after some fund raising activities. But fortunately, Zoey was an extraordinarily gifted fashion designer, and she had designed shirts with a logo for Drake's band. The star had accepted this design as a payment for the concert.
Unfortunately, I had not been able to attend the concert, at least not in a way allowing me to listen to Drake's rocking performance. The reason for that was that I had served Quinn Pensky as a test rabbit for her research about sleep deprivation. The geek girl had kept me awake for several days straight. Finally, I had got a class pal to destroy the device used by Quinn in order to control me. This had made me fall asleep on site, for over a day straight, missing thusly out on the brilliant five thousand buck concert.
This had been the case at the beginning of Drake's career. The coxcomb of San Diego had been discovered by Devin Malone of Zero Gravity.[1:22] when he had replaced his injured idol at a concert. But too many years have passed by ever since, and five thousand bucks would just make him laugh. On the other hand, we kids were not much richer than we used to be back then. So, even if I had been able to persuade my sister into making once more some new and brilliant outfit for Drake's band, there was not a snowflake's chance in hell for hiring Drake for the prom concert. But sinking our hopes was not easy.
An advantage was now the fact that we had apparently got some good connections and were definitely able to negotiate early enough.
1.8 Beck Oliver
I had expected some more significant problems obstructing our attempts of hiring Oscar awarded Beck Oliver for our fall pep play, but, to my surprise, the superstar had agreed pretty fast.
But was Beck or his agent going to require a high price, such as Drake Parker? It was hardly imaginable that a star of that category, even one less than twenty years old, would show up for peanuts. Nevertheless, Beck did not require any money.
So far Beck had not showed up on our campus. But today, he was showing up in order to take a look at the script for the play. He knew the author, Jade West, very well, but Lola's fears, as expressed by her aforementioned dream, had been exaggerated. Beck was by no means surprised by the dark theme of the play. "Well, it is for Halloween's week, and dark and scary themes are at the very heart of Halloween, aren't they?"
Nobody here denied this.
There had never been a pep rally so close to Halloween during my entire life at Pacific Coast Academy, as home coming days were usually already scheduled for the first week of October. But there had been some sort of a tradition of Halloween plays, nevertheless.
Each year, high school freshman organised a special Halloween event, a guide through a spooky mansion. Seven years ago, it had been the turn of Zoey and her friends. Logan Reese had taken over the direction of the horror trip for us elementary school kids.[1:23] The haunted hall was of course chock full of all those Halloween things like fake bats, fake spiders, fake ghosts, and so on. Zoey had felt that Logan had exaggerated, and she had sabotaged his haunted house by causing Logan to run away screaming from his own horror mansion. Ever since, the haunted house had turned into some semi-improvised play about ghosts and vampires.
There had been rumours that Logan had prepared a fully featured horror movie, for which we younger kids had been scheduled as involuntary, unpaid, and unaware background actors. He had wanted to take pictures of our screaming and pale faces. I had always wondered why Lola had not been around that day, and the reason was probably the one that she had been hiding in the mansion, dressed as a most spooky monster and awaiting our passage. But Zoey's plan had made the guide through the spooky house to an end before Lola's big number.
This time, there was a little amateur film team involved in our Halloween play. It was directed by Stephenie King,[1:24] the master of low bugdget thrillers. It was hard for me to believe that she was only twenty years old, not withstanding her vast experience and proficiency as a director of short movies.
So, everything appeared set for the fall pep rally, and, even better, at very low cost.
But Nevel warned me. "I sense that the price for us to pay will be high … very high indeed! And this has nothing to do with dollars."
What, pray tell, was my room mate alluding to? He seemed not to trust Beck Oliver, but he did not tell me why.
For my feeling, he was a nice star, certainly a bit of a diva like everyone successful at Hollywood, but less grumpy then Ashley.
Nevel shook his head. "You do not sense the bad vibes, but I do. Beck Oliver is a pernicious curse to us."
I started trembling. "A curse? Like … that of Zoey's dream about Charles R. Galloway?"
Nevel had never heard Zoey talking about it, but he claimed anyways, "at least that much. Verily, the wild hunt is near, and many will not recede from their worldly existence in serenity, but in terror and despair."
I hoped that my roomie was exaggerating, but what if he was not?
Chapter 2 Fall Pep
2.1 The Alumni
Many visitors had come for this homecoming week.
I had hoped until the veru last moment that Zoey was one of them, as she would have been very helpful for convincing Drake to reduce the price for a performance of his band at our prom night.
But my dear sister was too busy. Yet she told me not to stay up too long during Halloween night, as this was supposed to be bad for my mental health.
Nevel assumed that Zoey was scared. "The nightmare is sitting deep in her bones and her marrow, and it pulses through her veins."
I replied, "Zoey is not easily scared!" Unfortunately, I was scared when ever Nevel talked like this.
Nevel panted heavily. "She would not want you to know about her fears, as she cares too much about you and does not want you to get worried as well. And you can't deny that Zoey's fears would trouble you."
OK, that made a lot of sense. She had always tried hard to insulate me from her own problems, with more or less success.
Of course, my sister was not going to stay away from this fall pep and homecoming without an official reason. She had applied at several law schools, and she was preparing for tests and interviews.
I would have preferred if Zoey had followed her natural inclination and become a fashion designer. She was so infinitely gifted, as already seen when she had created the fashionable outfits for the band of Drake Parker. And one of her greatest achievements had been the design of a backpack, chock full of very interesting ornations. Unfortunately, there are many enviars, and one of them had plaguarised Zoey's backpacks and made money of them.[2:1] The girl who had commintted this most abominable misdeed had been expelled upon Zoey's demand.
Granted, Zoey was supercool when defending me and other kids in conflict with the authorities and the school administration. But all lawyers I hgad ever seen on TV were stiff creeps with no sense for humour. This was definitely not how I had ever imagined my cool sister, and I was sure that she would not like it either.
This reminded me of Spencer Shay, the elder brother of aforementioned Carly Shay, the former host of my favourite web show until leaving home for college. This fellow had been at law school, but only for three days. Carly never told us viewers why he had receded from there, but apparently because he was too human for being a shark.
I wondered whether a few former members of Zoey's gang were about to show up.
None of them had informed me beforehand, as even Zoey had lost any contact with them.
There were rumours that Logan Reese was here, just because his father Malcolm was up to attending as well.
But I guessed that the dandy par excellence was not going to skip a party with many hot girls for an event attended primarily by a bunch of boring and uncomely old freaks.
Malcolm's presence was of course anticipated ethusiastically by Ashley Blake, who was pushing hard to make it into one of his movies, and this was of course best achieved when he watched our fall play.
Each play needed a stage and requisites of some sort.
Robbie Carmichael had been originally in charge with taking care of those, but he was too scared by Ashley's skeletal costume to even think about touching and carrying any of these things.
Stella Rivera,[2:2] another of the seniors, had taken over part of the job. "But I still need a stuffed black Raven."
I shuddered profoundly. "Aren't black ravens some totally bad omen?"
Nevel nodded. "Generally yes, but it all depends on whether you can handle it or not." For him, it was probably easy to handle.
I remarked, "I bet Jade had deliberately inserted the raven in order to scare us kids even more … as if the skulls were not already enough.
Nevel panted heavily. "Oh Jade … but it is close to Halloween, and none of these are unusual for this time of the year when the portals between the world of the dead and the live fling open for a moment …" Needless to say, his words did not do anything to make me feel more at ease.
So, where was Stella supposed to get a black raven from?
