A/N: Author's note at the bottom, K guys? For now, just enjoy the show.
1- Infernal Computer
"No! No! No! NO!" Shari typed furiously at the computer which was in the process of freezing/shutting down for the sixth time. The screen was glitching out, twitching and spattering out random shapes and colors. Dangit! She reached over and felt around for the plug, giving it a yank. The screen instantly went black.
Shari leaned back against a laundry pile with a groan, giving Mrs. Kimberly's computer a dirty look. She hated computer viruses. Honestly, they were the worst. It'd be better if the woman had, like, gutted it with a fork. Really, that would just have been so much easier to fix!
The young girl sighed. Unfortunately, Mrs. Kimberly was a valued customer of her mother's. When the computer had been brought in three days ago, Shari had jumped at the chance to work on it, eager to prove herself.
Why do you always do this? She asked herself. What is it with you and attempting to do things that you probably can't handle?
Sighing, she got to her feet and made her way across her cluttered room. Bracing herself against the wall, she crouched down to dig out a tool kit from under a mix of wires, harddrives and PC manuals.
Some people would call her smart.
Some called her a geek or a computer nerd.
Some just sort of gaped at her until their eyes dried out, as though she would somehow magically age forty years and get an MIT degree if they just stared hard enough (she got this a lot).
The truth was, young Shari was a computer wiz. She was an "expert on technology" despite her age. No. Not just an expert. A genius. At the age of fourteen, she already knew technology inside and out. Computer programming was her second language. She could easily build her own I-pod, given the right materials.
Unfortunately, being exceptionally smart tended to get you a lot of unwanted attention (like Tony Stark, later known as Iron Man, who hacked into the military when he was a kid and had the army show up at his doorstep). So, Shari and her parents were keeping the majority of her genius on the down-low.
The good news was, Shari's mom was a computer tech too, which meant Shari had an unlimited supply of spare parts to fiddle around with. So long as she helped her mom with repairs, that is. And of course, Shari was smarter than her mom, which meant she got all the tougher projects. Like viruses. Ugh.
Muttering under her breath, she dragged the tool kit back over to Mrs. Kimberly's computer. The outer panel had already been removed, displaying a complex maze of cords, circuits, and fans. Shari selected a teeny-tiny screwdriver, sticking in between her teeth and using both hands to try and disconnect that one-
"Nyaagh!" she squawked, scrabbling backward and gagging as the screwdriver fell between her teeth. She quickly spat it out -yuck- then stared in confusion as the computer suddenly spluttered to life. What the…But it was unplugged! Shari gaped, wide eyed, as the screen suddenly went fuzzy, and then started to glow an eerie blue, getting brighter and brighter. It wasn't a normal computer blue, though. More like that weird, tractor-beam color they used in alien abduction films.
Which was really just creepy.
As the screen got brighter, the computer fans got louder. And louder. And louder. Soon, the light was pouring out into the room, filling up every corner. The screen blinked for a split second, giving her a quick glimpse of a round circle a wide grin and a mustache before it when blue again. The sound got more and more high-pitched, less like a fan and more like a shrill electric whine. Shari winced, covering her ears. The screen blinked, showing the face again (where had she seen that before), and she had to look away; it was so bright. She scrunched her eyes shut and ducked her head, trying to block everything out. What the heck was going on!?
The sound drilled into her head, pulsing as it got sharper, pounding against her scull. The light was so bright it started to seep past her eyelids. Turning didn't help; she couldn't even tell which way she was facing. Her mouth was totally dry, her hands and feet were numb. She felt dizzy. She staggered to her knees.
Shari's eyes snapped open. She sat up (when did she lay down?) and blinked again, looking around. No light. No sound. Everything was completely quiet. Though if she listened carefully, she could hear her parents and brother shuffling around downstairs.
"Uh….Okay," she said aloud, testing her voice. Yup, still working.
Slowly, Shari got on her hands and knees and crawled over to the computer. It was off, silent. Still unplugged, sitting innocently where she left it.
Okay. So that was officially the loudest dream she'd ever had. She could almost still taste the sound, if that made any sense at all (it didn't). And her head still felt kinda funny…
"Shari!" her brother called up the stairs.
She jumped, her heart in her throat. Jeeze…
"What!?" she yelled back, her fright making her sound annoyed.
"It's your turn for dishes!"
