Give Me Something To Believe In

Klaus Schilling




This is a derivative work.

iDo Not Own Zoey 101, The iCarly Show, Drake & Josh, Victorious, or any other work of arts — shows of Nickelodeon unless otherwise stated — used for this non commercial story.


Genres: Supernatural, Mystery, Spiritual, Horror, Family, Friends, Fluff, Science Fiction

The story takes place in the combined universe of the live action shows belonging to Nickelodeon, especially Zoey 101, Drake & Josh, Victorious, and The iCarly Show, but with many allusions to a bunch of other live acting shows by Nickelodeon.

The offset is during the third season of Zoey 101, in particular post The Curse Of PCA.

A looming invasion of zombies and fiends manifesting itself first at elitarian Californian boarding school Pacific Coast Academy is ultimately going to threaten the whole of mankind.

Malika Ritter — a guest character from The iCarly Show: iSpeedDate with a surname is from a cameo rôle of the same actress in Teen Nick owned show Gigantic — is a new student at Pacific Coast Academy, gifted with paranormal abilities, and she is trying hard to figure the reason for the imminent dystopia, but is she able to stop the looming zombie apocalypse by means of using her magics, or is she sensing a higher reason behind the signs of the time?

The members of a monster hunting organisation try to make pupils forget about the incidents, making things even worse on the long run.

Malika's greatest ally during most of the time is Megan Parker, a teenage girl also new at Pacific Coast Academy and aspiring priestess of the ancient Orphic mysteries, along with Nevel Papperman, a nerdy iconoclast of her age.

Who is saved from dystopia, who is doomed?


This story responds to the following prompts of Livejournal communities:

Prompt Redemption of Taminthemuse

It is also down to a request by GOlFaLoBoy on fanfiction dot net.

Table of Contents

1::Magic Malika
1.1::The Emerald City
1.2::Bound For Los Angeles
1.3::Megan Parker
2::Pacific Coast Academy
2.1::Malika's First Hour
2.2::Megan At PCA
3::This Ol' Radio
4::The PCA Ring
6::Cedarwood Smoke
6.1::Death Of A Granduncle
6.2::Liquid Candle
6.3::The Barbecue Festival
7.1::The iCarly Show
7.2::Nevel Papperman
7.3::Megan likes Nevel
8::Killer Ninjas
8.1::Big In Japan
8.2::Megan's Conclusions
9.1::Trying To Be Cool
9.2::The Fire Alert
10::Quinn goes insane.
10.1::The National Science Fair
10.2::Nevel Alias Howard Paige
10.3::Envious Quinn
10.4::Zero Gravity
11::The Demo
11.1::Megan meets Nevel.
11.2::The Heart Of The Engine
12::The apple came down.
12.1::The Banappple Shrub
12.2::The Undead Nymph
13::Lance And Zoey
14::Another Snark Attack
14.1::Juicy Toons
14.2::Old Radio Revisited
15::The Stench Killer
16::Blix Versus Bristow
17.2::Record Show
17.3::Sculpture Of Many Motions
18::Customer Of The Week
19::Interesting Observation
19.2::The Preferred Customer
20::Beauty Pageant
21.1::Henry Doheny
21.2::The Half A Million Dollar Car
21.3::Malcolm Reese comes down.
21.4::Lame Tricks
22::Visitors' Day
22.3::The End Of The Stampede
23:: Leo Bradford
24::Zoey's Departure
24.1::In The Middle Of The Classes
24.2::Moving Abroad
24.3::Zoey's Request
25.2::Chase's Confession
25.3::Looking For Caterina
26::Wayne and Trina
27::The Locker Halls Of Hollywood Arts
28::The Lion Sleeps Tonight
28.1::Coco The Zombie
28.2::Chase is gone.
29::Off To Yosemite Park
30::A Grisly Discovery
31::James Garrett
32::The Early Years
32.1::Spring Break In San Diego
32.2::Charles Galloway
34::Boots are made for walking.
35::Faye Dunnaway
37::The End Of Sushi Rox
37.1::Carly switches schools.
37.2::Kazu Dying
37.3::The Past Of Sushi Rox
38::Michael's Girlfriends
39::Trouble In London
41::A Fatal Dinner At Vaccaro
41.1::Looking For A Private Date
41.2::Restaurant Of Vanity
42::Leann Carter
43::The End Of Dean Rivers
44.1::Spreading The News
44.2::Fear Of Rollercoasters
45::Silver Hammer Society
45.1::Reactions In London
45.2::Silver Hammer
46::Junior Prom Preparations
46.1::James's Amulet
46.2::Chase is back.
47::Redstone Gulch
48::Mr. Takato
48.1::Grapes And Tuna
48.2::Fake Prom Date
48.3::Interrogating Takato
49::The Poimander
49.1::Dustin's Return
49.2::Gibby At PCA
49.3::The Conjuration
49.4::Saving Stacey

Chapter 1. Magic Malika

1.1. The Emerald City

Malika Ritter was a middle school girl from Seattle, the "Emerald" city in the cultural heart of the state of Washington, a city known for its cool summers, and even more for its rainy winters, certainly when compared to Los Angeles, the city of great beauty and even greater malice, which happened to be the next destination of the teenager. For Malika, the term "Emerald" in the nick name of her hometown had got a special meaning not understandable by the average population of Seattle, let alone elsewhere in the world. She was by absolutely no means a normal girl, but paranormally gifted, a fact she had tried hard to hide from most of the mankind, inspite of having already earned her own nick name, "Magic" Malika, through occasional spoon bending in the cafeteria of her school, Ridgeway.

The official reason for the nickname of Seattle was probably simply the high amount of parks and forests — of course another consequence of the climate of the region, and it had been used in order to promote the local tourism.

But what whas the secret meaning seen by Malika in this seemingly innocuous epithet of the largest city of the state of Washington, even the whole northwestern quarter of the country?

The answer was to be found in some ancient looking — yet not known with certainty before the age of the renaissance — work of spiritual literature known as the Emerald Tablets Of Hermes Trismegistus. Hermes, also known as Thoth, was deemed as a messenger spreading supreme wisdom, and many alchemists of that era had considered Hermes Trismegistsus — the thrice greatest Hermes — as the keeper of the lapis philosophorum — philosopher's stone.

Malika Ritter was nowadays walking in the foot steps of those alxhemists of the great times, id est, she was looking for the philosopher's stone, and she deemed it possible that she was the one to find it properly because of the epithet of her hometown. In spite of her young age, Malika had studied various ancient languages in order to be able to decipher the works of ancient wisdom, but she knew very well that knowledge of the language as written was by absolutely no means enough in order to grasp the sense of the words of the wisdom of the ages gone by. In any case, nothing kept Malika from studying hard in order to grasp the secret meaning of the ancient legends, and she became knowledgeable faster than anyone alse. On the downside, she was deemed more and more weird by everyone at her school and by her own family, all of them mindless realists and msterialists with no sense for the profound and obscure mysteries of the spirit.

But everyone has to pay his dues for the road he chooses, and for Malika Ritter, being ridiculed and outlawed by the vulgar mass of mankind was the price to pay for her efforts to recover supreme wisdom hidden underneath the suffocating dust of the ages.

1.2. Bound For Los Angeles

For Malika, Los Angeles, inspite of its glamour, had always been a centre of darkness, the epitome of exorbitant corruption and decadence. So, this made it even less understandable why Malika, the fervent seeker of the stone of the philosophers, had chosen this one elitarian boarding school from Los Angeles County known as Pacific Coast Academy for middle school, or at least not tried to protest against her mother's decision to send her there. And she would indeed have protested against such a move with all vigour, had she not heard some message from that area making her reconsider her decision.

According to her mother, a school like Pacific Coast Academy was a good place in order to bring lofty Malika's feet back to earth. But her foolish hopes would turn out as totally vain.

Malika had had a dream of an event taking place in the outskirts of Los Angeles, a very spooky event comparable to the apocalyptic wild hunt of Norse mythology, and she had heard the people over there crying for help — Malika's help. But, in the dream, she had been too late, and now she wanted to try to correct it or at least she had got the feeling of still being able to stop the wild hunt.

1.3. Megan Parker

Megan Parker was a middle school girl from San Diego near the Mexican border and she was even slightly younger than Malika Ritter, but she had also got some paranormal abilities. For example, a few weeks ago, she had sent formerly famous illusionist and escapist artist Henry Doheny[[1]] into a state of stasis or limbo indistinguishable from death by modern materialist medics not aware of the deeper mysteries of life and death, and to awaken him after three days, right at his own scheduled funeral session, surprising the onlookers and many others.

Until then, Doheny's career had appeared to have come to an end, and this would have been the end of an era in the history of American entertainment, but the miraculous resurrection, understood as a trick solely performed by Henry Doheny without the massive help of Megan Parker, had changed his fate and compelled the makers of a varierty show in Las Vegas to gire Doheny for a new record sum hitherto unbeknownst at their theatre.

Said Megan Parker had always wanted to get away from the "boobs", videlicet her dumb materialistic brother Drake Parker, a reckless jerk and leader of the most popular and most stupid teenage band of San Diego, and her equally foolish step brother Joshuah Nichols, a geek who wanted to be a popular girl magnet like Drake, and some boarding school would have been the way to go. Well, since a few days, she had got a forboding feeling of something important going on in Malibu, and she chose exactly Pacific Coast Academy as the boarding school of her dreams. During the last years, she had tortured Drake and Josh — who had thoroughly deserved it — incessantly with various pranks, and she had now finally caused them to support her wish, just in order to get rid of her. After all, Megan had tried hard to awaken her kinsboys from some state of ignorance, apparently without much of a success, and she did not really know what she was trying to awaken them to, but she knew that their very souls were at stake, for whatever reason.

Alas, just being separated by some hundred miles from Megan would by no means make their lives any easier, a fact to be learned by them in the sequel.

Chapter 2. Pacific Coast Academy

2.1. Malika's First Hour

The sun came up from the southern Californian hill braes, and it illuminated the campus of Pacific Coast Academy, the most elitarian boarding school of California, for the begin of the new academic year.

The early bird catches the fattest worm — or so did some of the pupils think and therefore rush to their dormitory rooms in order to secure their favourite bed place. The average dormitory room at Pacific Coast Academy consisted of two bunk beds and a single one, and most pupils did have their preferences.

Malika Ritter, tired after some boring flight and several bus trips, did not necessarily care about the bed and she needed to find her way to her dormitory room in order to dispose with her luggage. Her first impression at Pacific Coast Academy all but completely confirmed her prior prejudices, or, more precisely, the concept of this place in the outskirts of Los Angeles, just a cry away from Hollywood, as that of a breeding place of imprending doom and gloom for the whole of mankind. Unlike most new students, Malika did not get impressed much by the beautiful layout of the campus, the nearby beach, the pools, the fountain in the centre of the campus, the lot of student bars, and all the other apparent distractions. She was, plain and simple, on a mission of finding out the source of her dark dream from the spring gone by and to intervene with all feasible vigour in order to correct any potential wrongs in time. The students here at Pacific Coast Academy did indeed not exactly make the impression of a terrified and panic-stricken mob crying for help, quite the contray, they were one recklessly merry fol.

Malika was now about to reach the entrance to her dormitory room, after having asked the chubby dormitory adviser, a messy woman named Coco Wexler, for directions, and then been referred to the speaker of the dormitory hall, Zoey Brooks, a blond Mary Sue who had been among the first girls at this school which was formerly restricted to boys only. Zoey's voice betrayed absolutely no fear or no intimidation and no traces of knowledge of anything uncanny that may have befallen the campus of this most elitarian prep school duyring the last year. The same was valid for any of the established students Malika Ritter had encountered so far, and maybe also for her roomies whom she ran into in this moment.

One of her roommates was Melanie Puckett[[2]], a girl, just like Malika, from the "Emerald City", but not in any way sharing Malika's interests. That was of course not unusual, given that Malika was really lofty and not at all interested in the stuff considered normal for a girl by the ignoble mass of mankind. Melanie was a cheerleader, but she was also interested in many other things, not just skreeching and hankering after the hot football players of Pacific Coast Academy. She was lucky to be here at Pacific Coast Academy in order to escaper from the exorbitantly destructive family environment back at home, a family consisting almost only of robbers and murderers, the worst of all being such as Melanie's monozygotic twin sister Samantha Puckett[[3]]. Melanie had bee given a scholarship by the state of Washington precisely in order to get away from the family horror, and she hated nothing more than getting confused with her evil twin sister. She was also often enough confused with two of her alike-looking cousins, Christina Saunders[[4]] — better known as "Prodigy", and Ann Turzo[[5]] — betterknown as "Pinky". Melanie had been one of the first female students here at Pacific Coast Academy, and Samantha had been here for a few weeks, too, enrolled using a fake name, Trisha Kirby, because of a partial witness protection programme. Melanie reported the reasons for the early expulsion of hertwin sister, "Sam had seduced some Dustin Brooks, the little brother of that blond Mary Sue, Zoey Brooks. The latter came down, and she gets everything she requests, and thus Sam had to return again to Ridgeway."

Malika Ritter had encvountered Samantha Puckett several times at Pacific Coast Academy, and she had not seen much good in that girl, or, rather, nothing at all. Sam was not only a dangerous bully, but also a totally stubborn materialist and unbeliever in the occult powers, and she often enough hurt or made fun of people that did believe, for no other reasons than their faith. Malika tried to explain her reasons for being at Pacific Coast Academy, but this was not easy, for neither Melanie nor their third room mate, Molly Talbertson[[6]], would have been able to understand her, and thence she could only blame her mother for it.

Molly Talbertson was a totally shallow boy magnet, at least that's what she wanted to pass as, but she did have her secrets as well and she could not exactly tell her room mates about her reasons for coming to such a noble prep school. Thus she only talked about the boys and the pools, this seemed to distract everyone. But, in reality, she was looking for a lost family member and had got a hint from an anonymous source found on the interweb about some weird event going on on the campus, a green tornado of some sort which had caused quite some destruction on the campus. One of their cousins was supposed to have been on the campus around that time, and he had never been seen ever since. Alas, Molly did not believe in a green tornado, and neither did she expect to be taken in any way serious when she started talking gratuitously about it.

Malika was now done with her luggage and ready for strolling the lounge in order to get to know a few more people on the campus, maybe some worthy witnesses of the catatrophe on the campus that had been the subject of her dream causing her to go voluntarily to a place like this. In any ways, the lack of witnesses which should definitely have been there, had her dream been about a real event here on the campus, did not dissuade Malika from holding tight to her assumptions about Pacific Coast Academy as a potential, no, a definitely actual breeding place of excessive doom and gloom.

2.2. Megan At PCA

The car of Drake Parker was halted in this moment at the entrance to the campus of Pacific Coast Academy. He had made it hereto in order to dispose with his mean little sister, Megan. Alas, for him, the campus looked totally inviting, with all the hot girls, and the pools, and the beach, and the campus fountain, and the bars on the campus. He had already given a concert on this campus,[[7]] like, three years ago, but the campus had grown during those years even more beautiful, and thence an excessively inviting place for yet another concert. So his main concerns were now most definitely not those of, like, helping his sister with her dormitory room and with her luggage, but rather stuff like making out with the high school girls and looking for a reason for a concert right here.