Six years ago, I had started liking Stella when she had still been new at Pacific Coast Academy, but all this had cooled down a bit during the following years. But I cwertainly did not want to let her hand. "Maybe in the … requisite storage?" I had been there once with Lola. The storage of our drama club was fairly small, nothing like that of Hollywood School For The Professional Performance Arts.
But Stella had already checked there. "Unfortunately not …"
"Oh, maybe the store at Hollywood School For The Professional Performance Arts has got something like that? After all, Jade West, the author of the play, graduated from there justa few months ago." I had never been at their requisite storage, but it sounded fairly promising.
Stella panted heavily. "And we may simply go there ands grab what we need?"
I banged my head against the wall. "Hardly …"
Stella sighed deeply. "Still thanks a lotr for trying … maybe we need to build one from clay or so."
I nodded solemnly. "Or let Beck Oliver fetch one from there, as he had also graduated from said school."
Stella giggled. "That sounds cool!"
2.3 The Black Raven
Beck had asked Sikowitz, a teacher at Hollywood School For The Professional Performance Arts that appeared to be in charge with their requisite storage during the following year.
Unfortunately, our request had been in vain. Sikiwitz reported the absence of any black raven in the storage. "There isn't even a white, red, green, pink, orange, or silver raven that you could dye black, either!"
Well, I had not expected this to work, anyways, as I had never seen a raven, be it live or stuffed, that was not black.
Stella sighed, and she concluded that we would have to make our own raven … pitch black!"
I nodded solemnly. "Too bad I am not all that good in wood shop, at least not good enough to carve a wooden bird, at least none looking very authentic."
Stella sobbed. "Hey, our new woodshop teacher, Stacey or so …"
Stacey Dillsen had been a student at Pacific Coast Academy of the same grade as Zoey. She was characterise by some excessively penetrant lispy voice. She had obtained an associate in carpentry from Seattle Vocational College For Construction Trades. Now she was teaching wood shop from time to time, not as a full time job, though.
I grinned. "That sounds like a great idea. We will go and ask her immediately."
Nevel started talking stories about the secret symbolic meanings of the black raven, mention ing especially a poem by some Edgar Allan Poe.
I had hitherto not heard about that poem, but the poet certainly rang a bell. In literature classes, I had once read a short storyt by the same guy, Telltale Heart. It was about a murderer admitting to his deed because his halluciantion of hearing the sounds of the still beating heart of his victim had driven him crazy.
Needless to say, my expectations of that poem about the uncanny black winged creature were not much better.
2.4 Clay And Black Polyresin
I was not a student in Stacey's classes, but she recognised me from my middle school time. She had never been friends with Zoey's ang and had been really treated like dirt by them, especially by Logan Reese and by Lola Martinez.
Zoey had not actively hurt her feelings, but she had made fun of her behind her back and never discouraged her friends from treating Stacey like crap and junk.
The lisping lady warned us not to touch the power tools in the wood shop. "The chain saw is really pernicious. Its former owner, Dusty Chopsaw, clains that it has got a soul on its own, a pitch black one."[2:3]
I wondered about the name, Dusty Chopsaw. "Is that really a name?"
Admittedly, it must have sounded strange to assume that a saw had got morals on its own. Usually, you would think that a tool may be used for good and evil purposes, but this is left up to its user, and not to the tool as such.
But — a cursed too or not — chain saws were supposed to be dangerous if not handled correctly, and Zoey would never have allowed me to use one, evil or not. Thus I naturally stayed away from the tool.
Robbie Carmichael had once got a treehouse at home in San Diego, and Stacey had recently built him one on the campus to enjoy his lanst months at Pacific Coast Academy in. "The chain saw is evil." He started tremblend from head to toe. "I have seen it in action."
Strangely, Stacey was able to handle that special saw very well, although she was usually extremely prone to accidents. But she did not want anyone else to use it.
What if the saw had really got a soul on its own? Was it going to turn alive and come after all of us at Halloween?
I was scared and pressed myself tightly against Stella's shoulders.
She was apparently not quite unaffected by the possibility of an evil chainsaw hunting us down and cutting us all into smithereens.
In philosophy classes, I had heard about pre-classic Greek philosophers known as the hylozoists, people who assigned some autonomous life to all things matterial, up to the cosmos as a whole, such as Thales and Anaximenes. But I doubt they had thought about a men eating chain saw. Had there even been somethiong like power tools back then, or had everything been operated by horses and slaves?
This chain saw was not the one and only weird tool in Stacey's wood shop. She was particularly proud of a device known as Wheel Of Swinging Hammers.
I had seen such a thing in some early session of Carly's web show.[2:4]
Stacey nodded when she heard me mention this, "I have purchased this from Spencer, her elder brother."
Spencer Shay had created this device and operated it in one session of the web show. While the wheel had been spinning merrily, one of the hammers attached to its periphery slipped off its hook and was flung across the attic, missing Carly narrowly. The hammer was now probably still stuck in the wall. Spencer was probably too lazy to repair things.
Needless to say, I was not looking forward to getting hit by a flying hammer.
So, what material was the black raven going to be made of?
I had supposed that Stacey would suggest the usage of cotton swabs, but she did noy have any black swabs.
Stacey also thought of carving one from ebony wood. But after thinking a bit, she considered clay to be easiest, although it needed to be burnt. The next suitable oven was in the nearby Malibu Community Centre. As for the black colour, she deemed black polyresin the best. "OK, consider it done by wednesday!"
This would be just in time for the play.
2.5 The Shark Of Yakima
I walked through the hall where many alumni of good old times had already gathered.
Many of them were excessively keen on the school administration's decision of honouring departed former students with a memorial celebration on All Souls' Day.
Father MacCurdy, the fattest priest alive on the whole globe,[2:5] would talk a few worlds about the deceased. I had heard about him on Carly's wonderful web show. The cast had tried hard to beat the record for the longest uninterrupted web show session, and a power failure had ruined everything during the last minutes. Those rules were so terribly unfair. Carly, Fredward, and Samantha had so totally deserved being in JONAS Book Of Records after all the efforts they had made for the title.
Well, they had made it to the book of records, anyways, as Spencer had made a sculpture that happened to break one of the previous record, and he let the kids help him just in order to get them listed as well.
Oops, I have not yet talked about Freddie and Samantha.
Fredward Benson was the technical producer of the web show, while Sam was the co-moderator.
OK, I should say a bit more about Samantha Puckett, videlicet: I had once upon a time been dating her, and that was the hitherto hugest mistake in my life. Sam had been a student at Pacific Coast Academy for a few days only.[2:6] As a part of a state project, Samantha and her monozygotic twin sister Melanie had been sent to our school because of their horrible family, about which I don't really like to talk. Melanie had taken her chances, while Samantha alias Trisha Kirby had flunked it badly.
Zoey had been totally opposed to my relationship with Trisha alias Sam, but I had refused to listen. And then the mean lass had dumped me for Chase Matthews, because he was older and more experienced. Chase had been sucked involuntarily into the whole crap, he had never liked Trisha, as my sister had been the only girl that counted in his life by then. Zoey had been awfully jealous, although she did not admit to it. But I know my sister too well. Trisha had lost her interest in Chase when she figured that he was nothong but a dweeb, and not how she had supposed a real teenage boy to be. Then I had refused to take Trisha back, as I had got my pride and my dignity as well. And I had ever since regretted badly to have refused to listen to my sister's honest warnings in the very first place, just in order to sound more cool.
Nevel hated her even more. "She has totally perverted and corrupted Carly, she is plain evil."
I thought that he went too far, but I guessed that Zoey would gladly agree with my room comrade.