Shari groaned, falling back into a pile of laundry, hands over her face. Noooooo. Come on. How was this her life? Her IQ had to be, like, forty times his. Why did she have to do the dishes? She held still, holding her breath. Maybe if she pretended she wasn't home…
"Hey!" Shari thundered down the stairs of her two-story apartment with every intention of introducing her little brother's head to the wall. She nearly ran him over. Josh was leaning against said wall with a smirk in full force, brown eyes reading triumph. He wasn't even holding her diary!
"I knew you could hear me!" he boasted smugly.
"Why you little-"
"Shari…" Shari flinched at her father's warning tone. Fine. She would just kill him later. Rolling up her sleeves, she fixed the 12-year-old with a smoldering glare before turning her attention to the towering pile of pots, pans, plates, bowls, and tea bags. Great. Dried cereal and greasy stir-fry residue. Yay.
Fourteen plates, seven bowls, and a couple of pots and pans later, she was stumbling back up the stairs. Throwing her bedroom door open(and having it come to a stop against a pile of clothes), she stumbled, nearly tripping over an errant pile of laundry.
"Shari," her mother sighed from somewhere down the hall. "You know how I feel about you yelling through the house."
"Yeah, yeah, okay," Shari grumbled, trying to untangle herself from the bundle of wires she'd landed in. "But you left my clothes right in the middle of the room!"
Her mom poked her head through the door and gave her a look.
Shari shifted uncomfortably. "Uh, I mean, thanks for doing my laundry for me?"
"You're welcome," her mother deadpanned, "And I left it there because excavating your dresser is not in my job description."
Shari blinked at her. "…I have a dresser?"
Mom's mouth twitched. "Last time I checked."
"When was that?"
"About a year ago. Who knows?" Mom grinned playfully. "Maybe it's decomposed by now."
"Mom." Shari pouted, folding her arms. "It's not that messy. I don't have, like, any food in here. There's just a bunch of computer stuff and clothes and-"
"Alright, Hun," Mom interrupted, backing out of the doorway and starting down the hall. "Alright. So long as there's no food."
"There isn't!" Shari called, exasperated. Mothers. Yeesh.
She stood up and surveyed her room. Well…Maybe her mom had a point. It was a little hard to work when she was tripping over stuff. And, well, it was probably a good idea to get sorta organized. You know, so she could find stuff easier.
Shari half-heartedly shoved a bunch of metal into a corner with her sneaker. Ugh, there was just so much to do. Kneeling down, she gathered up some of the stray wires and bundled them up, tossing them next to the metal pile. Then she just yanked up whatever laundry she could find and tossed it onto her bed. Standing up (wow, dizzy), she gave her room a satisfied nod.
There. Now she had floor space.
And wow, how long had her floor been that color? Huh.
Shari smiled, feeling accomplished, and glanced at her digital clock. 3:34. She blinked, staring at it again. She had just glanced at the clock, like, a half-hour ago, and it had been noon. Shari frowned, then shrugged. Oh well. She must've just gotten caught up in her work (not the first time that's happened anyway).Great. Well, at least she still had some time before she was called down for dinner.
Shari scowled over at Mrs. Kimberly's computer, contemplating for a few moments before waving it off. Naw. That computer was just too much work right now. She's been working on it, like, all day, and she was ready to relax.
Shari plopped down cross-legged on her floor and picked out a couple of wires and metal bits, piling them in front over her. Then reached back toward her CD player, fumbling around until she felt the play button. Sheri let out a small cheer as Cross That Line by Superchick started filling the air around her.
Follow the leader; stay in the lines.
What will people think of what you've done this time?
Go with the crowd. Surly somebody knows,
Why we're all wearing the emperor's clothes.
Shari reached up and dragged her backpack down from off of her desk, rummaging around until she found her phone. She drew it out triumphantly. Oh yeah. Time for some upgrades.
Play it safe; play by the rules.
Or don't play at all. What if you lose?
That's not the secret, but I know what is!
Everybody dies, but not everyone lives!
Everybody dies, but not everyone lives!
Shari loved her phone. It was ancient, the first touch-screen android on the market. She'd been working on it since she was, like, seven. She must've upgraded the thing about a hundred times; it was her favorite thing to tinker with when she got bored. She liked to try and keep ahead of the other phone companies, to think up upgrades before they did. She usually lost, but she was getting better.
I'm gonna rock like I've got the cops on my tale!
I'm gonna live my life like I'm out on bail!
I'm gonna be out front! Gonna blaze the trail!
I'm gonna cross that line!
About two hours later, Shari leaned back against her bed frame, holding the phone up to the light. She'd changed the casing again, this time silver with blue flames (She was going through a bit of a flame phase. It was driving her mother crazy).