Of course Megan Parker knew her evil elder brother well enough to have seen this coming, and she was ready to take care of everything on her own, and so she left this parking spot on site without waiting for the jerkish boob. Megan was not yet sure as of what to think about this new school, for she was not going to judge by the looks, but she knew that she shad to find the hitherto unbeknownst source of her forboding feeling, as soon as possible. She was also going to look for her former, or maybe just dormant, friend Ashley Blake[[8]], a Hollywood child star of fairly great renown. Ashley and Megan had even achieved being room mates, along with Wendy Gellar[[9]], one of Megan's friends from elementary school time. Wendy and Megan had been together in a junior scout group of some sort. Wendy had been hankering like a idiot after her idol, Drake Parker, but she was by now over it, according to Megan's judgment at least.

Chapter 3. This Ol' Radio

The campus of Pacific Coast Academy itself looked very entertaining, with all of its pools and pubs and stuff like that, but the students of this exclusive boarding school needed also some other entertainment from time to time, some of the accoustic sort.

Since Zoey Brooks's invitation of fledgling rock star Drake Parker to a concert at Pacific Coast Academy, many other young stars had been called for performances to this campus, and there were regular open mike nights.

But in order to access their music anywhere and anytime on this campus, the students were definitely best off with some portable music storage. And the most mordern device on the market was the so called GO, in its improved and upgraded version even able to download a playlist and songs from the nearest GO server by means of wireless interweb access. Unfortunatly, such a miraculous work of modern technology was not easy produce, not even as a mass product, and it was thus not exactly unexpensive, something that could be a really big problem for students even at such a noble boarding school.

One of the pupils hankering with all vigour after the new GO, but — at least for the time being — unable to afford such a luxury device was one Chase Bartholomew Matthews from Connecticut, a dork with a bushy head. He was also a song texter of some sort, and thence he often imagined his hand-wriutrten lyrics to be played, one day, on the GOs of millions of students of his nation. In order to be — at least one day in far future — able to afford a new GO, Chase Bartholomew Matthews kept on working part time for Kazu Park[[10]], owner of a Japanase bar on the campus going by the name Sushi Rox, but this was a tough way, given that Kazu was not in a position of paying gazillions to his waiters and delivery boys or girls. For that avail, Chase Matthews had sent a letter to one of his grandfathers, Joe[[11]], for the necessary bucks in order to buy it as soon as possible. And today he had been informed by a messenger form the school's post office about the arrival of a parcel, probably the reply from his grandfather Joe in which Chase hoped to find a bank cheque worth the price of a new GO, or maybe even a brand new GO itself. And for this reason, Chase Matthews was all excited when opening the delivery from Baltimore in the state of Maryland, he even closed his eyes before taking a look at the contents. The parcel was too thick for a bank cheque or a few banknotes, so Chase was convinced of seeing a new GO when opening his eyes. But what was that … definitely not a new anything, but a very old fashioned electronic device, maybe a radio from before Vietnam or Corea or something.[[12]] Needless to say, Chase was as disappointed as can be, yeah, he was absolutely consternated, and then he spotted and read an attached message, "… this is all I had got for entertainment when I was a high school student. Grandpa Joe". Chase was deeply disgusted by this ruthless misery and was ready for jumping off the cliff, if there had been one on the campus.

Along came Malika Ritter, and she noticed a very sad Chase, whom she had never seen before, cringing on the rim of the fountain well. She panted thoroughly before asking the crouching lump of mishap about the situation. After listening to his complaints, she deemed that old creep a really bad guy, but she could think of a simple way out, and thence replied, "you could sell the thing to somone collecting old radios and pay enough for it to allow you to buy a new GO? "

Chase Matthews loved this idea, but he had got no clue as of how to find a possible collector of old radios, except the vague hope of using the interweb.

Malika had even got some idea concerning a potential buyer, a guy from Seattle whose younger sister, Carly, was still studying at Malika's former school, videlicet Ridgeway. This man was Spencer Shay, an utterly weird and creepy freelance sculptor collecting many things in order to make some sort of art from them, and this ol' radio looked definitely like a potential part of a new sculpture.

Chase thanked Malika for that valuable hint, worth the money for a new GO, and even much more, he was so obsessed of it, he ould not think any further, he didn't even care about the memories his grandfather must have parted with when sending him the device. He didn't even worry about the question whether he owed his grandfather Joe something in turn when selling the radio for lots of bucks, for the old creep had never declared it as a gift. And it is not lawful to sell things you have just borrowed, especiallly without the knowledge or against the will of the lender. Chase was not the lord of the law and could not simply push it aside just because of his obsession with the new GO.

Malika Ritter walked away and left Chase alone. She was going to find for him the address of Spencer Shay and help him establish a contract because she pitied him so much, for whatever reason, and not just because of the GO. Malika sensed strongly that Chase Bartholomew Matthews had gone through some traumatic experiences during the last month, or year, and maybe there was even a connection to the subject of the dream that had got Malika interested in Pacific Coast Academy in the first place. Malika did not want to stir in the pupils' painful memories, or even lost memories, of the last year, but they were potential witnesses for Malika's mission here at Pacific Coast Academy. Malika had only been at Pacific Coast Academy for less than a week, but she had already sensed the traces of some traumatoc event tracing to the last academic year, and those traces were clearly strongest — among all students Malika had already talked to — in the aura of Zoey Brooks, and in that of Chase Bartholomew Matthews. Malika preferred to let sleeping dogs lie and concentrate on some other strange hunches, videlicet the old radio as such. Of course, the meaning of the word "old" was subject to stretching and bending, there was certainly no absolute criterium, but many things usually out of use today, albeit still maintained, traded, and collected, were infected by some kind of curse. Malika was very interested in uncovering the origin of curses and what the buddhists know as "karma", so she was naturally curious about the history of the nowadays oldfashioned and thoroughly obsolete device. She did not want Chase Bartholomew Matthews to get randomly involved in some ugly issue predating even his birth. Was there a connection between this old radio and the event that was supposedly behind the nightmare that had pushed Malika into caring about this school in the first place? This was very well possible, at least in Malika's estimation of the situation. But how was this possible, given that the radio had only arrived at Pacific Coast Academy a few hours ago and thus impossibly around during the last academic year or even earlier here at Pacific Coast Academy? This appeared like a weak spot in Malika's argumentation, but maybe Chase's assumption that this radio had been sent by his grandfather, Jospeh Matthews, was flawed from the beginning, or, even if it was correct, the radio device had been around on the campus already during the last academic year, maybe even earlier? There was certainly a lot of space for speculations, and Malika may have applied her psychometric abilities in order to detect some curse attached to this radio, but she needed a solid proof, and she was still very far from one. But it would certainly be for the better of the students if Malika Ritter found an answer to her questions pretty soon, as an event such the apparently forgotten disaster from last year could otherwise come back, and appear stronger than ever before.

Chapter 4. The PCA Ring

The Pacific Coast Academy had got many annual events, and this impending Saturday night it was time for one of them, the infamous middle school talent show. Many students had been discovered by the Hollywood business at the occasion of this regular event and were now famous in the whole of California, or the whole nation, or the whole world, whatever.

Magic Malika was not really interested in fame and glory, at least not the fame of Hollywood, a very decadent form of popularity in her eyes, and she was already a high school girl and thus not allowed to participate in such a contest for middle school pupils, except, of course, as an assistant of a middle school kid, but she was still interested in attending this event because she had heard about some participants trying to perform some classic variety tricks. As a mistress of psychokinesis and psychopathy, Malika was certainly interested in taking a look at the kids' more or less impressive efforts.

One of the middle school kids up for performing at tonight's talent show was aforementioned Dustin Brooks, little brother of a barbie-doll like Mary Sue, a situation with both upsides and downsides. His sister Zoey had been here at Pacific Coast Academy with Dustin since girls were allowed, and she had always been fairly protective, to the extent of getting his eveil ex-girlfriend Samantha Puckett alias Trisha Kirby fired on site after Sam had used him like dirt. But Dustin felt often enough rather suffocated by her actions. On the other hand, Zoey was nowadays too much occupied with her agesakes, and thus she was normally, unless in cases of emergency such as Samantha's aforementioned onslaught on Dustin's virtue and his integrity, emotionally cold and distant, at least much colder than ten years before. And Dustin was suffering from this a lot, especially on days like this one. Zoe was not going to attend the talent show in order to cheer him up, but she preferred to go to some book presentation by a certeain Jadie Hawthorn,[[13]] her favourite chick flick author. And this preference made Dustin Brooks infinitely sad, hardly allowing him to practise appropriately for his big time in the talent show. He wanted to saw a "virgin" into half, a really classical trick, but his virgin would probably be his room mate Robbie "Scooter" Carmichael[[14]].

Robert Carmichael was a new student at Pacific Coast Academy, and he was at the same time annoyingly curious and cowardly, a very bad combination. He came from San Diego, more precisely, he had lived across the street from the residence of the parkers and Nichols, videlicets Drake Parker, Josh Nichols, and Megan Parker. Robbie's parents had decided to send him to Pacific Coast Academy already before Megan's decision, and it had certainly been a reason helping Megan's mom, Audrey, to come to the same decision, but there must have been others, more mysterious ones not understood by Robbie. In any case, he knew his neighbourhood girl as very critical and little forgiving, and she would be present tonight and watch his performance, making him even a whole lot more nervous than ever before. For that avail, Robbie squealed and shivered like a complete idiot and begged Dustin to release him from the black box, the coffin to be divided into half by Dustin's razor-sharp saw blade.

Zoey Brooks stumbled in and cried, "Dustin, I need your help, would you please part with your PCA-Ring? Otherwise Logan won't date Stacey, and Stacey won't let Michael make his grandma's ravioli for Coco, and then she won't give me a lift downtown to the book shop."

Both Logan and Michael were room mates of Chase Matthews, a very explosive blend, no matter what, and a source of permanent trouble here at Pacific Coast Academy.

Stacey Dillsen was the least popular girl in Zoey's classes, and nobody wanted to have to do anything with her, maybe because of her slurred speech, but maybe also because of her weird addiction with cotton swabs and white glue.

Said ring represented a stringray — the crest animal of Pacific Coast Academy — biting his own tail. Dustin had won it in a fair bet against Logan Reese, the teenage dandy of Hollywood. That foolish room mate of Chase Matthews, and son of the most famous Hollywood producer — Malcolm Reese[[15]] had believed in salsa-eating bunnies, and thence Dustin was by absolutely no means willing to part with this. The ring was something he was too proud of and would have wanted at almost any price, except maybe … he wanted even more to have a decent "virgin" for this trick. "Get Lola as my assistant, and Logan may have this ring back!"

Fledgling Hollywood starlet Lola Martinez was one of Zoey's roomies, and the hottest girl in her classes.

In this moment, Malika Ritter's roaming gaze hit the aforementioned ring of Dustin Brooks, and she noticed the shape of a stingray biting its own tail. Unlike the great mass of students, Malika saw a lot more in the ring than just a weird posture of the school's crest beast, for she was familiar with the history of alchemy and hermeticism, id est the world view based on the ancient pseudoepigraphs assigned to Hermes Trismegistus. For a stern follower of the Emerald Tablets Of Hermes Trismegistus, the ring was thus of a particular significance and certainly to be protected from profanisation. She had encountered Logan Reese a few times on the campus, certainly not very often, but it was enough for seeing that this guy, among all of the students of Pacific Coast Academy, was in no way able to appreciate the symbolism of the tail-devouring beast, or, in Greek, ouroboros.

Malika could by no means allow for the profanisation of the holy symbol and thence needed to prevent the deal suggested by Dustin at any cost, but she saw no way to tell Dustin about the reasons. Even in Dustin's hand, the ring was not really safe, but still infinitely much better off than in those of a Logan Reese.

In this moment, Megan Parker showed up in order to criticise Robbie Carmichael's impossible attempt of passing as a virgin and stuff. She panted heavily before intervening, and then she grunted, "OK, Dustin, you see, this is not going anywhere, so I suggest to be your assistant, and I may guarantee a much better trick than any you have ever dreamt of." She had revived the career of Henry Doheny, and she would most definitely be able to turn Dustin's little trick into a hell of a performance.

Robbie Carmichael sighed for excessive relief, and, even without waiting for Dustin's answer to Megan's vague suggestion, he jumped out of his box and ran away like a duck.

Dustin looked consternated, but he had never bee content with Robbie as an assistant, either, and he did not really know what to think about Megan's idea.

Megan Parker continued, "So, just give your best, and leave the rest to me, leave it all to me![[16]]" While saying this, Megan gazed at her class mate in a totally penetrant grimace, but, at the same time, she was able to exhibit her puppy eyes.

Dustin sighed deeply, but he could not help but following Megan's uncanny suggestion, even without understanding what she was up to.

Zoey Brooks was most disappointed, and she walked away without saying another word. Her hopes of getting in time to the book shop in Malibu where Jadie Hawthorn was going to present her new chick flick novel had just dwindled to zilch.

Malika had never seen Megan before, but she sensed she could trust her and was happy about her intervention, preventing the ring from falling into the utterly wrong hands, id est those of Logan Reese, the embodiment of stubborn materialism. But she had also got to think hard about the tail-biting stingray of the ring, and especially its history which was possibly the key to understanding the uncanny mystery of Pacific Coast Academy. How had the stingray been chosen as a crest animal of Pacific Coast Academy, in the first place, and when and by whom had the decision been made to produce this ring in the likeness of an ouroboric stingray? Finding answers to questions like this one could turn out essential for the purpose of preventing a catastrophe much worse than the one all students at Pacific Coast Academy seemed to have forgotten about.

Chapter 5. Snarked

Dean Carl Rivers, the headmaster of Pacific Coast Academy, appeared in front of the middle school kids of Pacific Coast Academy and of other onlookers in order to open this year's edition of the Pacific Coast Academy middle school talent show. He was up to giving a boring speach, which was business as usual for most headmasters of most schools and probably not popular among the students, but Dean Rivers did not care at all about their feelings.

The first half of the talent show, however, was moderated by David Bender, one of the most popular teachers at Pacific Coast Academy. He had got a toddling son, who, for the duration of his task here at the talent show, was guarded by future Hollywood diva Lola Martinez. The pedagogue was not completely convinced of this decision, as he knew the starlet as a bit absentminded and impractical, at least from time to time, just like all divas. But now he had to announce the performance of another diva that happened to be Ashley Blake , aforementioned Hollywood child star, a championess of short monologues and of speechless acting.

Ashley entered the stage slowly in order to bathe in the applause of her fellow pupils and other onlookers, and she was accustomed to showers of applause since her childhood when she had her first rôle in a very successful Hollywood movie produced by Malcolm Reese. And tonight she was up to performing a pantomimic dance she had already practised for a former movie rôle of hers, a movie that got never released, though, due to some discrepancies between the opinions of Malcolm Reese and the network in charge with the broadcast. Needless to say, Ashley had not exactly been pleased by this outcome of the history of that movie, and she was now filled with some significant amount of anger, not necessarily the best motivation for a number at a talent show, but nevertheless one that — at least sometimes — worked out very well. So, Ashley started with her breathtaking performance, and she was most certainly going to impress many people in tonight's audience, but was it going to be enough when compared to the presentation by the other participants?