While Sam had been booted pretty fast from this campus due to my sister's rigorous intervention, Melanie had stayed at Pacific Coast Academy until graduating, and she had been a cheerio girl and homecoming queen both as a junior and a senior.
OK, I had tried hard to forget about Sam's evilness while watching the web show and to concentrate on the dumb comedy. According to Nevel, it was no comedy at all and just plain dumb, but I did not share his sight of the show at all.
Besides Father MacCurdy, I also encountered another important person, old Mr. Shay, the grandfather of Carly and Spencer.[2:7] This was an extremely experienced lawyer, or, as I called them, a shark. He was the culprit for Spencer going to law school in the first place until dropping out on the third day and rising from the uncool.
Nevertheless, I had ran into the shark, and I better apologised for this and introduced myself.
The grandpa of the wonderful web hostess gasped. "Brooks? Wow, what an accident … last week, I had interviewd another Brooke, Zoey, a young blond lady with flowing fair hair …"
I boomed, "that's my sister!"
The grandpa smiled. "Oh, I so assumed that the two of you are related."
I sighed, for, once more, I was nothing but the little brother of Zoey. "What was the interview about?"
The shark grinned. "You certainly know that she applies for law school, and I have got an internship for her. Of course I am in the admission board of the Ivy league law schools." He sighed deeply. "I wish that my grandson was not such a loser and no good for nothing. Then he would be now able to take over my lawyer's office. But as things are now, I have to look for someone else, and your sister looks extraordinarily promising."
This had been so obvious. And I was still not happy about Zoey's decision. I could have tried to say something ugly about her, making the old shark reconsider his opinion, but this would have been foul and perverse, and Zoey would rightfully have to hate me forever. Thus I could not help saying "nice to meet you!" and rushing away as soon as possible.
2.6 Stella's Brother
Stella had followed me, and we had finally made it to the campus square.
I apologised for the scene with Carly's grandpa.
Stella nodded solemnly. "That is OK, I know that you want your sister to follow her natural interests instead of the expectations of your parents."
I sighed deeply. The situation was so similar to that of Spencer's from ten years ago.
Stella continued, "my brother Marshal[2:8] knows a school pal from his middle school times who fits perfectly the pattern of a future shark. Her name is Claire Sawyer, and she is totally uncompromising."
I choked. "You have got a brother? I have never heard about him."
Stella smiled. "Your sister makes it very easy for you to talk so proudly of her."
I nodded solemnly, as this was certainly the case.
Stella continued, "Marshal is a bit difficult. He had been involved in bullying for many years. I swear, it was not his fault, it was all the foul influence of his perverse friends, William Loomer and Buzz Rodriguez."
I had never heard about those pernicious guys, but I had been subject to bullying as an elementary school kid, and only Zoey's intervention had helped me out of this.[2:9]
Stella moaned, "I only tell you because I know that you are sweet and nice, and I can trust you. Marshal can't be a real bully, he is just insecure, because he has got a hobby more appropriate for girls, and he wants to be taken serious as a boy."
I calmed down. "I believe you, Stella. What hobby would that be?"
Stella reported: "Marshal is a very gifted textile creator and designer, maybe not as good as your sister, but he's totally passionate. He just fears that he would never be taken serious, and that's why he kept on hanging out with the wrong guys." She almost sobbed.
I took her into my arms. "It's all good!" I had to pet her silken hair until she felt better again.
Why were creative artists so horribly underrated? Zoey denied her true passion because our parents wanted her to do something safe and established. Spencer had also tried to follow this stubborn track, and he had been blown off course after just three solid days. And Marshal denied his natural passions in order to claim to be not unmanly. I had got the feeling that a meeting of Marshal and Zoey would have had the power to clean both of them of their false expectations.
But there was no way they would encounter under normal circumstances … just under particularly creepy ones, such as … Halloween and Día de lo los Muertos?
After communicating my idea to Stella, she appeared to like it fully. "That would be so cool!"
But there was of course the looming problem of getting both of them to show up on our campus at the turn of the month, and, as you know already, Zoey was not up to doing so.
Stella had got an idea. "Your sister is maybe afraid of the ghost of that Charles Galloway, or whoever that creep was … but protecting her little brother has always got highest priority for her."
I nodded solemnlyu. "Yeah, if she has to save me, she would forget probably about her own fears." I talked about the night when I had watched the Japanese horror movie with Chase, Michael, and Logan. I had run into Zoey's dormitory room in order to let her hide me there. And inspite of the stern protests of Lola and Quinn, Zoey allowed me to sleepover there."
Stella smiled. "OK, so you just have to be afraid of this year's Halloween, and she will come, right? Maybe you are afraid of both bullies and of ghosts …"
I gasped, but Stella's idea sounded more than just plain perfect, barring the fact that I did not want to be considered uncool for calling my elder sister because of that sort of trouble. I was a senior and not an elementary school kid. Eight years ago, I had been a little boy, but now …
Stella promised not to tell anyone. "That remains our secret."
We hi-fived solemnly.
I wondered, "I guess the bully that I am so terribly afraid of is your brother?"
Stella grinned. "Oh, I love how smart you are!"
I smiled at her. "And you are sure that he is coming?"
Stella fumbled with her hair. "Well, he is a moon worshipper … I do not know which lunar deity or cult he follows, but I have heard that the witches of old celebrated Samhain in order to honour a the gods of the moon, or something like that. It will not be hard for me to convince him that our memorial will be nothing but a disguised form of moon worship."
That sounded more and more interesting, but also a little bit scary.
2.7 Hammered Out
I was still trying to get Drake Parker to perform at our senior prom, which, unfortunately, required negotiation with our inappropriate student teacher for science, Joshuah Nichols.
The bigheaded freak was interested in wood shop. As a high school freshman, he had built a wooden onager. [2:10] This reminded me of the fact that Stacey Dillsen had onec built a similar engine from cotton swabs, complete with a projectile ball made of the same stuff. So I promised Josh to show him to the wood shop of Stacey, allowing him to take a look at our wonderful collection of tools and works.
Aforementioned black clay raven with a cover of polyresin was now completed, and so I had to fetch it from the wood shop, anyway. I walked in, followed by Drake and Josh.
Staceuy started talking, "Oh, Drake! I am Stacey Dillsen, from Swampscott in Massachusetts. My sister Suzanne works as a nurse at St. Steve Hospital in Mississippi.[2:11] My hobbies are hatha yoga, astronomy , …" Her lispy voice was very penetrant and apparently hurt Drake's ears.
The rock idol said a few uncouth words about the cotton swab princess.
Josh poked his step brother. "Hey, that is not funny. She did not choose her lisp. just as I did not choose the size of my head."
Drake glared at Josh. "Hey, your head is funny, too!" He started cackling merrily.
Josh looked disgusted by Drake's sense of humour, although he was accustomed to it, after ten years of being step brothers.
The marriage between Drake's mother Auderey Parker and Joshuah's father Walter Nichols had gone down the drain, though, during the last five years. Walter had started drinking and lost his job, which he had already hated, anyways, as he had been vastly inferior to his much envied colleague Bruce Windchill.[2:12] Audrey was now living together with one Gavin Mitchell, an employee of San Diego's biggest cinema: Première Theater. Also Josh had worked over there until moving out for college.
Stacey polished the fake bird once more. "One nice black raven!" And now she wanted an autograph of Drake, which had been the major reason for me to lure Drake and Josh into the basement that hosted the wood shop.
Josh was astonished when he saw the Wheel Of The Swinging Hammers. "This is Spencer's work!"