Shari hummed to herself, turning it this way and that. Hmm…not bad.
Oooh! Shari grinned, quickly turning the phone on. YES! Survivor's Resolve had been updated! Finally!
She quickly swiped it open (her password thingy was awesome), and tapped on the little fanfiction icon she'd coded in.
Shari had been a fan of the Sonic the Hedgehog for as long as she could remember. Her parents had gotten a classic Sega Genesis when she was three years old and she used to play nearly all of the old-fashioned, 2-D Sonic games against her dad and her brother (Greatest. Parents. Ever.).
A few years later, when she found out that the spiky blue pinball in the videogames actually had a story line, well, she was practically pinging off the walls with excitement. When she'd discovered fanfiction, well, there was no stopping her. She hadn't really published anything (she was never much of a writer), but she loved reading the stories. Sure, you had to pick through a lot of tacky, cliché beginner pics, but it was worth it. Some of the stories put up there were just novel worthy, full of drama and humor and character angst!
Like Survivor's Resolve; that was just…just...YES.
Shari spent the next few minutes skimming through what she'd already read, trying to figure out where she'd left off (it'd been a while).
She froze. Uh. What?
Warily, she glanced up at Mrs. Kimberly's computer. It was still sitting there, dark and silent. No weird light. No mustached face.
Huh? Where was the sound coming from? Frowning, Shari stood and spun in a circle, pocketing her phone as she scanned the various electrical devices scatter around her room. None of them were doing anything strange, and the sound wasn't getting any louder or quieter, no matter which way she turned.
Wasn't that the same thing she'd heard in her dream? Was she just imaging it? Shari started humming a tune, trying to block it out.
"Not listeninnng…," she sang along to the tune. "Not reeeeal. Just a dreeeeeam…" Shari swallowed nervously as the sound continued. Then she froze again. The sound had changed. It was going along with her tune. And it was starting to pulse again, vibrating up the backs of her arms, through her neck. Ooooh, her head.
Shari shut her eyes again, placing her hands over her head. "Mom?" she croaked out as her throat dried out. She tried clearing her throat and called again. "Mom?"
Her mother's voice barely sounded through the hallway, her words incomprehensible.
"MOM!" she called. "My head hurts!"
"-at?" her mother called, sounding worried. "Sha-? Are-ight? –ari?"
"MOM!" Shari yelled, clutching her head as the sound pulsed into a shrill whine, digging into her brain. "MO-"
The world went dark.
A/N: Warning! This note is long, but for those of you who've been waiting for me, it should explain what's been going on. I suggest reading at least the first part, or you might get a little confused.
Hi there! Allie here! Most of you may had known me as ZehHyperactiveAuthor a few years ago.
The story I have here I originally started when I was fourteen. It was the first fanfic I ever wrote, and it was, for some bizarre reason, the most popular.
Popular enough that there are still people begging me to continue it, over six years later. Now, my life has been complete chaos, and for the past year-and-a-half I've maybe written three paragraphs. Which is really, really sad, because writing is my life.
To get back into it, without the pressure of writing at my age level, I've decided to work on this. I'd love to pick up where I left off, but unfortunately, when I began this story, I had no idea where I was going with it. Now, I have a few things in mind, but to do this, I'll need to tweak a few things.
HERE'S WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN:
Re-writing and editing what I wrote several years ago should give me a bit of a boost back into the world of words, and it will give me a chance to set up for plot and smooth over a few rough edges.
KNOW THIS, however, I am not changing ANY of the story. No scenes added, none taken away. I'm just re-phrasing a phew things, and maybe adding a bit more conversation here and there. The main story, and sense of humor, should stay intact. I hope.
I think this chapter will have the biggest changes, though, but I kept everything that I though people might enjoy.
It just…If I continue this story, it has to be mine. And I'm not who I was six years ago. Anyway, I'm really, really sorry if I ruin anyone's favorite chapter. I would be happy to send you the original if you ask for it (totally fine).
Once I revamp the previous chapters, I'm gonna post a little note, telling people that I'm back, and then I'll post the next chapter the following week (it will at that point, have already been written, so I don't have to worry about getting people's hopes up.) If I'm really lucky, people will hardly be able to tell that so much time has passed.
Thank you all for sticking with me; your glowing reviews are what keep the stories alive. I look forward to hearing from you all. Tell me what you like so I know what to hang onto, K?
Allie is back, baby. Hang on tight, kids. It's gonna be a wild ride.