Ashley had harvested an insane amount of applause, but Dustin Brooks had not yet abbandoned all of his hopes, although his new assistant,Megan, was still absolutely uncanny in his judgment. He was still disappointed by Zoey's absence and was now hell bent on proving her that she had made a grave and absolutely regrettable mistake in preferring "her" Jadie Hawthorn over him. And now he had to concentrate full force on his presentation, but he was also forced to rely completely on his last-minute assistant Megan and her totally scary promises, a very frail confidence, given that they had not had any time available in order to practise this number together. With Megan locked into the black box, Dustin started fumbling with his big-toothed saw before hurling this tool aloft and swinging it down on the middle section of the coffin.

Megan Parker had closed her eyes when she heard the sound of Dustin's saw, a treacherously vibrating sound coming closer and closer. Of course she knew very well that the blade of Dustin's saw was absolutely no danger, but she did not want the sadistic onlookers to know that, and thus she squealed, "eew, that tickles …". But seconds later, Megan did something completely unpredicted and unanticipated, videlicet she suspended her own nervous activity on will, an action one big step upward from what she had done the year before in order to revive the career of Doheny. Back then, she had used her telepathic powers in order to make the master illusionist suspend his brain power temporarily, and she had made him, once more using her telepathical abilities, in order to reassume the same neurophysiological processes after three days of inactivity. And now she was not going to try to apply this thoroughly macabre-sounding procedure to someone else, but to herself, which was conceivably more difficult, as it implied the necessity of a very fine control of your vital essence. She counted down the seconds: five … four … three … two … and the Rubicon had been crossed …

Dustin did try his best in order to be able to concentrate on his own actions, even though he was ultimately not unable to worry about Megan.

The masses of naïve onlookers started squealing hysterically when Megan appeared totally liveless. Their terrified impression increased when spotting a warm, red liquid gush forth from a hole in the coffin box, of course a liquid supposed to be blood.

Even Dustin, after being done with his "bloody" work, was consternated when seeing the face of lifeless Megan protrude from the front hole of her black box.

This did nothing in order to tranquillise the sadistic onlookers who kept on freaking out more and more, in a typical wave of mass hysteria.

Alas, all of a sudden, hitherto cryptobiotic Megan started filling with life again, second after second, and she finally panted and yelled. "I am back! Strawberry syrup anyone?"

Dustin felt his heart jump up and down, float through the ceiling and plummet into the basement, and he was not able to talk clearly, but left stammering.

The biggest deal of the audience was now even more flabbergasted by Megan's unimaginable revitalisation than by her preceding state of uncertain limbo. Once recovering from the shock, all those onlookers would for sure deem Dustin's and Megan's performance the best thing happening at any talent at Pacific Coast Academy during the last years. But all of a sudden, more and more members of the audience started calming down and react in a way as if there had not been anything strange and uncanny going on during the last minutes on this stage.

Malika was in the audience and noticed the strange transformation of the audience from a panic stricken mob into a mass of every day people in a normal situation. But, after looking around, the witch from the "Emerald" city noticed a strange rabbit-sized monster with a weird gaze, a monster she remembered as a snark.[[17]] The glance and the squeal of those evil creatures had got the ability of turning people oblivious of almost all of the recent events, especially terrifying ones. Wild snarks did impossibly make it into a hall full of people on their own, thus this particular beast must have been introduced into this location by some human and used deliberately in order to make kids forget about the mysterious miracle that had just occurred in front of their faces. And, all of a sudden, Malika had got a plain and simple explanation for the fact that none of the pupils at Pacific Coast Academy appeared to remember the wild hunt or whatever had been going on on this campus during the last academic year, an event that had alerted Malika in one of her dreams and instigated her to come to Pacific Coast Academy in order to investigate the situation. As an advanced witch, Malika was immune to the pernicious gaze of the snark. And she assumed the same to be valid for Megan Parker. But the rest of the pupils had fallen prey to the owner of the snark. Maybe said intruder had actually deemed it a nice thing to make people forget about their traumas and to prevent an escalation of the mass hysteria. But on the long run, this was going to be deadly mental poison for mankind, and Malika had to do something about it, the sooner the better.

Megan Parker sighed deeply because the audience had lost its memory, and Dustin had apparently done the same. And she was aware of the fact that nobody would believe her or Malika, whom she now recognised fully as a fellow seeress and thaumaturge. She was sad because she would have liked Dustin to win the talent show for their miraculous performance, but this was now impossible. She needed to gang up with Malika and fight against the threat of Lethe, the pernicious demon of forgetfulness, before mankind would be lost in eternal oblivion.

Chapter 6. Cedarwood Smoke

6.1. Death Of A Granduncle

Dustin had forgotten about the events at the talent show after the performance of Ashley Blake, the winner of the event, but he had not forgotten about his sister's absence because she had to go to the book presentation by her chick flick mistress. Zoey had actually made it there because Drake Parker had given her a lift downtown, and Drake had been around in order to watch Megan's performance at the talent show, as promised, but he had been distracted by Zoey — whom he had already known and appreciated three years ago at the occasion of his first concert at Pacific Coast Academy — and thereupon chosen to change his plans. And today, only two days after aforementioned dramatic yet forgotten evening, Dustin had got message of the death of a remote relative named Morris[[18]], but he was OK with that, for he had not been really acquainted with that old man who was, according to what he had left for his grand niece Zoey, probably into the meat industry. Dustin did not care about the circumstances of the death of uncle Morris, all he cared about was the taste of fried pork middles with barbecue salsa, steamed vegetables, and white bread.

The blond Mary Sue was now left with a truck load of pork middlings and the necessity to get them consumed before they would rot away under the warming and thence rapidly germ-breeding Californian sun. The cafeteria had of course got sort of a huge cooled storage, but this was already reserved for official deliveries and had not got endless storage space for the students' additional needs. She decided thereupon in favour of a barbecue contest to be held on the campus of the school the weekend after, and she had already got a superviser and judge for that event, videlicet Coco Wexler, the annoyingly unreliable and totally mindless matron who had been assigned as a dormitory adviser for the girls by Dean Rivers. The latter had accidentally encountered star cook Pierre Le Mange[[19]], the master cook from Cooking Channel when shopping in downtown Malibu.

Malika did not trust that creep called Pierre Le Mange, neither the real cook nor the guy pretending to be said highly ranked star chef, and it was not just that she sensed him a charlatan or a con artist, no, she doubted nothing less than his humanity, plain and simple. Of course, nobody except possibly Megan Parker would be able to believe her statements about the potentially true nature of "Le Mange" — that of an undead — or about the threat he posed — with a probability almost approaching certainty — to the pupils on the campus.

6.2. Liquid Candle

The same day, Quindelyn Pensky, a nerdy genius girl from Seattle, had lit one of her inventions, a liquid candle meant to last forever, but she had apparently fumbled something and got the whole mess to blow up into the face of her boyfriend Mark del Figgalo, torching his eyebrowes off. She was ready to invent on site something capable of restoring her loverboy's lost hair as soon as possible. Whenever one of her inventions went awry, Quinn was up to fix it on site with a new invention, albeit with even more side effects. Thus she came up immediately with a very powerful capillary growth accelerator, too powerful for anyone's taste. The consequences adorning certain spots of Quinn's and Msark's now quite bushy skin were certainly gross. But no misfortune of that sort would ever make Quinn Pensky lose her faith in science and in her self as the crown of human intelligence.

6.3. The Barbecue Festival

And this was finally the fervently awaited day of the great barbecue festival here on the campus of Pacific Coast Academy.

Megan Parker and Malika Ritter had tried hard to do their best to find a way to get rid of the threat without having to sound insane to the vulgar and corrupted mass of pupils and teachers.

Megan wanted to gather pieces of proof for denouncing the fake Le Mange. But she needed to prevent the worst possible first, and this implied the necessity of getting rid of him before he could kill or, even worse, sway other pupils of Pacific Coast Academy. Many undead were highly contagious, both physically and mentally, to say the least, and most undead had long since become immune to the classic tricks like garlic — which was possibly contained in the spice preparations used for the barbecue chops — and sunlight. In order to get some better control over the event, Megan had talked her friend Gary Coleman[[20]], inventer of a fairly popular portable barbecue set, into sponsoring the barbecue fest. Once upon a time, Megan had helped him to get back at counterfeiters or thieves selling his works, so Gary definitely owed her a lot, and he was willing to intervene. As an inventer of cooking equipment he was very interested in the kitchen channel, and he knew Le Mange very well, well enough to be able to tell him from any fakes. Middle school kids like Megan and Dustin were not yet allowed to operate the barbecue sets, though, because the smouldering charcoal was deemed too dangerous for tweens. As a result, Megan was sidelined at this event until it was declared safe for them, and she had to wait from her lounge and could only hope for Coleman to do the right thing in the right moment.

The first streaks of charcoal smoke was now already filling the air, and Coco and "Pierre Le Mange" started going from booth to booth in order to inspect the results of the kids's barbecue practice.

Stacey Dillsen was utterly proud of her team, Ribs And Swabs, but she had committed the irreparable mistake of leaving one of her cotton swabs in the barbecue sauce.

This was unacceptable for the "star cook", and he had to disqualify Stacey's team on site.

Megan saw the cotton swab princess running away, filled with terror and disappointment — another proof for "Pierre Le Mange" being soulless. The most likely to win was the team of Logan Reese and Chase Bartholomew Matthews due to their world renowned spice mixture, "Reese Rib Rub". Megan shared Malika's opinion about Logan Reese as the uttermost "boob" residing on the campus, and probably likely to use illegal spices in order to win the contest. She had once upon a time fooled Drake and Josh into admitting to the usage of puff pepper in their salsa submitted to a similar cooking contest and got them disqualified.[[21]] But this was probably impossible with a fake judge like the creep pretending to be no other than Pierre Le Mange.

And in this moment, Gary Coleman intervened and dared to declare "Pierre Le Mange" a fake, a really dary action in front of hundreds of fans of the second to highest ranking chef of the biggest kitchen channel of the nation, and he explained, "the real Pierre Le Mange is allergic to he smoke of certain kinds of wood, including cedar wood, and the team of this guy here uses cedar wood charcoal."

Said guy was Darren Alexander[[22]], and he wore a tank top saying "Kiss The Cook". Now he was even more consternated because the whole barbecue had turned this way.

But Logan Reese and his competitor Michael Barret, whose family owned the recipe for one of America's best barbecue marinades, were even more upset because, as they admitted in the moment of seeing the faker run away, they had bribed him before the contest. Logan had payed him a lot of money, while Michael had given him a typical "Barret Back Rub".

This bribery cried for severe consequences to be excuted rigorously at any cost, but Malika was not sure that Dean Rivers was interested in letting justice rule. Rather, Malika Ritter could be glad about having gotten rid of the fake chef pretty soon, before he had caused probably more damage, or any damage at all. But now he was most likely to take another shape and impersonate another famous person, so Malika had to be very careful. It was playing with rampant hell fire, dangerous to the touch, and who plays with fire will perish by the fire unless carefully prepared.

Chapter 7. Nevelocity

7.1. The iCarly Show

Carly Shay, aforementioned Seattle girl and alike looking cousin of Megan Parker, had recently started her own web show, nowadays known as iCarly, aided by her friends Samantha Puckett and Fredward Benson. The show had started turning very popular within just a few weeks, especially here on the campus of Pacific Coast Academy. This was most likely due to the enthusiastical announces spread by Melanie Puckett, sister of Sam and room mate of Malika.

Megan did no longer trust her cousin really that much that much, as opposed to their pre-school times, since she was mighty disappointed by Carly's completely absurd choice of friends, videlicet Samantha Puckett, a girl way beyond any threshold of acceptability, and Fredward Benson, a dangerous blend between a ridiculously naïve geek and an incorrigibly horny pervert. Each one of them would have been absiolutely bad company for Carly, but their combination beat everything and could mean absolutely no good for Carly. Megan wished badly that her cousin had stuck with her former best friend, Melissa Robinson[[23]], the daughter of a colleague of Carly's dad, nowadays an airforce officer travelling the world and the seven seas in some green submarine. Needless to say, she was not very keen of Carly's show and deemed it suited "for boobs only".

7.2. Nevel Papperman

Nevel Papperman was an excessively smart tween boy from Seattle, the emerald city, albeit from a different quarter than Malika, Carly, or her friends, and thus he had never encountered them in real life. He was running the biggest amateur web site of Seattle, a site named Nevelocity and dedicated to discussing everything interesting on the interweb, especially sites based in Seattle. He had been requested by Carly Shay to review her web show for his renowned interweblog. Today, Carly Shay was at his home for an interview, but she had behaved in the most impossible manner and sneared his face with tapenade, some green southern French salsa. Of course Carly Shay would get the deserved bad critics for her lame web show. Granted, he had kissed her cheeks without a warning, but this had been a total confusion and not without a good reason, videlicet a recent dream in which a girl in the likeness of Carly Shay appeared, surrounded by a luminescent gloriole, and told Nevel to come hither, a girl reveiling herself as a leader to great mysteries. In addition, he had recently written a poem for a school play about kisses, and he had tried to make it into Carly's shows in order to read some of his poems. Nevel had apparently also scared Carly with his extremely sensitive sniffling prowess and his ability to warm his hands over a video of a campfire while listening to his seelf composed music in the style of the great composers of the late nineteenth century, but had this been a reason for Carly Shay to turn completely insane and act in such an utterly perverted manner? Nevel had now cursed Carly Shay, telling her to rue the day until the times of dystopia.

7.3. Megan likes Nevel

Malika had heard from Melanie about the — in Sam's sister's opinion — unfair manner in which Nevel had treated Carly and her web show. Thereupon, Malika was turning excessively curious, and she started researching Nevelocity and Nevel Papperman on the interweb, for she sensed some deeper mystery behind this most exciting personality, and of course she shared this information with Megan Parker. She had also heard from Melanie about the incident with the pot of tapenade.

After some short but fairly intensive research and a critical evaluation of Nevelocity, Megan was now also fascinated by the achievements of Nevel Paperman, but she had got a creepy feeling because of looking similar to her impossible cousin, and, even more, she had to defend Carly, not because Carly had acted correctly — Megan knew it better — but because it was properly the fault of Carly's false friends, videlicet Samantha Puckett and Fredward Benson. Nevertheless, she decided to leave a message in the mailbox of Nevelocity for Nevel Papperman, telling him about the cool properties of his critical and objective interweb site, but also in order to talk to him about Carly Shay. She did not refrain from identifying herself as a cousin of the culprit, although she feared triggering Nevel's bias in this manner. And there was another reason for Megan why she was interested in the person of Nevel Papperman, videlicet his ability to play the recorder and the piano. He was, according to Nevelocity, giftedd with absolute audition. And Megan Parker was an excessively talented solo oboe, and she was certainly looking for someone to accompany and bck her up with his instrument or his voice, or even with his compositions that Megan had found on his site.

And, indeed, still excessively angry Nevel had sent a quick reply, with a request for a web chat as soon as possible, and if only for the reason of insulting the whole unholy family.

After a bit of fumbling, Megan had got the web connection up and running, and she was now ready to talk to the mysterious nerd from the Emerald city, but was only ready to enter the appropriate buttons after suspiring deeply and closing her eyes. "I've heard mysterious tales knitted about you …"

Nevel was very excited as well, and now he saw the face of the girl at the other end of the connection, and he noticed its great similarity with that of Carly Shay. Confused, he could not help repeating his menaceful words, "Carly Shay, do you rue the day, do you rue it? You rue it! Until the age of dystopia …"

Megan was not at all flabbergasted, but she liked Nevel's style of threatening Carly and her shallow web show — using a word as exorbitantly wonderful as "dystopia" — of course especially because Carly had deserved it after all due to sticking to her two fake friends. "OK, Nevel, what happened that cursed afternoon, the hour when you met my cousin Carly in your home for the first time, or maybe only time?" She did not want to torture him with bad memories, so she talked very calmly, without her usual more or less subtle fits of irony.