I nodded solemnly. "So … you used to watch the web show as well? Carly's show, that is."
Drake and Josh confirmed this, and they started talking about their favourite segments.
Then they started arguing about the question which of the two girls in the show tech producer Fredward Benson should have dated.
This was a question that used to split the fan community of the web show right down the middle.
There were two camps, the "Creddiers" and the "Seddiers".[2:13]
A Creddier was a person seeing Carly Shay and Fredward Benson involved as more than just friends. Likewise, a Seddier was one saying the same thing about Samantha Puckett and Fredward Benson.
Apparently, both Joshuah Nichols and Stacey Dillsen were Creddiers, as they started simultaneously to chant "Creddie! Creddie! Creddie!"
Drake was not content. "You are all freaks! Everyone with two eyes sees that Seddie has alweays been the way to go."
Stacey and Josh glared at the rock idol in a disproving manner. "Creddie Killer!"
Drake had been standing dangerously close to the switch of the Wheel Of Swinging Hammers, and now it was too late, he flipped the trigger.
The wheel started spinning relentlessly.
I better took cover, as I still remember the accident in which Carly had been almost hit by a flying hammer.
Oh no, there was that sound again. Bang! Bang!
Josh and Stacey both squealed crazily, and then they sank to the ground like a sack of flour.
The hammer finally crashed against one sculpture standing on a work bench, and then it fell to the concrete floor, causing another clank.
The cotton swab mistress declared, "my life is one big accident!"
Josh sighed deeply. "And so is mine."
I stood up again. "Drake, is that how you treat your fans and family?"
Drake shrugged cluelessly. "Maybe?"
I was no longer sure that it was a great idea to hire him for the senior prom. I picked my mobile phone in order to call nurese Hunsucker from our infirmary.
Finally, Drake started to take care of the victins as well.
We had to carry them upstairs and then across the campus into the nurse's station.
I warned Drake, "do not even dare to touch that chain saw, it ius much more dangerous than the wheel with all its hammers coming loose at the same time!"
Drake just shrugged. "Hey, I always wondered whether that whell was a good music instrument, like, an automatic drum. But I don't know how to make it beat a certain rhythm. Maybe my friend Eric Blonowitz is able to help me there, as he is extremely gifted in all things electronical."
I moaned, "maybe?" Josh was so hard for me to drag, especially because of his huge head.
Drake continued, "the chain saw probably sounds like a lot of fun, too. I guess it would serve as a totally kind of instruments."
Oh no, a careless Drake and an evil chain saw … this was definitely one kind of a combination that could not end up in anything else but wreakimg a mega load of havoc.
Nurse Hunsucker was treating Josh and Stacey. "Both of them are lucky to get away with that … that was one massive impact, but no skull bone is broken. Unfortiunately, I can't check here for inner bleedings."
I suggested, "my uncle GlazerDoctor Glazer is a cameo in Drake & Josh: The Bet et alibi. may check that!"
Hunsucker wondered, "why would he?"
I explained, "Glazer is an emergency medic!"
Stuck in pain, Josh moaned, "I know!"
Glazer had been sort of the family medic of the Parkers and Nichols, at least in really stupid cases.
I rendered my uncle's number unto the nurse. "OK, he is nowadays in Los Angeles … usually."
She shrugged and started typing the digits.
Unfortunately, the school's administration would have to be informed as well about the accident, unless it was already aware of the mess, as it was unlikely that nobody watched us dragging the liveless bodies across the campus. And then they would go and look for a culprit.
Talking about the admin istration … Beverly,[2:14] the secretary of Dean Rivers, entered the foyer of the infirmary, carrying a form for the health insurance.
Hunsucker took care of it.
Beverly remarked, "I guess it was an accident? Dean Rivers wants any witness to show up in the administration office."
I went totally pale, and I looked around for Drake, but was not able to find him.
In this moment, my uncle Glazer walked in, complete with his set of medical tools.
I passed out because I did not want to talk about the whole horror that had gone on in the wood shop.
2.9 Undead Kiss
2.9.1 Before The Play
Stacey and Josh had recovered fast from the injuries and thence calmed down the administration. Well, Stacey's frequent presence in accidents of that sort was not unheard of.
And now it was time for the big Halloween play to be performewd by Ashley Blake and Beck Oliver.
I helped Stella adjusting the requisites. Fortunately, the coffins were made of cardboard instead of sturdy oakwood. And this was not the only thing to be arranged. I had got an uncanny feeling when touching the clay raven in order to attach it to a fake tree. It was as if the inanimate bird was starting to talk with me. But it was not possible, for even if real animals had got some kind of voice, this one here was a sculpture, nothing more.
The cemetary gate bore some sort of inscription, reading "RIP!". I had always expected this to refer to the process of ripping your soul off your body.
Nevel, who was already sitting in the front row, liked my interpretation, but he had to tell me that I was mistaken. "Your reading makes sense, but, really, it comes from requiescat in pace, a Latin phrase from rest in piece!"
This sounded a bit sarcastic, didn't it?
But the letters were drawn in almost luminescent intense red colour, giving me totally the creeps.
Ashley Blake marched in, dressed in her skeleton costume. Well, her face was not yet masked, and that was definitely for the better, for otherwise I would impossibly have gotten away without a heart attack. She grinned in her usually ice cold manner, and that was already worse than your average skeleton grin, but at least without visible skull bones. "Where is the sound check?"
I looked at Robbie.
He replied, "Drake will be here, any moment."
I gasped. "Drake Parker?"
Robbie nodded. "He is going to make some dead metal music, or whatever that is called. This way, he makes up for the chaos in the wood shop."
That sounded great, especially if he was also going to perform at our senior prom, and this here and now was just supposed to be a test for it.
On the other hand, Death Metal was not exactly the style of music I had usually associated with Drake, who was definitely an expert for pop rock.
Male star Beck Oliver and director Stephenie King walked in.
The latter grinned, "wow, that looks already cool, just as I had already imagined Jade West's masterpiece. She is really gifted in describing lots of horror with as few words as possible."
Beck smiled. "Yeah, good old Jade …"
For Ashley's taste, Stephenie stood a bit too close to Oliver, and she started glaring at the two of them in an increasingly jealous manner.
Now Stephenie stripped Beck of his street coat, reveiling his skeletal costume, a dark cape with slightly phosphorescent bones painted onto the surface.
As the stage would be darkened, the darl cape would barely be seen, ut the bones would stand out, almost shining in the dark.
Nevel was responsibble fopr the illumination, and he already held some remote control in his hand in order to operate the spots.
Stephenie was disgusted, because she had to discuss the details about this with Nevel, and my room pal was not exactly a beauty.
Ashley and Beck were now about to wear their skeletal masks. Then they needed to slip into the cardboard boxes.
Stella, who had been absent for a few minutes, and her bully brother Marshal walked in.
The latter had sewed the costumes for the performance, well, more precisely, he had adjusted those already available in our costume storage to the size of Ashley and Beck. Now he wanted to watch the ceremony of moon worship, as Stella had announced. "But the real ceremony will be on Halloween and Día de los Muertos, right?"
Stella nodded solemnly. "Exactly!"
Zoey was only going to arrive on Halloween in order to take care of me and my excruciating fears.
Robbie had just opened the coffin boxes for Ashley and Blake. "I hope that it is comfortable!"
Beck nodded. "I have already been in worse coffins!"
This remark made me shudder all over.
Ashley refused to say anything, but this was a fairly good sign, as she was not someone trying hard to hide her discotent from her fellow humans.
Dean Rivers was talking to some of our alumni who were joining the audience, ready to watch our play. Then the headmaster said a few words, declaring the evening for officially open.