Nevel went through the whole dirty hour once more, and he also told her, inspite of feeling already bad, about his dream, the reason for his demeanour towards Carly. And then he choked and thought in the back of his head, "Megan looks the same way, and she may certainly be the girl with the gloriole from my dream, the gateway to deeper mysteries."

Megan remarked, "oh, I think I know the girl of your dream, and it is not Carly, but one of her alike looking relatives."

Nevel, aware that Megan's words made a lot of sense, had to agree, although he was better off being careful, but he was remining silent, for, the more he had to thinka about Megan, the more sense her words made. And then he spotted an obboe in her hands, a really cool instrument in his eyes, ad instrument only suited for musicians with style, as completely opposed to insane noise makers such as most teenage rock bands of that day.

Megan Parker was sure that she had just found nothing less than a soul partner and an ally in her fight against some foggy threat from a dimension different from reality, or maybe a dimension even more real than what was commonly conceived as reality, or maybe just a better view of reality. Many mysterious tales were to be investigated, and with a partner like Nevel Papperman, things would come along a whole lot easier.

Chapter 8. Killer Ninjas

8.1. Big In Japan

Middle school boy Dustin Brooks was working on and off as an errand boy for Logan Reese, the excessively shallow-minded teenage dandy of Hollywood, and thus earning the bucks necessary for his addictions, for example, to candy. His sister Zoey did not approve of this, as she imagined Dustin to get abused by the spoiled rich pervert, but she was by no means able to dissuade him from doing so. Today, Dustin was fetching a parcel from the post office, a parcel sent by Logan's father Malcolm, who was currently working in Japan for the production of a new movie, Kingzilla.[[24]] This was definitely a movie of the horror genre, and certainly not suited for tweens like Dustin, but, at least occasionally, curiosity could be totally overwhelming for a boy like him, notwithstanding all warnings, especially those issued by his elder and overprotective sister. Dustin did not yet know about the contents of the parcel, but he knew that he wanted to know it, for boys of his age thought it cool to do things usually reserved for older boys and young adults, and they earned a lot of popularity this way.

As Dustin arrived in the lounge of "Maxwell Hall", the dormitory block of the high school boys, he was already awaited by Logan Reese and his two room mates, videlicet Chase and Michael. Logan was already impatient, which, of course, was nothing new for him, and something Dustin was already thoroughly accustomed to, or so he believed. Excessively excited Logan Reese told him and his pals about the contents of the parcel that was just about getting opened by Dustin. Finally, it's content was reveiled, including, among other things, yet another Japanese horror movie named Shinnusha[[25]] — illegal in many American states and restricted for mature adults in others — and also some sort of a cellular phone named J-phone, probably with all the whistles and bells lacking in Dustin's current favourite mobile phone, the tek-mate.[[26]] More precisely, as explained in this moment by Logan, the J-phone was the only one able to download even more Japanese horror movies over night from the interweb — of course for a rather high fee, and it was still illegal throuhout the United States of America, for whatever reasons. For Dustin, this sounded totally cool, and he was up to watching Shinnusha and more Japanese horror movies with the juniors. Zoey had also arrived during those minutes, and she was little pleased by the thought of children watching those abominable horror shows, and of course she was absolutely opposed to Dustin watching them. But Dustin was not going to buy into his elder sister's warnings in any way: Totally to the contrary, he had got some really evil plan. As aforementioned, Dustin felt having been more and more neglected and ignored by his elder sister during the last year, and he wanted her to care about him a lot more, just as in the good old times. So, in order to trick Zoey into spending more time with him, his plan was that of watching Shinnusha with the big boys, and thereupon pretend to be intimidated beyond any imaginable reason, This, or so he assumed, would be enough of a reason for Zoey to let him even sleepover in her dormitory room, "101 Brenner Hall", even if her room mates Quinn and Lola protested. Of course doing something of that kind was strictly against the rules of the school, especially the curfews for boys in girls' dormitory rooms, but Zoey knew very well to distract dormitory adviser Coco Wexler, for example by means of using a can of ravioli, and, even more, to talk her way out of an interrogation by Dean Rivers, the — usually — stern and — occasionally — excessively grumpy headmaster of Pacific Coast Academy.

8.2. Megan's Conclusions

Megan Parker was aware of Dustin's intention to watch the Japanese horror movies during the looming night, but he had not told her about his real plans and motivations. Nevertheless, Megan sensed the very purpose of his plan, and she could by absolutely no means take any ill of that, because she had experienced a whole host of similar problems with her "boobs", videlicet with Drake and Josh. So many times had she tried to spend more time with them, but in a reasonable manner, and she had been turned down rudely by those worthless perverts. She wished Dustin to be successful with his plans and thence be able to show Zoey how much he needed her, something she had never really been able to do with Drake, even by feigning to date some totally disgusting guy named Corey Matthews.[[27]] Well, she had also dated him in order to get at her favourite Japanese candy which Corey was a source for, but she had never really come anywhere near to liking Corey. She had already heard vaguely about Shinnusha, and she knew about its main "attraction", videlicet a pack of frenzying ninjas hunting down their victims and chopping them to death with chop sticks. Maybe chop sticks were namded like that because of their usage in Shinnusha … yes, this did indeed sound like a concentrated charge of uncanny horror, but it was way more bearable than the terror that — according to Malika's dream — had almost laid waste the campus of Pacific Coast Academy, no more than a year ago, but which had ever since been forgotten, probably because of the aforementioned snarking, and even that was indeed nothing when compared to the looming dangers of a zombie invasion taking over the country. A bunch of killer ninjas had got the potential of mutilating and destroying your body, but a zombie invasion was totally capable of corrupting and stealing your soul. Megan sensed strongly that some of the students here were already in the process of turning into zombies, as he had assumed since some year or so in the case of Drake and Josh. She was aware of the impossibility of saving everyone, and she assumed some of the students of Pacific Coast Academy to be lost for good, no matter what, such as Logan Reese. But this was no excuse for fighting against the further diffusion of the problem. Maybe she would be able to change — in the heads of the normal students — the mentality of those hearing without actually listening before the descent of the greater evil upon mankind. The most important lesson she had to teach her fellow pupils was the following: It was not sin or disobedience of any kind, but ignorance which fuelled the process of turning mankind into zombies, and only awareness of the ongoing mysteries of life and death would save them. Dustin Brooks, or so was Megan convinced, was still up for salvation, but he needed to free himself, or to get freed, from the totally destructive influence of those who were already lost, including especially guys like Logan Reese, just as cousin Carly needed top be saved from Sam's devastatingly obnoxious impact. There were certainly many hopeful cases like Dustin Brooks, both on this campus and elsewhere, and Megan had to act as fast as can be in order to save as many of them as possible or necessary, whatever. Finally, Megan was still urged to decipher and to decode the secrets hidden in Dustin's ring, the tail-devouring stingray, of whose significance he was probably not yet aware, but which would have the potential of turning out as the key to his salvation and that of many others. Malika had told Megan about the significance of the ouroboros in the cults of the ancients, a symbolism as impressive and accurated today as it had been back then.

Chapter 9. Terrified

9.1. Trying To Be Cool

Dustin's plan had been a plain success. Logan had let him readily watch the whole movie and even sponsored the pop corn or whatever snacks those hade been, they did not taste bad. The ninjas had been terrifying even for Dustin, though, wherever they came people would squeel for panic and stampede like a flock of hunted wild game. He was now talking to the girls of his class about this cool experience, videlcet to Megan Parker, Ashley Blake, Wendy Gellar, and Cassandra Baldwin.[[28]] This way, he hoped to impress the ladies and be considered as one of the coolest seventhgraders of Pacific Coast Academy, a goal he had already tried to achieve — after dozens of previous futile attempts — at the talent show, but which had gone awry for a reason Dustin could not even remember. Alas, running to your big sister in order to look for comfort was definitely nothing to be proud of or considered cool for, and for that avail, Dustin refrained from mentioning what happened after the movie, videlicet how he had snuck into Zoey's dormitory room in order hide form the dark ninjas. But Dustin had only been fraid for a few minutes, and his real reason was still that of having missed his elder sister badly during the last weeks.

And now Megan started to mention this by asking "so, did Zoey fell for your trick, and did she believe that you were afraid of the ninja and let you sleep in her dormitory room?"

Dustin stammered, "er yes … no … maybe … ", for, apparently, he was totally embarrassed by Megan's sudden revelations of his plan, and surprised because he had not told her and was clueless how she could have known about it.

Megan panted thoroughly before trying to calm Dustin, "OK, you know what? I have got an elder brother, and you know him, Drake, and for so many years have I wished to hang out with him in a cool way, but no, bear with it, so, what you are going through is not new, and I can sympathise with you here, so, maybe I should come up with something similar in order to get Drake's attention."

Sandy Baldwin nodded solemnly and explained, "my sister Tracy,[[29]] and you know it, is really protective, but as of recent, she is more interested in her looming senior prom ball than in her little sister, so you are not alone here."

Dustin's head started turning around, but the tween boy recovered sufficiently fast from this. He had been dating Sandy for a few weeks, over a year ago, but they had broken up because their relationship had been cleverly arranged by their elder sisters behind their backs. Thus he and Sandy had decided to separate and look for a while for their own paths, just in order to show that they could do it on their own, without the interventions of Zoey and Tracy, respectively. Before that, Dustin had been dating the definitely inappropriate Samantha Puckett, back then known better as Trisha Kirby, and before that, he had got a crush on Wendy, but his class mate had had that one-sided obsession with Drake Parker which had made her blind to the boys of her age. It meant a lot for Dustin that Sandy was now not going to consider him uncool, but admitted to being up to doing something with Tracy. Wendy and Ashley did not even care about all this, and Dustin wondered whether he should be worried about these circumstances. Finally, he did not see them really significant, as Wendy had always laughed about him during her first year here at Pacific Coast Academy and had never even started thinking of him as cool, so, her careless reaction was disappointing, but not really unexpected. And in order to be deemed cool in Ashley's eyes, more things were necessary than just surviving a horror movie, you needed to be a superstar of some sorts, a movie star like Ashley herself, or maybe a top athlete like her brother Vince, former quarterback of the football team of Pacific Coast Academy, or maybe just incredibly rich and beautiful like Logan Reese. Sometimes, Dustin had rehearsed movie rôles with Ashley, and he had been treated in an utterly arrogant manner by her, not in the sense of getting insulted but in the sense of not receiving any word of gratefulness in turn. Now it was time for Dustin to persuade Zoey once more into letting him stay in her room, given that she had only consented one night, and that against the majority opinion of Lola and Quinn.

9.2. The Fire Alert

After classes, Megan had actually found a moment suitable in order to talk to Dustin from face to face without anyone intervening, and this was absolutely necessary. She sensed Dustin's deeper insecurity when she started to talk, "OK, Dustin, you have seen some terrible scenes last night, such as crazed ninjas in a frenzy, but I can't help thinking that you have gone already through much worse on this campus, and just can't remember."

Dustin's eyes bugged out, and he looked a bit flabbergasted, so he could not help stammering, "I would never forget anything as horrible as a gang on insane ninjas with chop sticks, because — I am not stupid and forgettable."

Megan shook her head, as she had never intended to denigrate Dustin's smartness, quite the contrary, she did appreciate it as opposed to the lack of intelligence of appalling jerks such as her brother Drake. There had been a fire alert during the last night in "Maxwell Hall", a dry alert though without any real danger except that of getting punished by Dean Rivers for awakening him in the middle of the night. During her first weeks at Pacific Coast Academy, especially during the barbecue festival, Megan had noticed a lot of traces of at least one former fiery accident at Pacific Coast Academy,[[30]] but anyone asked by Megan had denied the existence of such an accident during the last few years, and the pupils did indeed not behave like former witness of a fiery inferno. Megan could no longer withhold it from Dustin, and she started talking, "listen, there have been strange and potentially devastating things going on during the last few years on this campus, but nobody can remember." Then she started talking about snarks and their ability to make masses of people forget a lot of events, and the possibility of fire zombies having caused some destructive fire on the campus not too long ago.

Dustin was even afraid of some normal animals such as puppies and squirrels, and a snark was about the size of those animals, so he was much more afraid of those beasts, after having heard Megan's story.

Megan felt that she had already talked too much to Dustin and intimidated him quite a bit, definitely more than the movie about the ninja horror had done, so she decided that it was better to leave him in peace, at least for the time being, but she knew that she would have to take care of him for much more time before she cou;ld talk to him about the more important things like his ring in the likeness of a tail-chasing stingray.

Dustin returned straight to his own dormitory room, and not to Zoey's, inspite of having already persuaded her of his ongoing fears of Japanese horror ninjas with chop sticks, and inspite of still missing her. But due to Megan's reports about much bigger horrors overshadowing the events portrayed in Shinnusha, Dustin could no longer bear feigning all those false fears. He would have talked on site to his elder sister, but he was afraid of not getting taken in any way serious by her when talking about things like snarks and fire zombies.

Chapter 10. Quinn goes insane.

10.1. The National Science Fair

Malika was sitting in the lounge of her dormitory block in order to wait for Megan when Quinn Pensky, the queen of geeks, passed by, announcing some news about the national science fair.

Quinn had of course been regularly participating in those events with one or the other of her inventions, and she had never understood why she had not made it into the nationals, but the competition here in the county was already incredibly strong due to the influence of nearby California Institute For Technology, or, short, Caltech, which was also her own goal for the time after high school. Maybe some explosions of her own inventions, or, as she called them , "Quinnventions", had demolished the conficence of the judges as much as part of her equipment used during the science fairs. In California, her main competitors had always been Melinda Crenshaw from San Diego and Simon Nelson Cook from Santa Clarita. And there was also a great opponent within the gates of Pacific Coast Academy, one Wayne Gilbert, better known as "Fire Wire", whom she could not stand at all. The uncanny creep had not allowed her or other girls into the school's science club because he deemed them unworthy of science, and this had upset Quinn to no end. Luckily this year's winner of the national science fair was not one of Quinn's competitors from southern California, but a middle school guy from Colorado named Howard Paige.[[31]] inventor of a cosmic power converter, and this geek boy was expected to come to Pacific Coast Academy for a demonstration of his perfect machine. Quinn deemed that invention very interesting, because she admired the idea of tapping energy from the universe, and she was hell bent on understanding the details of the invention. But she was equally hell bent on showeing Howard Paige some of her own inventions, and it had to be one worthy of a national science fair awrd, as well, in order to demonstrate unto Howard Paige that she was still the smarter one, no matter what.

Zoey Brooks was even more excited, because she had been chosen by Dean Rivers as the one in charge with guiding Howard Paige around on the campus during his short presence.

10.2. Nevel Alias Howard Paige

Truth said, Howard Paige did not exist, it was nothing but a pseudonym for Nevel Papperman, the uncanny nerd from the Emerald city and soul mate of Megan Parker, and not really a science geek. But what exactly had made him come to participate in the national science fair, why did he have to use pseudonym, or any pseudonym at all, and why was he coming especially to Pacific Coast Academy under a fake name?