Stephenie told Nevel to dim the stage. "But slowly … lumen after lumen."
Nevel nodded solemnly, and the whole thing started.
Stephanie signaled to start the music.
2.9.2 During The Play
I heard a sound coming from across the stage, some sort of mayhem reminding Robbie fatally of the sound of the flesh spalshing chain saw from the wood shop.
And, indeed, Drake was about to let his vision come true, and this meant that he was now going to use the horror power tool as a music instrument for death metal music.
Well, the saw blade was made of metal, and the hell machine was more than certainly able to inflict death and intense pain on anyone in its way.
Stephenie was consternated. "But I am sure Jade would like it …"
Fortunately, the creepy power tool was required a lot of current, and by now, this was too much for our power supplies. The saw went silent, but so did the electric guitars, and,even more, the illumination broke down.
I was not one to judge. Seven years ago, I had caused a power failure on our campus by playing too many action video games.[2:15]
The coffins of Ashley and of Beck opened, letting the painted bones shine all over the stage.
Nevel shrugged helplessly. "Sorry, power failure …"
Stephenie sighed deeply. "Yeah, and that is no good. The performance will now be remembered as a mere conversation of two skeletons."
Nevel offered to call custodian Gordy and make him check the fuses. He had got a chemical light source in his pockets, just in case, and now it was time for opening it. This would provide them enough light to look for the fuse and to adjust it.
Ashley and Beck started performing the dialogue they had rehearsed. They were talking about the havoc they were about to wreak upon the living. It was time to avenge the evils of the past, not only those they had gone through during their life time, but also ever since. They had apparently not been appreciated enough by their surviving friends and family. The latter had spent their heritage in a thoughtless manner, married other, living people, started hanging out with new friends, and more and more similarly decadent atrocities.
Suddenly, the clay bird started — or so at least I believed to see — flapping with its wings. But this was certainly not possible.
Had I started hallucinating? I whispered a few words into Stella's ears.
She had not looked at the creepy bird, and thus she was not able to confirm my sights or to prove my impression wrong.
I tried to sit calmly and to ignore the bird.
Ashley and Beck kept on talking about all the things they would do to the living that had betrayed and forgotten them.
I did not even want to know what they were up to committing.
Finally, Nevel and Gordy seemed to have fixed the power supplies.
OK, I saw the raven sit calmly on the gate of the cemetary, ans there was no such thing as a sign of it coming alive except … The bird appeared to whisper some creepy words.
Of course the stage was all dimly lit, and so I was not exactly sure what I was seeing.
The words "no more" started somewhat burning into my mind.
The play was coming to an end.
Beck and Ashley, or, rather, the skeletons they were playing, seem to have fallen in love, and now they were getting closer and closer, like about to kiss. "Do we even have lips to kiss?"
Well, the average skeleton did not have them.
Beck's and Ashley' masks touched.
An artificial fog started covering the stage. There had been some from the beginning of the play, which was not unnatural for November, at least in some regions of the world, but now it grew denser and denser.
Ashley and Beck were no longer to be seen, but the sound of their kiss was heard, really the sound of bones crashing against bones.
A ventilator blew away the fake fog, reveiling that the skeletons were gone, but splinters of what looked like bones were left behind on the stage.
2.9.3 After The Play
The curtain had fallen, signalising the end of the play.
Beck and Ashley had disposed with their masks and bowed to the audience.
There was a lot of applause, but I was not able to clap my hands. Instead, I started shivering over and over again.
Stella was in no better situation.
Both of us had to be carried home by our respective room mates.
Zoey would certainly have a lot of work to do in order to calm me down again.
My world went dark, as I was unable to handle it anymore. But the words "no more" were burning in my mind.
Chapter 3 Dies Iræ
3.1 Waking Up
It was the morning of Halloween's day, and I was still unconscious.
But finally, I saw some light. Was it yet another dream, or was I awake again?
Zoey and Nevel discussed at my feet, probably not yet aware of my awakening.
I coughed noisily, trying to provoke their attention.
Finally, my sister looked at me, still pale in her face. "Dustin! What have you been doing? You remember me, I am Zoey, your favourite elder sister."
I wondered, "er … I can't remember any other siblings …"
Zoey smiled and kissed me on the top of my head. "That's OK, for I do not know any other, either."
I sighed for relief. Many people awakening from some shock seemed to forget part of their family, but at least that was not quite the case.
Zoey explained that Nevel had called her right after my collapse. "Dustin, where has Nevel got my number from?"
Nevel choked noisily. "Oh, I sense some family drama …" He tried to walk away, but he was stopped by my sister.
I sighed deeply. "OK, I traded your number as a stake for a lost bet. But that was almost two years ago."
Nevel coughed. "Er … I don't have any longer a crush on you."
Zoey growled, "OK, Dustin, you don't need being preached to, right now. Anyways, I had almost believed that you were feigning again, just as five years ago when you had just watched the horror movie with the high school boys and then feigned being horrified, just in order to be allowed to spend a few hours more with me. But this is fortunately not the case."
I stammered, "certainly not …"
Now she wanted to know why I had watched the horror play in the first case.
Nevel declared that it was not all that horrible. "I have seen worse. But the clay raven on the stage must have jinxed Dustin."
Zoey glared at my room mate. "What? It was a clay raven, an inanimate object, mind you. And even a living bird doesn't hex people."
I started shivering again.
Zoey sighed deeply. "Oh well, maybe they can … just like the amulet of Charles R. Galloway. Since years, I live with the fear of having desacrated the tomb of this former student, and thus contracted some sort of a curse. Mind you, I have not believed in anything like curses and omens beforehand. But ever since, I often dream about lockets and other things that have belonged to other people before me, and I always get into serious troubles for them."
Nevel remarked, "this is Consuela's evil revenge!"[3:1]
Zoey scratched her hair. "Consuela? Isn't that a stupid urban legend that started a chain letter coming with a fabulous menace for anyone refusing to forward the scribbles?"
Nevel panted heavily. "Oh, that's what people think about her revenge, but the story is very old, and it has nothing to do with any chain letter." He explained that Gospel According To Matthew mentions a curse the Lord had inflicted upon the alleged city of Capernaum, located at the banks of Lake Tiberias in Galilee. "The meaning of capernaum is basically place of consolation. This city name was to be understood symbolically, as — according to Matthew — the Lord And Saviour's first works of power were established there. But the Lord And Saviour had not been duly acknowledged by the residents of said symbolic township, and hence they were were due for a dystopian curse."
I started trembling again. "Zoey!"
Alas, my sister was already turning totally pale, probably because she was reminded of her nightmares following the creepy visit over at Redstone Gulch.
In addition, I was now concerned with what had happened to Stella. When passing out, I had had the impression that she was not going through a much easier experience of a similar kind, under the impression of the uncanny events on the stage in front of our eyes. I asked Nevel about that topic.
The weird guy replied, "Stella is feeling miserable, Marshal is now taking care of her."
Zoey gasped. "What? But it is not Marshal Rivera, that evil bully that has threatened you these days?"
I stammered, "exactly that one … he is Stella's brother, and that's why he naturally cares about her."
Zoey did not understand it. "Of course elder siblings should do that, but bullies treat their uyounger siblings like dirt. And I have to talk a serioue word to that villain, anyways, where is Stella's dormitory room?"
I wanted to come with Zoey and guide her to the room. Of course, I was totally impatient and up to seeing Stella again.
Zoey shook her head. "Uncle Glazer told me that you need some rest. I will have to go on my own and wash the head of the creep."