The real culprit was aforementioned Mindy Crenshaw, the smartest girl of California and at the same time a cousin of Nevel Papperman. So, what had made her use her cousin? She had deliberately lost her regionals against her boyfriend, no other than Megan's nerdy step brother Josh Nichols, in order to show him that she loved him. This sacrifice had turned out in vain, because Josh preferred to submit to the judgment of his evil step brother Drake, and Mindy needed to find another way to make it into the nationals, and even to win them. Mindy had chosen to submit under a fake name, "Paige Howard"for the contest in Colorado, a state without any real genius able to compete with even an average Californian smartie, and pawned their regionals inside out. The nationals were no problem for the mischievous genius and her power engine able to tap cosmic energy, even trumping the inventions submitted by Simon Nelson Cook. After her victory, Mindy was invited to many guest lectures and demonstrations of her supertastic and fantabulous machine, including to Pacific Coast Academy. Alas, Mindy Crenshaw was not willing to show up in person at Pacific Coast Academy, and especially not willing to face Zoey Brooks — again! Three years ago, Mindy Crenshaw had been at Pacific Coast Academy,[[32]] also using a fake name, after having been expelled from her former school, Belleview, because of an attempt of getting fellow pupil Drake Parker framed for one evil deed of hers, a deed involving the car of exorbitantly evil and perverse teacher Linda Hoefer.[[33]] On the campus, Mindy had plagiarised the fashionable design of a backpack, a design developed by Zoey Brooks, and tried to make money from it, but she got busted again for that by the blond Mary Sue. Not willing to give up completely on the unique occasion of demonstrating her devastating intellectual superiority over the whole of Pacific Coast Academy, Mindy Crenshaw had decided to ask her cousin Nevel Papperman to jump in for her, and she just had needed to make some very vague hints about some former personal troubles with one Zoey Brooks in order to get him hooked onto the project.

This was of course because Nevel was no less than keen on having a possibility to visit his beloved Megan Parker, student of Pacific Coast Academy, without having to reveil that reason. Nevel was reasonably good as a theoretical scientist, but he was definitely no engineer and inventor, so he needed Mindy's close instructions when demonstrating her breathtakingly novel approach of the topic of converting cosmic power. A microchip in his ear and a micro camera in his tie would provide him and his cousin with the necessary means for information exchange. Of course, "Paige Howard" was a girl's name, but, fortunately, reversing surname and first name was an appropriate means for correcting that fault.

10.3. Envious Quinn

Nevel had entered the campus and was already awaited by Zoey Brooks. The blond Mary Sue could not resist the evil urge to ruffle his hair, against his expressed will. Nevel moaned and called for security.

Dean Rivers told Zoey to refrain from that. After having seen thousands of malfunctioning inventions by Quinn Pensky, the headmaster of Pacific Coast Academy was eager on getting to see one that actually worked and was useful enough to convince the sponsors of the school into increasing the financial support for science at Pacific Coast Academy, and of course he wanted to see Nevel as a high school student here at Pacific Coast Academy. He started talking about this even before letting Zoey guide Nevel around.

Nevel did not mind at all coming at Pacific Coast Academy, but definitely for a different reason, more precisely, for the one and only Megan Parker. But now he had to follow the charming blonde to a variety of rooms, especially to her physics classes. Mr. Bert Beringer,[[34]] the teacher for physics for the juniors at Pacific Coast Academy, was already awaiting the genius and expected him to sit down and judge the science classes over here. Current subject were Kepler's laws of planet motion, and this also included the orbits of satellites which followed similar laws. Quinn Pensky was in these classes as well, and she explained the term geosynchronous satellite, explaining it as a satellite whose orbit is exactly above the equator. But Mindy protested via microchip, "the proper word for such a thing is geostationary. 'Geosynchronous' is something more general than that." Nevel nodded solemnly and started forwarding his cousin's complaint.

Quinn Pensky went totally pale upon getting corrected, and she feared herself turning into the laughing stock of the whole school. Maybe her time had come to withdraw from science? Now she could not afford any longer making another mistake. She had prepared an anti-gravity chamber in her own dormitory room to show Howard Paige, and this one worked better well.

Nevel was urged to stay formal and polite to his cousin's rival ad thus hurt her pride only subtly in order to make her grow slowly insane. Mindy wanted Zoey to suffer badly by having to watch her best friend go crazy, the perfect revenge for having gotten busted by the living barbie doll like three years ago.

10.4. Zero Gravity

So, this was Quinn Pensky's fabulous dormitory room and secret laboratory. Nevel spotted a strange apparatus with something looking like a melting cellular phone inside. A hot latina sitting next to it appeared less pleased by seeing the result of Quinn's experiment.

Quinn introduced the disappointed onlooker as Lola Martinez, the famous Hollywood star, and her own machine as an antigravity chamber. The Latina grunted, "you can't simply cancel gravity."

Nevel took a closer look at the misconstructed device and — of course with the help of the instructions of Mindy Crenshaw — was actually able to repair it, and make Lola's ruin of a cellular phone float for a few inches.

For Quinn Pensky, this was the last straw to break the elephant's back.

Chapter 11. The Demo

11.1. Megan meets Nevel.

Quinn had disappeaerd, all despaired, into her dormitory room, or so it seemed, and Nevel had got some free minutes. Zoey had left him alone in order to look after her second to best friend, id est Quinn Pensky. Nevel was now sneaking gracefully away into some fairly silent corner in order to call his beloved Megan Parker on his cellular phone. He was not sure about whether to inform the woman in his ear, videlicet Melinda Crenshaw, about his action, for Mindy did not know about his hitherto secret girlfriend. But was he careful enough by just trying to hide the camera by covering the tie with his vest? Finally, he typed the correct digits in order to contact his love, and, after a few seconds, got a connection successfully established. His heart was now beating at quadruple speed when he heard that one unmistakable sweet yet cunning voice at the other end, and he had to pant several times, be careful, and talk in whispers. Apparently, Megan had not expected him to be here, and Nevel had to be lucky that she was not participating in a field trip with most of the other kids of her grade, including Dustin, Ashley, and Sandy. Megan had wanted to watch the demonstration of that Howard Paige in order to be able to tell her misguided and fallen step boob Josh, a thoroughgoing failure and horribly poor escuse of a want-to-be scientific researcher, some great stories about a real scientist and his discoveries and inventions, just in order to make him rue the day of deciding to hang out with failed human beings like Drake. But they agreed quickly on meeting in some silent place in the campus garden, and Nevel knew it was better for him not to be late. Of course he had to find his way there, without bothering Zoey and alerting Mindy.

But, after ten minutes, he had made it to the spot, and Megan was already waiting for him, looking at her watch and stomping her little feet impatiently. Nevel pecked her left cheek and quoted one of his hand-written poems about kisses.

Megan grinned, grabbed Nevel's head, and smooched him soundly on the other cheek, but she was for sure also a hell of excited and hardly capable of hiding it, notwithstanding her excruciatingly cool demeanour.

Nevel suspired several times until he was able to tell Megan about his reason for being here, including his mission for his cousin Mindy, the real winner of the national science fair.

Megan Parker's eyes bugged out, and she had to admit to knowing one Mindy that was also a great science geek. Only a few seconds later did she realize that they were actually talking about the same Mindy, and precisely in a moment in which the voice in Nevel's ears, fairly familiar to Megan, started yelling, "Nevel, what are you doing?" Megan panted and boomed, "you know my perversely misguided step boob's on and off ex girlfriend?"

Equally astounded Nevel Papperman grunted, "you know my cousin, don't you?" He reveiled the microscopic camera and the microphone, allowing for Megan and Mindy to communicate somehow. Judging according to their few minced words, Megan and Mindy seemed to have been at each other's throat for quite some time, but this was no longer much of a problem.

Megan came to know that Mindy was not far away from the campus now, for she had to be in the reach of the wireless signal connecting their devices.

Alas, time was rushing, and "Howard Paige" alias Nevel Papperman had to return to the power machine which had to be demonstrated.

11.2. The Heart Of The Engine

Nevel was going to inspect the machine once more, and he showed it to an apparently impressed Megan, remarking "you will have a lot to talk to your step boob!" He opened the case ofthe apparatus, revealing a chamber with a golden ceiling, and with emerald and silver walls. According to , this was the very heart of the power converter, the result of several years of intensive research. When talking about this, Nevel expressed implicitely that he was excessively proud of his cousin. He had had to listen to a long and boring speech of Dean Rivers, one of the typical activities of headmasters annoying pupils to death.

Zoey was here as well, and she was disappointed by her best friend's, videlicet Quinn's sulking demeanour, reporting, "she has apparently given up on everything and disposed with about all of her laboratory equipment, causing a little explosion in the school's rubbish dump." She sighed deeply, but was not going to miss out on this great moment for Pacific Coast Academy, one of the first schools to be powered, at least temporarily, by a new miraculous work of technology. She did not really understand what this was all about, for science was one of her only weak spots at school, but she believed to be able to recognise a great event in the history of her school while it was about to occur in front of her eyes.

Nevel Papperman counted down the seconds before he let Dean Rivers pull the trigger activating the engine, the start of a new age at Pacific Coast Academy, at least technology wise. He observed the instruments measuring all sorts of things measurable: temperature, pressure, radioactivity, voltage, and similar stuff, and made sure that Mindy stayed well informed. And the displays of the instruments — both digital and analogue — kept dancing in front of his face, initially in a totally expected manner, but this was not going to stay at that. Nevel could not risk anything bad, and he thence told Dean Rivers to evacuate the campus, which was necessary also in order to keep Mindy's instructions comprehensible. Nevel insisted in particular in the elimination of annoying journalists, such as Jeremiah Trottman, the reporter of the school's own TV channel and of the school newspaper.

"Magic" Malika was among the first pupils to move towards the exit of the campus in order to be a good example,and she used her still feeble telekinetic abilities in order to push a few other students the same way, which was absolutely not easy. While on her way away from the campus centre, Malika noticed some strange thing going on in one of the student, or one of the somethings looking like a students, and more precisely, the person in question appeared to emit uncontrollable electric shocks and magnetic whirls, not unlikely the reason for the troubles of Nevel's apparatus. This person needed to be stopped and eliminated from the campus in order to avoid a big crash while Nevel was still trying to fix the unpredicted problem, assisted by Zoey Brooks — who could just observe the instruments on and off. Even Quinn, if persuaded by Zoey, would not be able to do much. And, all of a sudden, the mutant human, probably a Maxwell's zombie[[35]], or so guessed Malika, although she could not be sure about it. She concentrated on a spell in order to banish it, but she was too late — no, not too late for getting it stopped, but for doing so before anyone else. Some weird students Malika had never ever seen before on the campus caught the zombie with some sort of trap and dragged it away, whereto Malika was not able to say. So, everything had been saved, but by whom, this was the question. And then Malika saw the same beast again that had already infused the mind of many pupils with forgetfulness, namely a snark, the brood of Lethe, the goddess of forgetfullness. Malika was immune to the powerful gaze of the snark, but not many were.

Quinn Pensky and Howard Paige would now be honoured for built and fixed the power transformer here at Pacific Coast Academy, because everyone had forgotten about the details of the incident — especially the Maxwell zombie — due to the snark.

But would this be really a good thing on the long run?

Chapter 12. The apple came down.

12.1. The Banappple Shrub

Nevel Papperman had turned out as immune to the mindkilling gaze of the snark, the worst possible enemy of civilisation. But before returning to Seattle, he needed to talk to his favourite cousin, Mindy, about the details of her first time around on the campus of Pacific Coast Academy and her trouble with Zoey Brooks. Zoey was not such an awfully bad girl to justify going through all the trouble by plagiarising her wonderful works of art, such as t-shirts, backpacks, and, erm, some multi-coloured socks that he had noticed on the feet of Spencer Shay, the greatest sculptor of downtown Seattle. He was meeting with Mindy at a Chinese restaurant in uptown Los Angeles, one known as Wok Star and owned by some Mrs. Lee,[[36]] where Nevel had to insist in germ-free soy sauce — usual soy sauce is made with the help of a microscopic fungus — due to Nevel's objection to germs. But it was important for him to find out about those circumstances of the past, because it was the school of his girlfriend Megan, after all, and Nevel was thoroughly worried.

Mindy Crenshaw admitted straight to having had another thing to fix, and this was related to some former science object by Quinn Pensky, a mixture between an apple tree and a banana bush, well, bananas do not grow on trees, and Mindy could not emphasise this enough. This tree — Quinn had named it a "banapple tree" — had been her project for the next Californian science fair, and Mindy into genetic manipulation as well, and Mindy had made a little prank in order to confuse her, and had added some fake fruits to the tree, filled with some strong vinegar. Unfortunately, it backfired and Quinn had destroyed Mindy's bike with it. "Anyways, Quinn appears to have given up on the project, and maybe I should not have worried, but I have wanted to use these days in order to check whether it is still an ongoing project, lest Quinn would steal the Nobel Prize for biology off me."

Nevel shrugged, and replied, "that does not sound like much of a problem, Megan may check the garden once again, really, I have deemed the garden a bit strange, like … do you believe in animated trees?" He shuddered due to the thought of standing in the shadow of some tree and get grabbed by its agile twigs and branches.

Mindy looked a bit flabbergasted because she could not appreciate the thought of animate trees with their own will and desires, either, aso she replied, "that comes right after snarks, — wait … snarks are now no longer so unfamiliar to me."

This sounded like quite some story, so Nevel Papperman wanted to know a lot more about his cousin's admitted prior familiarity with snarks.

Mindy reported, "two years ago, I worked in the central of some nearby school called Lakewood, hired in order to fix som laboratory of a strange sort, and their vice Principal, a certain Stockley, was really weird. Behind my back, they were talking about strange creatures they had just sighted and were out to catch. Then they wanted to snark me, whatever that was, and this made me run away even without getting paid, they are … insane!"

Nevel's eyes bugged out, and he started, after sighing for relief, supposing that these intruders had been able to catch Maxwell's zombie, the culprit of the demonstration or the cosmic power machine that had almost gone devastatingly awry. He concluded that, although their intentions may not have been that bad, their activity was absolutely catastrophic and the direct cause of the biggest decadence of mankind. The snarks, and whoever used them, with whatever intention, had to been eliminated in order to allow for mankind to save itself from chaos, decadence, and corruption, or, as he called it, the imminent dystopia.

12.2. The Undead Nymph

Being alerted by Nevel Papperman after his departure, Megan Parker and Malika Ritter went straight into the Pacific Coast Academy campus garden in order to take a look at the genetically manipulated banana shrub, the nowadays obviously abandoned former science project by . And at first glance, it really looked like an all natural shrub, manipulated or not, but this may have been an illusion. But Malika was not easily mislead by the appearance of things of those world, unlike the vulgar mass of mankind, or, as Megan Parker called them, "boobs", and she decided to check the shrub psychometrically. "Oh yeah, Nevel is probably right," concluded the exorbitantly skilled witch from the emerald city, "this is not really a shrub, it is an undead dryad, or herbal nymph, whatever, well, we could probably call it a plant zombie."

Megan Parker had been able to sense some uncanny qualities of this shrub beforehand, but she would not have thought exactly about that solution, although she had trusted Nevel's impression. But she wondered, "is the undead nymph dangerous in its vegetal form, or does she have to turn into human shape in order to wreak severe havoc?"

Malika replied, "obviously, the humanoid form is more dangerous in that it may move around and follow the victims, it is very seductive, as you already know from the ancient sagas about nymphes — well, maybe not a zombie nymph — but the vegetal form is more subtly dangerous, basically because it is harder to recognise as a monster."

Megan sure remembered Calypso, the nymph that had detained Ulysses for several years until the gods of the Olymp had made him escape. She saw the need of getting rid of that hidden danger, but she also had to ask another question, " Mindy Crenshaw has talked about this organisation hunting dangerous monsters or so, and she assumes them as the people behind the recent snark attacks, maybe they have been after this undead nymph since quite some while?"

Malika almost felt the need of banging her head against a wall — which was not there in the school garden — due to not having thought about this possibility. But now she could not deny any reason to Megan's statement, and she had to wonder about the possible and the necessary consequences of this insight. And she wondered especially whether this undead nymph here in the school garden was the beginning of the recent era of zombies, or whether the roots were going a lot deeper. And when had the monster hunters — who appeared to have got some sort of headquarters at Lakewood — started to attack the students here with their snarks and thus started to make the students unable to become aware of and learn to free themselves form the merging threat? Finding an answer to these questions was more and more vital for the destiny of Pacific Coast Academy, but how much time was left for Malika and her followers in order to find them?

Megan started working on a plan of subtly interrogating the students that had been here three years ago in order to figure whther there had been a snark attack during the days when Quinn Pensky had been working on her banapple project. And it was equally necessary to find a way to protect the fellow students from the impact of the undead nymph in the school garden.

Chapter 13. Lance And Zoey

Malika Ritter was now alerted more than ever before, and she supposed more zombies to be on the campus than ever expected before, and she assumed that there had also been multiple interventions of the monster hunters mentioned by Mindy, monster hunters using snarks in order to keep people dumb and ignorant, and then stumble from one catastrophe into the next because of being unable to learn from their mistakes. One girl, and this circumstance hurt Malika a lot, to slip into a catastrophe was Zoey , the elder sister of Dustin Brooks, whom Malika and Megan were just about preparing slowly and subtly for awakening and recovering from the snark attacks. The blond Mary Sue, one of the most respected girls of Pacific Coast Academy basically since the beginning of the era of coeducation, was about committing a gross error, well, she had probably already started doing so, by dating no other than Lance Rivers[[37]], the son of the dean, Carl Rivers. Lance, according to Malika's barely fallible judgment, was one of the biggest jerks on the campus of Pacific Coast Academy, second only to Logan Reese, the most perverted and corrupted dandy of all.

Talking about Logan Reese — the jerk was currently ready to produce a dance video for the many lonesome girls at Pacific Coast Academy, a multi-part clip to be known as Dance with Logan! And Malika deemed this as the top of Logan's abstruseness and vanity, and she was more or less convinced of Logan being a zombie himself, alas, Malika was not a zombie hunter hell bent on banishing those foul beasts from this plane of existence, but she was determined to understand the reasons for the more or less obvious — for someone with the mindset of Malika — yet hidden— for normal people — zombification of mankind going on here in Los Angeles, and in particular right here at Pacific Coast Academy, before the looming mental epidemy would be able to spread across the whole nation and beyond.

Thus it was now the right moment for trying to talk to Dustin about Zoey's problem. She was convinced of Dustin's reluctance to let Zoey Brooks drift down the drain and lose her soul, or however he would circumscribe it, to a foul lover, just like once upon a time, according to the account from the pen of Homer, Helen of Sparta had fallen prey to the thoroughly foul and destructive charms of Paris, the prince of Troy. The result, as well-known, was of course the devastatingly brutal war of Troy and the subsequent random cruise of Ulysses, full of deceptive traps and uttermost perils. And Zoey's relationship with Lance Rivers was inevitably going to lead to similarly grisly and unpleasant consequences, unless Zoey came to understand her mistakes and repent in time. These were the contents of the speech delivered by Malika unto Zoey's little brother.

Of course, Dustin was flabbergasted by Malika's admonishing and mournful discourse, for he was familiar with Helen and the Trojan war, and he had got a hard time swallowing the parallels, but — at least after having come to think about it for a few minutes — they did indeed make a suffocating load of sense in his eyes. And of course he did not want his sister to end up like the old Greek bitch and cause eradicating war and havoc.

Malika had to dig further and ask Dustin, "is Lance Rivers the first boyfriend of your sister, or did she already have several of them? Maybe you can't remember all of them because of the song and the gaze of the snarks, but each little bit may be useful in order to save this land from ruin and abomination."

Dustin started trembling over and over again, but he understood the urgency of Malika's apparently overly curious request, and he tried thereupon hard to remember the last three and a half years he had spent together with his sister on this campus. "Well, Chase — her best male friend — has always been a bit hankering after her, but nothing seems ever to have come out it, she doesn't want me to talk about it, not in her presence and nowhere else, either, because she gets annoyed by all those 'Choeyers'." He had to to explain that "Choeyers" were supporters of a relationship between Chase and Zoey — building nicknames for relationships among the high school kids, and corresponding nicknames for those supportive of the respective ships, was a popular trend here among the middle school pupils.

Malika sighed deeply because of pitying Chase to some degree, but she did not deem Chase much of a danger for anyone, certainly not when compared to Lance Rivers.

Dustin tried to remember harder, and then he remembered Logan Reese's attempts of hitting on Zoey in the most decadent and abominable manner.

Malika Ritter stomped her feet, and she was apparently not as much surprised by this fact, given that Lance Rivers was just a cheap copy of Logan Reese.

Dustin remembered especially how Logan had participated in a school play written by Chase Bartholomew Matthews just in order to kiss Zoey, and, even worse, in order to humiliate Chase of whose crush on Dustin's sister he was probably aware back then, little wonder, they had been room mates for quite some time, and Chase was definitely no good at hiding things from his room pals. "Fortunately, Zoey refrained in the last moment from kissing him, it is rumoured that he had been really mean to her when had she made a little mistake during the performance, and given the whole play an utterly surprising twist."

Malika nodded solemnly, because, once more, she was by absolutely no means surprised by Dustin't enlightening report about the most despicable activity of the dandy of Beverly Hills.

Dustin knew of a few other boys hitting deliberately on his barbie-doll like elder sister, which, after all, was not really surprising, not for him nor for many others, and he could vaguely remember a certain Danny Barrington[[38]], a short and dirty affair probably whose outcome he could not remember, possibly because of some snark attack …

Malika had apparently feared something like that, as the monster hunters seemed to have infested this campus for quite some while already. But she understood without any further difficulty or hesitation that, whatever the details, blond Mary Sue Zoey Brooks had already been the target of many boys with excessively dirty and dubious intentions, with Logan Reese being the top of the iceberg. And it is not the visible tip, but the submarine mass of ice that had been responsible for sinking strong ships like the Titanic. And Lance was probably just another ton of ice trying to achieve that pernicious goal.

Both Dustin and Malika were now looking for a way to make Zoey know that she's about sealing her own doom and that of many others by dating the wrong boys, guys able to drag her soul into the eternal abyss of the tartaros and turn her into a pernicious zombie.

Malika compared Zoey's potentially looming and hitherto manifest destiny with that of the mythical Ennoia, fallen from divine hights into diabolic mediocricity by dedicating herself to the wrong guys, mistakes causing her to fall into this miserable and wretched form of existence devoid of divine wisdom. In any case there were too many worthless boys to protect Dustin's sister from, and this was apparently not easy, if possible at all. Was the ultimate catastrophe even evitable at all?

Chapter 14. Another Snark Attack

14.1. Juicy Toons

Malika Ritter had kept on observing the situation between Lance Rivers and Zoey Brooks for quite a while, and she was more and more growing worried, especially because of the implications for Dustin whom she knew hurt an insane lot by Zoey's stupid dates with all those obnoxious random boys. Not too long ago, Dustin had committed that stupidity in order to show Zoey how much he needed her, and Zoey knew that by now, but this did not dissuade her from making out with a guy without any responsibility for fellow pupils, but with infinite obsession for the boastful display of his social power and connections. Zoey's room mates, videlicet Quinn Pensky and Lola Martinez, inspite of being really dull, had even tried to dissuade Zoey from getting bought, but they had been bribed into staying silent. Lola had obtained a new refrigerator box, and Quinn — recently suffering from a spine deformation — a mattress for her bed. But the objections were of course still valid.

Malika was now trying to talk to Dustin about the critical situation, and she saw a more and more desperate-looking teenage boy.

Dustin had heard about a tombola in which Zoey was participating. More precisely, the winner was going to the biggest cinema of Los Angeles in order to watch the première of a new movie, fortunately not one by Malcolm Reese. Dustin feared Lance Rivers to accompany her, but he was in a stinky mood because Zoey had promised him, after the troubles triggered by the movie Shinnusha, to spend each Friday night playing with him, and the première of said movie was going to occur on a Friday night.

Along came Chase Bartholomew Matthews, and he was talking about the old trash radio — again. He had already talked to Spencer Shay from Seattle, and they had negotiated about a price for the device. And Chase was now in some other sort of trouble, based on his and Michael's activity as cartoon producers. More precisely, they were paid by Toonjuice, a web channel for cartoons, for delivering a certain amount of cartoon each month. Alas, this time, they had accidentally submitted a cheap ripoff of a toon produced recently by Topher Lane[[39]]. And now the creep from Hollywood required some huge royalties for that, gazillions of bugs, although Chase had never seen that cartoon by Lane, the idea had been proferred unto him by his roomie Logan Reese. Fortunately, Chase had heard about Spencer Shay's history, more precisely, "he had been studying at a law school for three whole days, and I kind of hope that he can get my butt saved with his lawyer's skills … in turn for the old radio."

Malika choked, because she had never thought it possible for anyone to hire law school dropout Spencer Shay voluntarily as a shark. But she was still looking into the mystery of the old radio which had ever since been tucked away safely in a box in the room of Chase, Logan, and Michael, according to Chase's statements.

14.2. Old Radio Revisited

Spencer Shay was now here on the campus of Pacific Coast Academy, rigged and ready to take over the case of Chase Matthews in turn for the radio. Dustin tried to follow him around because of one of Spencer's sister, Carlu Shay. More precisely, he had been watching a few episodes of Carly's web show, and he was groing to think all fluffy about the smart and cool dark-haired teenage girl from Seattle. Unfortunately, the web show was co-hosted by Sam Puckett, his former "girlfriend", if it was licit to say so, as it had been a really perverted short-term relationship. After two days, Sam had trashed him for Chase, which was of course unforgivable, and then Dustin would never have taken her back. And now he found Chase and Specer sitting at a park bench and holding the radio in their hands. All of a sudden, the old radio appeared half the way familiar to him, in the sense of having already seem it on this campus, more precisely, in the dormitory room of his sister Zoey. Had it been a common brand of a radio device, Dustin would not have cared for real, but in this case it had been assured to be an extremely rare model, and thus the chance of this radio and that of his memories being one and the same item was not negligible. During the last days, Dustin had remembered a few things thought forgotten, probably due to some exercises he was performing in compliance with instructions issued by Megan Parker, and for that reason, Dustin was now hell bent on talking about this remarkable circumstance to her, and even more because Megan appeared to be interest in the history of the radio, for whatever reason.

14.3. Forgotten

And this was the morning after the great première event over in Los Angeles. Zoey and Lance had actually been there together, since Zoey had been drawn in the tombola. Clairvoyant Malika sensed a pernicious scheme behind it, videlicet a manipulated tombola — something not too hard for the son of the dean to achieve. Others had already warned Zoey about that possibility, including, of course, Dustin, but — apparently — not for all that much avail. Malika was now hell bent on hearing about the outcome of the date, for she was of course fearing the worst. She was sitting in the lounge of "Brenner Hall" in order to snoop on the juniors. Then she saw Zoey and her roomies, videlicet Lola Martinez and Quinn Pensky , walk down the staircase and talk — as expected — about the last night in the living hell of Los Angeles with Lance Rivers.

Zoey scratched her head, "why had I been in the city? I don't even remember why. But who is Lance Rivers?" Her roomies looked consternated. Lola and Quinn, totally excited, asked her about the details of their big cinema date, but Zoey could not really remember having been in a cinema with anyone. Apparently, all of those juniors were now thoroughly confused.

But unto Malika Ritter, it made a lot of sense because of concluding that Lance and Zoey had most probably been tripped up by members of the monster hunter association, and Zoey had with uttermost likelihood been snarked, leading to a loss of the memory of most of her last night. So the monster hunters from Lakewood, or wherever else, must have tagged the filthy creep and probably disposed with him. But what would Dean Rivers think about the disappearance of his son?

Chapter 15. The Stench Killer

Megan and Malika were of course totally interested in those news brought unto them by Dustin Brooks, as they had sensed something weird going on with that radio. They were up to getting the ancient device examined psychometrically in order to detect the plausibility of Dustin's argument, videlicet the identity of this radio with one found formerly in the old dormitory room of Zoey Brooks.

Megan asked Dustin, "do you remember Zoey's room mates of that time, whether they were Lola and Quinn, or had she been alone? That may be very important."

Dustin remembered a lot of that time, but not everything, probably due to the memory blockades resulting from former snark attacks, and he was still able to report the following:

During her first year, my sister Zoey shared a room with two girls that are now no longer at Pacific Coast Academy. One of them was a certain Dana Cruz, a perversely rude tomboy without brain, and the other one was equally excessively annoying bimbo wench Nicole Bristow, always obsessed with cute boys, of course in a totally annoying manner, so …

I was once sick, and wanted to visit my sister Zoey.[[40]] She always knows what to do, but, as I know now, she was rehearsing for that play with Logan and their disgusting kiss. And Dana shoved me away rudely. In this moment, I had seen the old radio, or at least I think so, for the very first time, I may be wrong there. Then Quinn, who lived next door, picked me up and tried to cure my flu with electric shocks applied to my feet, and with a vacuum cleaner sucking germs off my tongues, but I am ticklish, and the whole thing did not really work out, either.

Nicole has scared many boys with her bimbo talk, including those cute boys she was so thoroughly obsessed with, and only getting those boys covet her by whome she was most thoroughly disgusted, such as one Miles Brody[[41]].

Nicole and Dana were hard to reconcile in one room, and Zoey suffered a lot from this, I can tell you, over and over again.

Lola Martinez, on the other hand, only appeared here at Pacific Coast Academy the very summer after Dana disappeared. She looked very uncanny and feigned to be a goth girl, just in order to practise acting, or, as I would call it, fooling her room mates like crazy.

Dustin recorded some more bits and pieces, and he mentioned a few more names of former pupils at Pacific Coast Academy, such as having had a room mate Jack Ross[[42]] for three years, but he was totally unable to remeber more than that about him.