I looked disappointed, because I would now not see Stella as soon as possible, but my sister would most likely make me miss out on the Halloween celebrations, especially the trick and treat tour. On the onwe hand, she deemed me too old for that childish stuff, on the other hand, she deemed me too young on to go and figure for myself whether that was really the case.
Nevel glared at Zoey. "You don't want to leave your baby brother alone here in this room, with a bunch of strangers?" He was apparently only referring to himself as a "bunch of strangers", as nobody else was here. Or maybe he anticipated the arrival of more kids looking for me? "You know, kids that sneak your mobile phone number from him, for unspeakable purposes …"
Zoey startled. "Er … hell no! Dustin, you have to come along with me!" And my sister insisted in giving me a piggy back ride. Unfortunately, I was no longer as small as I used to be when Zoey was still a student at Pacific Coast Academy. In other words, it was not possible for her to carry me the way she had been up to.
I grinned and stood up, demonstrarting this way how much I had grown.
Zoey corrected herself: "I mean … I will support you while we are walking over to Stella's room in order to sock it to the evil bully."
Of course I was not really hoping that she would go violent on Marshal, but I still yelled, "year, soldier on! Sometimes, a woman hass to do what a woman has to do … whatever that means."
Nevel opened the door for us, and he grabbed his own mobile phone, as he was up to calling megan for a last practice session before the All Souls's Day Performance of the Requiem.
Zoey wrapped her right arm around my hip, and we walked away.
3.2 Olivary Biallo
It was a bit awkward for us to walk across the camous in this wy, being guided like a little baby by momma. And it was definitely uncool. But we had finally reached 148 Butler Hall, the dormitory room of Stella Rivera. I hoped that she was fairly well and would let us enter the room. "Stella …it's me, Dustin."
The door went open, and the sweet girl stood in the door frame. "Sorry, I am still a bit dizzy … Zoey?"
My sister grinned. "Oh yeah, it is me again. Dustin was so curious …"
Then Zoey spotted Marshal Rivera in the opposite corner of the room.
I had not met him yet, but I guessed his identity.
My sister was completely upset. "Olivary Biallo?"
The name rang a bell, and I remember Zoey having mentioned him already, so many years ago.
Oh, there was one Olivary Biallo that had participated at Pacific Coast Academy middle school dance, like eight years ago. He had been the dance partner of Zoey's Friend Michael Barret.
That's right, both of them were boys, had always been, would always be, but they had been assigned dance partners at middle school ball.
Stella's brother had never been a student at Pacific Coast Academy, but he had been invited to that ball, anyways. The reason for this arrangement was the lack of girls at our school during the first two years of coeducation. So, just like during the years of a boys-only school, the lack of girls was filled by means of inviting those from nearby schools that were not only for boys. These included Hollywood School For The Professional Performance Arts, Palmwoods, Silver Spring, Lakewood, Brewster, and many more. And they included especially James K. Polk, the school of Marshal Rivera.
This explained the presence of students from other schools at our middle school balls, but only of girls … well, Marshal alias Olivary had been registered for the social event as a girl. And the partners for the ball had been matched by some stupid computer. Quinn pensky had probably been responsible for this, explaining why it had wreaked quite some chaos.
Anyways, Michael had been majorly annoyed by his not so female dance partner, Olivary Biallo. Fortunately, the latter had to leave the party hall in order to say a prayer to the moon.
That made a lot of sense, as Stella had persuaded her brother to show up here on our campus for the moon worship ceremony alias Halloween.
Marshal boomed, "wow, Zoey! Long time no see! But where is M …m …michael?"
Stella stammered, "you know Zoey? Wow, you never told me, Marshal!"
Finally, my sister realised that Olivary Biallo was no other than ruthless bully Marshal Rivera. She walked up to him and shook him vigorously. "Don't ever dare to menace or scare my baby brother again … will you?"
For me, it was of course totally embarrassing to be called a baby brother.
And Marshal had not done anything like that, that had really been but a trick to get Zoey's attention. "You have got a bay brother? Dies he already talk or walk?"
My shame for being treeted by Zoey like that was increasing from second to second.
Zoey glared at Stella's brother, "hey! Don't dare to make fun of me, as you did of Michael!"
This went too far, and so Stella had to intervene in order to protect Marshal. "Zoey! Sorry we lied to you in order to get you to show up here."
I lowered my head for ashame.
Stella explained, "Marshal has not done anything to Dustin, but he has got very bad middle school records. I swear that this is only the fault of that William Loomer."
Zoey wondered, "who is William Loomer?"
I explained, "a really evil guy from Marshal's middle school classes, the worst of all bullies. Marshal had just tried to make up for his unmanly hobby. He had been the only guy in …"
Marshal moaned, "no, please don't tell her!"
Zoey grunted, "don't tell me what?"
Stella stood up and completed my sentence: "Marshal had been in the textile creation club. He loves designing fashion. In fact, he has designed my Halloween costumes, and he had patched the copstume for last night's Halloween play."
Marshal sighed deeply. "OK, thanks for ruining my life!" He opened a bag filled with costumes, those intended for our trick and treat trip, and threw the content onto the floor.
Zoey sighed and bowed in order to pick up the costumes lying in the dirt, and then she undusted them quickly. "Say, Olivary, you have designed and tailored those all alone?"
Stella's brother tried to hide in some mouse hole.
My sister inspected the tricking and treating outfit once more. "This is really detailled design, and it proves a lot of skilled craftmanship."
Marshal did not hear Zoey's judgment correctly, and he still defended himself againts the charge. "Hey, it was really an accident."
Zoey continued, "now, if this is an accident, I most definitely want to see something you created on purpose."
Stella told her brother, "Zoey is really saying something good about your work!"
Olivary Biallo alias Marshal Rivera glared aghast. "What? It is good?"
Zoey nodded solemnly. "It shows great skills. I guess you have been either working on them for many years, or you are so naturally gifted that you don't need all that much practice."
Stella's brother sighed deeply. "But my life is still ruined … noone will take a boy with a girls' hobby any serious."
Zoey shook her head. "I am sure there aree still a few out there who appreciate this. Haveyou ever tried some of the fashion labels? There are quite a lines created by men."
Stella nodded. "Mad Style would be cool. I have seen their new collection on TV, a few days ago."
Zoey sighed. "Yeah, I have read a lot about Maximilian Madigan and his label, it is totally fantastic, and working there would have been a great dream of mine, had I not decided to go to Law School. Oh, I have heard that Mr. Shay, the alumnus of Harvard Law School, is on our campus today."
I nodded solemnly.
My sister declared that she wanted to see him. "I think working for him as an intern would be a great experience, don't you think so?"
I coughed. "If you think so …."
Zoey looked at her wrist watch. "OK, I am better off to look for the older alumni. Dustin, don't go to the tricking and treating without telling me beforehand exactly where you're bound for and when you are supposed to be back, so I may come and fetch you in time before bad things happen. Olivary … it is time for you to stand up for your true passions. Nobody will take you serious efore you start taking yourself serious!"
I wanted to yell at Zoey to take herself serious and stand up to her own true passion instead of being just mom's and dad's daughter to boast with. But I did not want to start a terrible family drama.
There were sounds from outside.
I moaned, as I had almost forgotten about that little bugger, but now it was time to face her again.
We had promised Piper Peckinpaw to invite her to this Halloween party, and here she was.
Stella opened the door for the clever beast, who was even more scary than any Halloween mask.
Piper announced, "Ashley Blake will trick and treat with the skeletal mask on her face … that will be totally cool. And I may sort her candy … Ashley hates green candy, especially green gummi bears."