Malika Ritter was interested a lot because of coming to hear about a few pupils that had been at Pacific Coast Academy not too long ago, but about whom she had never heard anyone talking before this report by Dustin, which appeared to Malika the more strange the more she had to consider the close relationship between room mates in general here at Pacific Coast Academy, and especially those of Zoey Brooks. In other words, Malika tried to make any sense of the fact that Zoey Brooks was never talking about Nicole or Dana inspite of having shared with either of them a room for one or even two years, and this had not been more than three years ago. She also appreciated the obvious improvements of Dustin Brooks, caused apparently by his more or less rapidly progressing meditation practices learned from Megan Parker. Needless to say, Malika was now interested in the details of the disapparition of pupils such Dana Cruz, Nicole Bristow, Jack Ross, and many others, of course because, on the one hand, those would have been valuable witnesses for the time in which, according to the current results of her reasearch, the creeping acute zombification of the school must have started, and, on the other hand, because the disappeared pupils may have been culprits or victims of the same uncanny process. The recent disappearance of Lance Rivers, the son of the dean, had only been one case more in an apparently not too short history of similar events. By the way, Malika and Megan had already asked Dean Rivers about the whereabouts of his son, and they had got a — grumpy and impolite — reply stating that the creep was now somewhere in the ruural states of the middle west in order to stay with their rough-hewn hillbilly relatives and learn some discipline. Malika had not yet immediately got the possibilities and means for proving the story, but she had got a theory on her own, according to which Lance Rivers was a zombie and had been bannished to some other dimension by the aforementioned monster hunters' society, but Dean Rivers had been submitted , exactly like Zoey Brooks, to the song of the snark and thereupon fallen for some fake suggestion — Zoey Brooks to that of never having dated the son of the dean, Dean Rivers to that of having sent Lance to rural relatives far away. Quinn Pensky, who, according to another report by Dustin Brooks, had previously experimented with skunk odor, was now about trying to invent a means against oral stench, but the stench of the situation, as lying clearly in front of Malika's eyes, was much more intensive than that of a skunk, a human stomach's exhaust fumes, or any dark, bubbly liquid Quinn Pensky could ever produce in her laboratory. She was reminded to the typical depictions of medieval or renaissance time alchemists, with a huge cauldron containing various ingredients, trying to turn crap into gold. Malika, of course, was very knowledgeable in the works of proper alchemists, from Zosimus onward, and — based on the works of mythical Hermes Trismegistus — aspiring for being able to discover the lapis in order to inhibit or reverse the zombification of mankind, but the race was already on, and Malika was only left with thoroughly incomplete information about the proper progress and with a severely limited range of means to stop it. Today, she had gathered a few hints as of where to look, especially gathering more witnesses of the life and times of pupils such as Dana Cruz and Nicole Bristow here at Pacific Coast Academy, although this was only a little step in Malika's endlessly ongoing quest towards identifying the origins and extent of the current hidden miserable situation here at Pacific Coast Academy and blocking the progress of the zombification by laying waste to its very roots.

Chapter 16. Blix Versus Bristow

One of the most ubiquitous drinks in southern California, and also most popular here at Pacific Coast Academy, was known as "Blix" and marketed by a company of the very same name with headquarters in Los Angeles, but with customers and frenchising located all over the United States of America, including the emerald city, as known by Malika Ritter from her time before her departure. And each year, said Blix corporation was up to another sales promotion tour across the schools of southern California, usually connected with some excessively lame and boring contest, lamer than any other event on here. This year, the official van of Blix was visiting some selected schools in southern California, including especially Pacific Coast Academy, for a new, lamer than ever before, contest, a stupidity known as "Hands On A Blix Van", where the winner would be allowed to fly in the official jet of Blix to a location of his or her own choice. Malika Ritter was thoroughly disgusted by the excitement with which a vast majority of the students had been anticipating the upcoming contest, including blond Mary Sue Zoey Brooks, whom Malika had expected to do a lot better than embarrassing herself by touching the outer walls of the van for as long as possible with at least one hand, or so were the rules of the contest, in order to win a flight across the ocean to the next Milan fashion fair, granted, an appropriate goal for a fashion designer, but one she could have achieved in a manner significantly less embarrassing than touching some dumb vehicle owned by some blunt capitalist organisation with dubious marketing practices and mediocre to inferior products. The truth of the former of the two derogatory statements made about Blix was a strong intuitive impression Malika had received from her first hours at Pacific Coast Academy, hours during which hundreds of students almost assaulted the cart of soft drink vendor, a certain Calvin Wang[[43]] — of whose utter lack of spiritual qualities and his fullness with materialist vanity and perversity Malika was convinced as much as in the case of Logan Reese — and blocked the whole campus entrance until the arrival of security teams called into the scene by some worried parents. The second statement, however, was the objective judgment also made by some of the more reasonable students and visitors, including that of Nevel Papperman, Megan's perfect boyfriend with those excruciatingly refined olfactory senses who — during his visit on the campus of Pacific Coast Academy — had smelled a list of some hundred of diverse dubious chemical compounds mixed into the high concentration solution of industrially refined sugar of inferior quality. And this was probably no less true for the new flavour added by Blix to their already large palette of artificially flavoured sugar solutions, and this new brand — zingleberry — was the central interest of this year's promotional tour.

A few days ago, Dustin Brooks had made Malika's mind familiar with former student Nicole Bristow, and he had also mentioned the fact that her father was also busy in the softdrink business, albeit little known in California due to being centred in Kansas, or, in other words, in the middle of the lands of nowhere. Dustin did, as of yet, not see any connection between the marketing compaign of Blix and the disappearance of Nicole Bristow from the face of this earth, oops, the campus of Pacific Coast Academy.

But Malika was way less naïve than even Dustin, let alone the vulgar average student at Pacific Coast Academy, and sensed at least some sort of a connection between those facts. She was planning an action in order to get as many students as possible to boycott Blix for their evil deeds, but of course she needed some significantly better proof for the ignoble masses than just her supreme intuition in order to make them refrain from touching those potentially dangerous liquids sold by some ruthless company.

Megan Parker had recently talked to Malika about some other dubious deals going on on this campus, deals connected to Calvin and others.

As already mentioned, Megan had been addicted to certain Japanese candy for some while and dated some exorbitantly pervert named Corey Matthews in order to get at those things, but she had not yet found out where the Japanese candy came really from.

Here at Pacific Coast Academy, she had started looking for the same candy, too, and she had seen them sold by both Calvin and by Kazu Park, so she had naturally conjectured a more or less intriguing connection between Corey Matthews and Kazu, or, rather, his hitherto unbeknownst upstream vendor.

Only now did Megan dare to see a deeper scandal behind it, a scandal not only covering both the soft drinks and the Japanese candy, but also other candy on this campus.

Strangely, the kids on the campus were gladly buying at Calvin's cart instead of going elsewhere, let's say, the vendor machines selling candy and drinks as well, and usually for a lower price.

And Dustin, while cheering for his elder sister who was still touching the van of the probably corrupt software vendor, had just remembered a strange fact of the past, relating to vendor machines. Last year, the machines had been selling most snacks, but they must have been unreliable, and he had once been stuck with his arm in one machine's ejection slot in order to grab some snack for which Lola had already paid, but in vain.[[44]]

Megan remembered the times when she grabbed snacks from the machines in a similar way in order to impress other kids, so she could readily sympathise with Dustin.

Unfortunately, Dustin's arm had been stuck, and he was — most likely down to some snark attack — not capable of remebering how he got his arm freed, but ever since, Calvin's business had increased rapidly. Dustin still felt the pains in his arms, otherwise he would not even have remembered having got it stuck. And there was another vague memory connected to cendor machines Dustin was only able to remember vaguely, and this appeared to have to do with overprotective Zoey's reckless endeavour of providing the kids with more healthy snacks,[[45]] some venture that had ended in some sort of dead end, for whatever reason.

Malika Ritter sighed deeply, because Dustin's half-matured memories were no solutions, just more and more questions of the most annoying sort. She could only draw a few conclusions considering the question as of what for to continue looking next, and those were definitely finding Nicole Bristow and Dana Cruz, and of course more details about the business with snacks and drinks at Pacific Coast Academy, even at Californian schools in general.

Oh, by the way, Zoey Brooks had won that stupid touch fest at the Blix van, and she was ready to make it to Milan, although she still needed to choose someone to take along with her on the long transcontinental jet trip. She imagined to never forget this day, because she had been forced to trick Logan Reese into giving up in order to win this contest and thus the excursion to Milan.

Megan had also watched some more of the contest, and she had seen some disgusting things, such as Michael Barret making out with his stupid girlfriend after some misunderstanding. She had already observed several "misunderstandings" between those two, and she knew that their relationship was not only one big misunderstanding per se, but also foul and destructive from the get on, but why was this the case? Megan had to do more research in order to find out, but she would not be able to waste all her time by researching every detail because time only allowed for concentrating on the essential ones, whatever they were …

Chapter 17. Powerless

17.1. J-O-N-A-S

Megan Parker had not watched the web show of her cousin very often, but the few times she had done it was not without a reason. And today, there was a special reason, more precisely, Carly Shay and her friends Fredward Benson and Samantha Puckett were trying to break the current world record for the longest web show. Those records were regisrtered in the so-called J-O-N-A-S Book Of Records[[46]], side by side with many others, such as the world's fattest priest, Father MacCurdy. Sam, the queen of exorbitant gluttony, was of course utterly obsessed with MacCurdy, and for that avail, she was totally hell bent on making it into said book of records and being depicted along with him. Megan still deemed her cousin's show lame, but maybe the record show would be better than the normal episodes. The record was some little more than twenty-four hours, a whole day's worth, and this implied, for viewers willing to watch the whole thing for that long time, the necessity of staying awake for that long period.

Especially Dustin Brooks was willing to stand through it. He had something for Carly Shay, but he was not willing to talk about it. And he had still got dubious feelings for Samantha Puckett, formerly known as Trisha Kirby.

Malika Ritter was thoroughly disgusted by Samantha's obsession with MacCurdy, not because of the shape of the priest, but because of the attitude of the same creep. His church believed in actions violating the word of their scripture as t6he problem of mankind, but it was indeed ignorance, and not their concept of sin, that was at the very heart of human evil. And Samantha was thus necessarily as misguided as her idol.

17.2. Record Show

The record session had just been opened by Fredward Benson, by means of his usual countdown "Five … four … three … two …" He never said the one, but why was this the case? Or so Malika had to ask herself, secure in her own assumption of a deeper reason having to exist for this, a reason of a special significance for his obnoxious crush on Carly Shay.

Malika Ritter was not only an expert for many other forms of magics, but also for the mysterious art of numerology, as already taught once upon a time by the Pythagoreans and their successor in postclassic hellenism, and, needless to say, had also been a highly considered art later on by the hermetics, the forerunners — as we have seen — of Malika's own world view, whence she believed firmly in the necessity of inferring divine truth from the secrets of the numbers. One of the most interesting symbols of the Pythagoreans was the pentagram, videlicet a star of fice cusps. Thus Fredward's attitude of counting down from five, but leaving out the one, was efficiently a mutilation of the pentagram, something that should not be as it violated the universal harmony in a really pernicious manner. A five-pointed star without its fifth cusp was a cosmological cripple. So, what exactly was Fredward Benson missing out on? Granted, Fredward was too stubborn to accept that he was doing something very bad by skipping the "one". But Malika recognised his attitude as a sign of impending doom and gloom, thus the web show was cursed from the get on, and it was a big danger for humanity as a whole.

Carly talked about the special character of this one session, and its purpose of breaking said record. She introduced not only Sam, her co-moderator, but also her brother Spencer and a certain Marilyn Reymour[[47]], official judge assigned by the editorial board of the J-O-N-A-S Book Of Records for this attempt of a new record. The special challenge was that of staying awake and active in front of the camera for the whole day's worth of hours, and also to keep up the power supplies and the connection to the interweb. For the former avail, Carly had deviced the sick random dance, triggered by a random scheduler running on Fredward's computer.

Megan Parker deemed that random dance really sick, and she was totalkly disgusted by it, for it ressembled so much the random twitches of her most thoroughly misguided step brother Joshuah Nichols, especially when working together with equally misguided Drake, to a degree of almost having to puke.

Some kids at Pacific Coast Academy started apparently placing bets on the success of failure of the attempted record, with stakes appearing irreasonably high for school kids. With the progress of the show, the odds for the bets would turn more and more unbalanced. Quinn Pensky was more or less performing the job of a bookmaker, and she worked following strictly the principles of mathematical statistics. Unlike Malika and her pythagorean forerunners, Quinn did not associate numbers with a deeper meaning, she just calculated, and she could not yet make much sense of Malika's hints.

17.3. Sculpture Of Many Motions

Almost twenty-four more or less long hours had gone by, well, they had of course been all of the same length in physical terms, but the human intuition of the viewers of the attempt of a new record seemed to treat them differently. There had already been one big shock for the onlookers, and this had been, once more, due to the show's inept technical producer, Fredward Benson, who had tried to demonstrate a new gas-filled lamp and got it broken by accident, releasing some toxical fumes that triggered a gas alert. The repairs team had been informed by some neighbours and sent up "Bushwell Plaza", the residence of Carly and Spencer Shay, in order to fix the whole mess. The crew of the web show had thence be forced to leave the attic of the Shay's loft where the show was produced. Dragging the whole technological equipment downstairs while continuing the show's programme had been a real horror, but, finally, the alert got cancelled, and the show was able to continue in its natural location, the attic.

But all of this was now history, and now only a few remaining minutes separated the crew from a new record. During that period, Carly wanted her brother Spencer to present one of his latest sculptures, a work of art comprising many movable parts, and, given enough power,it was even able to make them move, deploying all sorts of possible motion — up and down, forth and back, inside out and outside in, and so on.

Unfortunately, this sculpture used up a lot of electricity, and this was finally causing Fredward's equipment to go slow and to break down completely for several seconds, something deemed incompatible with the rules for a world record. In other words, the world record had failed. The odds here were already totally unbalanced, like, thousand to one in the case of a failure of the attempted record.

Only one person had indeed chosen this option until the very end, and that was Megan Parker, she had so seen that event coming.

Alas, Marilyn Reymour had counted the movable parts of the sculpture and was now going to grant Spencer an entry in J-O-N-A-S Book Of Records for this sculpture, the one with the highest amount of movable types. Spencer was going to share this record with his teenager friends.

Malika Ritter recorded the number of movable types and started submitting it to numerical speculations, and those were not very promising, if put mildly. But she also notiiced Dustin's weird reactuion to the moment of the power failure, and she sensed that he had got a flashback, probably remembering a power failure witnessed earlier in his life.[[48]]

Chapter 18. Customer Of The Week

Malika had already given up all hopes of getting a soft drink during the breaks, well, she could have used her telekinetic abilities in order to fix one from afar, but that would not have been exactly fair to all the other students waiting in the queue for half an hour without getting anywhere, so Malika decided correctly to let it be. But she sensed some deeper evils hiding underneath the apparently endlessly long queue, especially as she was suspecting Calvin to be an undead, probably some kind of sort of zombie, not one of the kind of Maxwell's zombie, but a more creeping and absolutely human looking one. And now Malika had noticed yet another obscure business practice, videlicet that of the "Customer Of The Week", which meant that Calvin was going to select one pupil each week who was then entitled to skip the queue completely and to even gratis coffee. This weeks customer was Darla Roberts[[49]], a girl from Malika's classes. This was a bit scary, and Malika supposed bad things to happen and the whole "customer of the week" junk just being a vicious trap of some sort, especially as there were no publically known rules for the determination of the lucky client, it appeared all up to Calvin's personal mood.