I shuddered, because I remembered last night.
Maybe Piper had mentioned this just in order to scare me.
I was now better trying to fit into my costumes. It was a three-horned devil with pointy ears and a pig's tail.
Stella would disguise as a dark fairy from one of our favourite anime shows.
Piper had got her own costume, but she did not want us to see it before it was getting fairly dark.
3.3 Trick Or Treat
3.3.1 Coco Wexler
We were now rigged and ready to walk out for our tricking and treating tour. First, the teachers and adult staff members were our victims.
Ashley suggested to sack Coco Wexler, the chubby and messy girls's dormitory advicer. "She always spoils our corridors with the stench of cheap and fat ravioli …"
Piper believed that this would be a lot of fun. "Yeah, let's drive Coco nuts!"
I shrugged. "OK, good idea …"
When Zoey was still a student at Pacific Coast Academy, she had told us to spare Coco, because she chubby wench had got a lot of bad luck in her life, especially with her on and off boyfriend Carl Bubba[3:2] the eternal loser coach of our football team. My sister had defended her several times against accusations from the school's administration.[3:3] But she had never taken Coco any serious.
Piper Peckinpaw was wearing a pumpkin costume, but not an ordinary one. It was a rather dark pumpkin, or, as she called it, a "Pumpkin Of Terror". And now she released her usual song: "One, two, Piper's out for you …"
Coco Wexler screamed like a fury when hearing out steps. She dropped her half-eatern cup of ravioli, which started to roll downstairs, all the way to the feet of some of us kids.
Ashley complained in an ice cold manner, "fat ravioli are no treats!"
Piper nodded, "They aren't!" Thereupon, she kicked the can of ravioli and sent it flying against Coco's head, making her sink to the floor like a sack of bacon.
Piper gasped. "Oops … run!"
We were gone from this place like nobody's business, running for our lives, and of course we did not want to get caught for the onslaught on the dormitory wench.
I had never liked Coco's apartment, an excessively smelly and filthy spelunc, anyways, and was lucky to be now gone.
3.3.2 Coach Keller
Our next victim was Coach Keller,[3:4] the trainer of our basketball and football teams. Seven years ago, he had accused Chase and michael of havong burned down Sushi Rox, a Japanese pub that had been standing on the campus during those years, and he had forced them to do some slave works for him in order to be able to pay for the caused damage.
By the way, the sushi bar got rebuilr and was back in service thereafter, but only for two more years. Finally, Kazu, the owner of Sushi Rox, had disappeared one eery december night, and reappeared months later as a kitchen slave of Wing Lee,[3:5] the mistress of an empire of Chinese restaurants spread across the whole country. The two of them were now running Nozu, a sushi bar near Hollywood.[3:6]
He had certainly not been the reason for their great success, and was largely dispensable, but Dean Rivers seemed to hold on to him, anyways.
Keller was particularly infamous for his addiction to sushi and his uncanny way of pronouncing that word.
We snuck into his front yard in order to scare the misguided coach.
This time around, Piper did not use her usual Halloween likes,, but she came up with something different.
Coach Keller was about eating some sushi, and he was known for his idiotic habit of talking to his food before eating it.
Wendy had told Piper about this utterly disgusting habit.
And noe the middle school girl from Pacific Bluff was hiding beneath the sill of the window beyond which the coach was about dining. She heard him talk to some dead crab, and she replied, "Coach Keller, you will pay dearly for eating me! Bring me back to the Pacific!"
Keller looked dumbfounded at the shrimp. "Er … what was that?"
Piper repeated in an increasingly grisly manner, "bring me back to the sea, or else …"
Keller looked around. "Hey, I must have hallucinations."
Piper did not cease letting the crab talk to the confused coach.
Keller moaned, "OK, I'll bring you back to the ocean … tomorroe!"
Piper growled, "right now! Or else …"
Keller's fear increased. "May I fetch my coat, my pants, and …"
Piper thundered a dry "no!" into the gym teacher's direction.
Keller sighed deepler, and he grabbed the shrimp andleft his apartment on site in order to rush to the beach.
Wendy and Piper followed the coach in order to command him to run faster, while the rest of us stormed his apartment in order to look for treats.
Indeed, Keller was hoarding Japanese candy from Nozu, and it was easy to find and to take out.
Ashley commanded us to sort out any green candy, as she was allergic to that colour, at least when it came to food.
Minutes later, coach Keller would return to his apartment ansd noticed the intrusion, but he would not dare to tell anyone about, for nobody would believe his story about the shrimp commanding him to return it to the sea, and they woudl certainly wonder why he was crossing the campus in nothing but boxer briefs and a sweaty top.
3.3.3 Ninja Wraith
Finally, we dared to step up to the lion's den, alias the mansion of Dean Carl Rivers and hois psychopathoc wife Tipper.[3:7]
The Dean's spouse was a mean wench of the most deprecable sort, as she was opposed to letting her husband play video games at home or in his office. And whom did the headmaster take this out on? Right, we pupils, teachers, and staff members, were forced to feel his frustration day after day.
This cried for some rigorous intervention in order to teach the evil matron a hard lesson.
Ashley donned her skeletal mask and jumped in front of Tipper. "Trick or treat!"
The evil matron squealed at the very top of her lungs and ran away.
The dean looked consternated. "Tipper! What is going on?" And then he spotted us kids. "What are you doing here?"
I explained the situation.
The headmaster grunted. "OK, but woe to you if my wife ever comes back!" He panted heavily. "And until then … party time with horror video games and gummi worms for all of you!"
Ashley insisted, "but no green gummi worms!"
The dean nodded, and he walked to some hidden console that opened a secret alcove with a video console. "I had to hide it from my wife. Do yiu know that Japanese action video game Ninja Wraith?"
I wondered, "have you got wii-fi? The game is best played online."
Piper nodded solemnly. "I love playing it on my mobile phone, with Kelly's identity card."
Kelly Peckinpaw was the adult sister of Piper, a student at Pulitzer's College in New York City, the best undergraduate school for future star journalists.
I sorted the gummi worms for Ashley before taking my first turn at the controller. We would play in teams. I was in one with Stella Rivera, and we would wreak a lot of insane havoc.
3.4 All Saints Day
Zoey had picked me up from the house of Dean Rivers when the previously agreed time was over, and she was a bot in a stinky mood because I had been watching horror video games. "You know that you can't bear the terror, think of last night."
I growled, "but this time, it was such a lot of fun!"
Zoey was more and more tortured by the moemories of the trip to Redstone Gulch, followed by the nightmares about the return of the ghost of Charles Galloway.
Nevel told me to never make fun of ghosts.
Zoey sighed deeply. "The only one I know to do so deliberately is Logan Reese."
Nevel was little surprised. Although he had never met the son of Hollywood's most influential producer, it was clear for him that Logan was one of the most shallow and materialistic persons in California. He had heard about the trip of Zoey's gang to asaid tomb site, instigated by no other than Logan Reese. "These days, the barrier to the realms of the dead is wide open. You don't have to be surprised by an assault of the dishonoured lost soul of Galloway and other former students here on the campus."
I started trembling all over again.
Zoey sighed deeply. "Dustin, I am here with you!" She hugged me tightly, although she was trembling deep inside, hardly visible for anyone not familiar with my sister as much as I was.
I wondered, "do you think that the dead students will return tomorrow because of the celebrations for their commemoration?"
Nevel shrugged. "I had not hoped so, but I have got the uncanny feeling …"
I glared at my room mate. I would certainly not be able to handle that, given that the Halloween play had already been too much for me to bear.
3.5 Days Of Wrath
Dean Rivers was about to open the commemoration of the deceased former students of our school. He introduced MacCurdy, aforementioned alumnus and priest. The cleric was approaching with a half-eaten can of ravioli. "Sorry, I found it in the apartment of someone whose last words … er … whose confessions I just had to listen to." He started feeding on the decaying contents of the rusty tin. "She thinks that she has already seen the angel of death coming around the corner, with some uncanny and threatening voice."
Dean Rivers shrugged. "OK, let us start!"
Father MacCurdy spoke in a similar way as priests used to do at funerals, stuff that hurt in my ears.
Suddenly, dark clouds started merging from nowhere started to covering the campus. A flash of lightening split the sky down the middle, and a thunder rolled across the landscape, making me tremble and shiver for dismay. Many pupils started calling out the Lord's name in vain.
Zoey squealed like a fury, which was obviously because there was a great similarity to her repeated nughtmare. Of course I had not seen her dream, and thus I had to rely on what she had been able to tell me about it. But the similarity was certainly there.
Unlike in my sister's uncanny visions, there were many ghastly voices, not just the one of Charles R. Galloway.
Inspite of trembling all over the place, I was still ale to wonder whether more pupils of my school had disappeared in a similar manner, during the six or seven decades of its existence.
Stella was not feeling much better.
Olivary Biallo alias Marshal Rivera seemed less impressed than his sister. "Hope for the moon. The moon will save us!"
MacCurdy was upset because of the presence of heathens on the campus, and he started preaching against those.
The sky darkended even more, except during the flashes of lightening that made it instantly brighter every other moment.
Nevel and Megan showed up.
My room mate had hardly been able to retune the piano for the impending requiem.
Likewise, Megan Parker feared that her oboe was going to sound suboptimal. "Even Piper was scared today by some creepy hunches, and she is usually never scared!"
Nevertheless, the requiem was about to start.
These Latin lines were about the special days of wrath that would mean the end of the world as we knew it, according to the witness of King David and the Sibylline oracles.
The panic that had started to arise proved that those words were not exaggerated.
Nevel continued, more emphatic than before.
These lines announced the fear and panic caused by the arrival of the ultimate judgment.
In my eyes, there was no longer any doubt left that this judgment was here, and we would have to pay for having neglected the warnings of the deceased and forgotten former students.
Stella had recently dared to guess that many of the former students had been outsiders and outlaws died under mysterious circumstances, dissenters with the administration of the school. Charles R. Galloway had been one of them.
This verse referred to the wonderous sound of the horns, calling the dead and sending them to the court.
Was Megan's oboe one of those wind instruments? I was unable to avoid that scary thought.
The piano of Nevel was really poorly tuned, and it was more like a rap event than a classic performance.
Megan was equally desperate because her oboe did not seem to obey.
At the same time, Marshal started praying to the moon for fighting the clouds of desolation.
The strain was too much for me to bear. This was the end, or so … My lights went out again. Had I hoped that at least Megan's and Nevel's ritual musics or Marshal's adoration of the moon would have saved me, my hopes would have been in vain and disappointed.
3.6 No Such Thing As Death
I was not aware of how long I had rested with a mental blackout.
But there some rays of light stabbed my retina … moon light! Yes, I saw a full moon hanging low iver a row of cypress trees that I had never seen in this region.
Was there a connection to Marshal Rivera's prayers to the moon?
Hey, this place did not look at all like our campus square. It did not look like any place I was familiar with, or that I had ever seen on TV or in books.
I gasped. "Am I already dead? Oh no … this must be it!"
Nevel Papperman showed up, side by side with Megan Parker. "I love you!"
Megan glared at her partnert and smiled. "I always knew that you do!"
I yelled, "Nevel? Are you also dead? Or maybe you have never been alive, and have always been a demon or an angel … something like that? Where is Stella? Where is Zoey?" Of course, I could have asked Megan exactly the same thing, but it would not have been as surprising, given that I had already been Nevel's room mate for several years, while I had not come to know Megan Parker until a few days ago.
Nevel and Megan sighed.
I wondered, "where is Stella Rivera? And where is my sister?"
Nevel panted heavily. "There's now no need to worry about them. Stella is about to save the world, or something like that."
Megan chuckled in an uncanny manner.
I still was not sure how Stella was to save the world.
Nevel started chanting:
I twitched, still not aware of what was going on.
Megan had already started blowing her obow in rder to accompany Nevel's recitation of what I would later be told to be Nevel's version of a Portuguese poet named Fernando António Nogueira Pessoa, a poem known as Iniciação.
In more and more verses, nevel described how you lose those shadows of those dresses when night falls, how the angels in Spooky Inn strip you of your clothes, how the archangels of the great road strip you ant further, how the gods residing in the Spelunc of gloom even take away what is still left of your temprrary existence, but also how it becomes obvious that the gods are no differtent from myself.
With each verse, i started tremobling more and more, although I did not feel anything left to tremble, so what was going on?
Were Megan and Nevel the angels, the archangels, or the gods that stripped me of who knew what?
The tune of Megan's oboe turned more and more dramatic with the progress of the chants. or my progress through the night, whatever.
The tune of Megan's oboe fell into nothingness.
I saw a pentagram in the sky, pointing upward … the symbol of the mastery of the spirit? For what else was left after the angels, archangels, and gods left me devoid of everything?
3.7 Back To The World
The very next moment, the cypress trees were gone, and so was the moonlight.
Stella stood next to me. "It is nice to see you again!"
Of course this was strange, as I had not moved aropund at all, had I?
But, OK, I was of course happy to face Stella Rivera once more.
Along came Zoey and Marshal.
My sister declared that she was now also going to stand up for her dream. "I have just told Grandpa Shay that I am not really up to becoming a shark. It felt so wrong telling Olivary to stand up to his true passion, but not do the same for mine."
Marshal alias Olivary nodded solemnly. "Yeah, sewers' club rules!"
I asked, "has the moon really saved us? And the cypress trees? The shadow fallen apart?"
Zoey scratched her head. "What are you talking about?"
Stella grabbed me, whispering "I know what you are talking about, but I doubt our siblings will understand that. Let's leave them alone …"
I shrugged and followed the sweet Latina. "What are they about to do in our absense?"
Stella replied, "I do not know … maybe this?" She grabbed and pulled me into a lingering kiss.
Zoey Brooks and Marshal Rivera applied for a job at Mad Style, and both of them got accepted as freelance designers with the main focus of designing outfits for Hollywood movies, both scary ones and comedy.
Nevel and Megan were going to cross the mighty Atlantic in order to join one of Europe's most renowned classic orchestras, the London Philharmonic.
Ashley Blake and Beck Oliver were chosen by Malcolm Reese for the main rôles in some upcoming teenage soap, How To Be Epic Big Time Victorious.
Stella and I were about to enroll for liberal studies in some college in California.
Coco resigned from Pacific Coast Academy and ran into just a new stupid partner, aforementioned Walter Nichols, the father of Josh.
Tipper River would never come back. The headmaster introduced the new all powerful video gaming club at Pacific Coast Academy.
But I had learned one lesson on All Souls' Day:
The surname is borrowed from the same actress's rôle in third party owned Camp Rock.
She is also identified with an unportrayed Wendy mentioned in Zoey 101: Lola likes Chase.
I modied the first name making it thusly a hommage to Stephenie Meyer, author of e.g. Twilight, as well as to Stephen King, author of e.g. Carrie.
She is identofied with the same actress's cameo in Zoey 101: Surprise.