And there was even some other strange thing going on during the very same week, namely the preparations for a dance contest to take place on the campus of Pacific Coast Academy. Malika did not trust this coming even either, similar to the whole blix crap. Oh, by the way, Zoey Brooks had already forgotten about the trip to Milan in the softdrink jet, the prize for staying in touch with the van of the company for many an hour straight, so … what had been going on there? Malika knew that there was something smelling more fishy than the rubbish from the kitchen of Sushi Rox. So, while having forgotten about the trip in the jet, Zoey was now up to aiming high for the next biggest thing, the victory in said dance contest, and her hopes were high because her grandmother had once upon a time, maybe fifty years ago, been awarded for her dancing skills over in New York City. or so she had said. Asked by Malika, even Dustin Brooks was not aware of such an outstanding family tradition, so, some sort of research was due. Well, Zoey's grandparents had already assured to come to Pacific Coast Academy in order to watch Zoey's glorious — or at least so they expected it to be — dancing performance. But there was one potential problem, videlicet the impossibility of dancing alone at the occasion of that contest, and thence the need for a partner. Zoey would probably have preferred to got to the dance with one of her whatever false friends, videlicet Chase Matthews, Logan Reese, or Michael Barret, but the first of the three of them was a poor excuse of a dancer, and the two others were grounded or detained for some offense boldly inferior to their true and forevermore unforgivable crimes, which was that of mercilessly and shamelessly hitting on girls from some category infinitely much different from their own. Lola Martinez had organised another boy for Zoey Brooks for the dance, a certain Eugene Ryan[[50]], a senior over here. Malika was not sure what to think about the latter, but Zoey had got such a series of bad luck with boys, there was absolutely no reason for assuming anything better this time around.

Talking about the brainless Latina drama queen … she had got problems of her own, and in her case that meant yet another guy with kissable lips, vicelicet a French exchange student Simon Chaumont[[51]], a guy who had to oncentrate on his scholarship and thus refrain from making out too much with American girls of whatever flavour. In any case, he could do infinitely much better than lowering himself to the level of a snotty diva. At the same time, Lola was preparing, or so Malika had been informed by Ashley Blake, for a rôle requiring to talk with a French accent. Now, certainly Lola was able to speak with about any accent, even though she did not speak more than a dozen of languages, but she feigned to have gross difficulties in doing so and abused Simon as a tutor for this avail. This could not be without second thoughts. Malika decided to refrain from sticking her head too close into Lola's dirty affairs, for she was still worried about the destiny of Nicole Bristow and of Dana Cruz since their departure from Pacific Coast Academy. According to rumours, Dana had gone to France, was there a connection with Simon Chaumont? Malika had to find out, for she sensed some important information hidden in this.

Dustin remembered something about Lola and tutoring, another memory he would not have had without that ongoing string of meditative exercises taught unto him by Megan Parker, and he reported unto Malika:

Two years ago, Lola Martinez and Chase Bartholomew Matthews had been dating for a very short time.[[52]]

Lola had apparently had troubles with biology, something with the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees, and she had used Chase as a tutor.

Tutoring seems to have degenerated into dating, but it did not last very long, for whatever reason.

I don't understand what Lola had seen in that bushy skull, anyways, I mean, she is into good kissers with a hot appearance, in other words, into everything that Chase is exactly not! How did Chase get Lola's attention in the first place, that was so … artificial …

Malika nodded solemnly. "That is indeed weird … maybe it is definitely better not getting the attention of two many people, especially not the fake people."

Malika had watched so many guys on the campus trying to impress Calvin, in an attempt to become the selected customer, but this was going to end up, with extremely high probability, in some disaster of the worst sort. She told Dustin about this observation. "It is definitely often enough better to get ignored by the inherently wrong people … OK, I have got some theory about it, say, Lola did not really like Chase, but she wanted to use him in order to practise kissing a dweeb."

Dustin gasped bitterly, and he feared tremendously that Ashley had used him in a similar manner from time to time, well, at least she had never tried to kiss him, or wanted it to be vice versa.

Malika was now about looking for a good occasion in order to talk to Simon about the whole thing and find out more about the possibility of Dana in France.

Chapter 19. Interesting Observation

19.1. Yearbooks

Dustin Brooks had tried to use the year books of the last few years in order to prompt his memory, which was necessary for understanding the gaps due to snark attacks. Of course, the yearbooks were only reliable in as far as those writing them had not been subject to snark attacks themselves, and this was unfortunately very likely. So, Dustin started with the year AD 2004, the first year of coeducation at Pacific Coast Academy, and the first year of Zoey Brooks joining him. This had also been the year of now vanished Nicole Bristow and Dana Cruz, and for that avail, Dustin looked up Zoey's classes of that year before anything else. OK, there he was, and Zoey Brooks was of course listed proudly in the honours section, although Dustin was disappointed because he would have thought her to be printed with golden initials, just as in all those medieval hand-writtem books about the nobility and the saints. Alas, there was neither a Nicole Bristow nor a Dana Cruz listed in the year book, and the spot where they should have been according to the alphabet, and as a multiply awarded participants of the sectional and regional speller bees,[[53]] he was certainly as acquainted with the alphabet as much as can be, was occupied by some absolutely nonsensical line of whatever provenience. This was certainly something to be reported unto Malika and Megan who were still busily looking for facts proving that zombies were right among them, and hidden only by the activity of some misguided monster hunter organisation. Dustin could not just stop there, and he found more lines like these throughout the last three years of the history of Pacific Coast Academy, and he finally decided to look up Jack Ross, his former room mate … with exactly the same outcome: a weird line where Jack's name was supposed to be. Needless to say, this had to be reported unto his paranormally gifted friends as well, along with some other strange and nonsensical lines in the yearbooks, propably representing lost students Dustin had either not been familiar with in the first place, or who must have escaped from his mind due to the continued devastating onslaughts by those awfully perverted creatures known as "snarks".

19.2. The Preferred Customer

The week had come to an end, and it was time for the revelation of the new customer of the week, the lucky one to receive gratis coffee for a whole week and entitled to skip the whole almost endless queue in front of Calvin's coffee cart. Many students had been eagerly trying to get Calvin's attention, no matter how.

Malika had observed some stupid attempts for that avail, especially from a bunch of boys. For example, Logan Reese had tried to bribe Calvin by buying some hundreds of cups of coffee off him and distribute them among the other students. And the attempt of Michael Barret had been even way worse, he had tried to fake an attack by some weirdo onto the coffee cart, and then he had "saved" the creep from the onslaught. Alas, this had been totally perverse, and, in the process, he had got Gene injured, whence Zoey Brooks was now left without a cool partner for the dance contest. But Zoey's dance contest was only little of Malika's concern.

Calvin finally released the accumulated suspense and declared, "this week's customer is — Quinn Pensky!" This judgment triggered the disappointment and the lack of understanding of many onlookers, usually students that had tried hard to achieve that goal.

The eyes of the genius queen bugged out, and she declared, "why me? I haven't done anything for that purpose!" She shook her head, accompanied by boos of many of those who indeed had demonstrated an insane amount of efforts. She heard Calvin reply, "the title of a cistomer of the week will always be assigned to a cute girl, so we may make out while I give her the gratis coffee, and thus making fun of all the other customers standing and waiting in the endless queue." Quinn's brain started glowing like red and white iron upon hearing this, and she stomped her feet, "never will I make out with such a jerk, besides, I've already got a boyfriend." Calvin just shrugged and reveiled the second choice which happened to be Molly Talbertson, the roomie of Malika. But Quinn could not care any less, and she stomped her feet and walked away.

Malika saw her room pal accepting Calvin's offer gladly, but she knew that there was inevitably something fishy. She did not want Molly to turn mad at her and just ignore her warning anyway, but she could not stand letting her go straight into hell, either. Alas, was there anything for Malika to do without sounding excessively penetrant? During the last weeks, she had tried hard to get Molly to be more careful and to prepare her for the truth going on at this school, but for very little avail as Molly was too stubborn to see any sense whatsoever in Malika's poorly argued warnings. Apparenty, Molly was a straightforward materialist, and the prospects of making out with Calvin in turn for getting gratis coffee for a whole week without having to wait a single moment in the queue were simply too tempting for her, and there was nothing for Malika to do about it. And for this reason, malika could not help but watching her room mate turning night after night, evening after evening, morning after morning a little bit more into a zombie, like many other students on the campus. She needed a spell to slow down this development, but this was impossible without knowing the original sources of the zombification.

Dustin snuck now close to Malika and had to excuse himself for being late, "but I have had to try very hard to comfort Zoey after the loss in the dancing contest — it has been impossible to make it anywhere whatsoever." He sobbed. "And grandma did not show up, either, and I miss her so much, wait …" He vaguely remembered some problems from last year with one of the grandmothers of Chase Bartholomew Matthews, but he could not really remember, most likely related to some snark attack. But he had come to tell Malika about some other memory of last year, one involving Michael Barret , Chase Matthews, and Lisa Perkins. "Michael had saved Lisa's life during a cart race on the campus.[[54]] That's why they are boyfriend and girlfriend by now. I think Chase had been driving the car."

In virtue of Michael's recent attempt of impressing Calvin by "saving his life", she could not help concluding that Michael had done something similar a year ago in order to get Lisa's attention. But this was an accusation too grave to be pronounced lightly, even with a perfect testimony of Dustin Brooks. But it was probably a sure sign for a snark attack having gone on during that race on the campus, well, what a race, anyways? Dean Rivers would not have permitted some stock car race or similar, and he would have expelled the participants, including Chase Bartholomew Matthews, for good, which would have been obvious by now, but the bushy creep was still among the students of Pacific Coast Academy. Malika concluded that the monster hunting organisation had struck again and eliminated one zombie at the high cost of increasing the potential for zombification even more. They had most likely been living with the excessively flawed assumptions of zombies being creatures coming from a parallel zombie world or even general monster world, or something similarly stupid. With such an idiotic attitude, they would sooner or later get the whole of mankind turned irreversibly into zombies or devoured by them.

Chapter 20. Beauty Pageant

Now it was finally time for Malika to talk to Dustin about his ring, the PCA ring in the shape of a stingray biting its own tail.

Dustin was still very proud of it, even without understanding or even simply knowing what Malika was alluding to when she started talking about a mythical significance of the stingray, or even the "ouroboros". Unlike stubborn people like Logan Reese, Dustin was willing to hear about it and learn his lesson, whatever they were potentially good for. Thinking about aforementioned Logan Reese, Dustin had to report something very important unto Malika: "Logan Reese is organising a beauty pageant at Pacific Coast Academy for high school girls, of course with himself as the one and only judge, so he can force the girls to treat him nice and stuff."

Malika was more and more disgusted by the perverted dandy from Beverly Hills, and she suspected him to be either a zombie or a safe canditate for zombification due to his attitude, and she had to hope that the monsterr hunters would not catch him and remove him before she had discovered the source of the zombification at Pacific Coast Academy. On the other hand, Logan was most likely a bait turning many a girl into a zombie, For shallow ones such as Miranda Franklin alias "Makeout Mandy"[[55]] this would not have been a really big loss. But the plain horror was the looming possibility of Logan turning Zoey Brooks or even geek girl Quinn Pensky into one of those foul and perverse creatures ruled by the demons of the darkness.

Dustin had to tell Malika about the attitide of Zoey and her friends towards the upcoming beauty pageant. "Clearly, Lola wants to participate, as the first prize is that of being a cover girl of a popular journal for dumb teens, Buzz[[56]] or something like that. Quinn is somewhat evasive. And Zoey has changed her mind."

Now Malika started getting excessively worried, and she needed to ask back, "she has changed her mind in which way, and for what reason?"

Dustin nodded timidly, and he explained:

Originally, Zoey has deemed the pageant, especially in the form it will inevidently assume with only one judge, especially one like Logan Reese, the incarnation of uttermost sexism.

But, during her elementary school time, she had been deemed ugly by the most arrogant girl of her classes, one Catherine Peckerman[[57]].

Now she wants to send a message home to that censored.

I swear, Zoey may not glitter as much as Katie Peckerman, or even as, let's say, Lola Martinez, but she is certainly golden. And Katie has to pay for it, but not this way. I'd hate it.

Dustin kept on sobbing over and over because of the problems of Zoey. He did not want her to feel like a loser, but he did not want her to exhibit herself like a cheap shallow girl, as she would almost have done when dating Lance Rivers, for that was what she was not and should never become.

Malika sighed as deeply as can be, for she saw Dustin getting hurt in either way, regardless of how the pageant ruled by Logan Reese would wind up.

A few days ago, Dustin had seen a session of the web show of Carly Shay where Carly had exhibited a few recent sculptures of her brother Spencer. The reason for this exhibition had been that of Spencer getting rejected by his great idol Harold Joiner[[58]], something that must hurt him badly, and now Carly appealed to all viewers to appraise Spencer's works appropriately. Joiner must have been really rude to his biggest adorer when calling his works mediocre, as Catherine must have been when deeming Zoey ugly.

Malika panted deeply as she was reminded to Dustin's flashback at the end of the failed attempt of a new web show record, so she asked him directly, "did you already go through a power failure, similar to the one caused by Spencer's sculpture?"

Dustin looked aghast, but then he nodded sadly. "yeah, indeed, I did, it was like two years or so ago, at the begin of my last year of elementary school." He started talking about a video gaming station established by Logan Reese, side by side with a new set of boom boxes and similar crap. It had probably been very noisy and so on, due to the many people and the loud music. Dustin admitted to having played a video game and almost beat the top high score, hitherto held by one Sasha Striker[[59]], the mysteriously disappeared queen of the arcade.

Malika gasped, for there was yet some other disappeared person to acount for, fortunately not a former Pacific Coast Academy student. She was also more and more worried about her room mate , current coffee cart customer of the week and thus target of the horny activities of perverted coffee cart owner Calvin. The reason for this was another disappeared student, videlicet Darla Roberts, her forerunner as Calvin's playgirl of the week. The school's administration was once more practising her favourite discipline, and that was that of pretending to not know anything of importance and to threaten the people asking for them with detention, suspensioon, expulsion, deportation. Nicole and Dana had not only disappeared from the yearbooks, there were also no records left in the school's network, as figured by Nevel Papperman who had risked everything when cracking his way into the intranet of the Pacific Coast Academy school administration. By the way, Nevel had recently found strange things going on in Seattle, things pointing towards the presence of zombies and activities of monster hunters with snarks, activities not existing in the emerald city before the departure of Malika to Pacific Coast Academy. The zombie invasion had thus already started spreading across the nation, and it was no longer restricted to the greater Los Angeles area. Malika had to keep that in mind, but she was still primarily concerned with finding informations about events occurring during the last few years here at Pacific Coast Academy and standing at the root of the zombie invasion.

Dustin's cellular phone rang, and he picked it up. It was Quinn Pensky, with some more horror news, and these were about Zoey and Lola. Dustin panted before passing the news to Malika. "Lola and Zoey are at each other's throat. Zoey had made a gown for herself and for Lola for the pageant, and now Lola accuses Zoey of having made her an ugly gown on purpose."

Malika moaned, "Lola Martinez — she is either already a zombie, or she is slowly, but safely turning into one."

Dustin's breath froze, because his killer ninjas from Shinnusha could not compete with a Lola Martinez turned into a monster.

Chapter 21. Disowned

21.1. Henry Doheny

Megan Parker had just been able to sneak into the lounge of "Maxwell Hall" in order to look for Michael Barret for the purpose of telling him about the next practice session of the school orchestra. Michael had practised with his flute for several years, but he was still a bit embarrassed, no, a lot more than just a bit, or so Megan had heard from Dustin Brooks and a few other witnesses, and he seems to have given up on it quite a while ago, more precisely, he had never been seen again with his flute once having started with dating Lisa Perkins, for whatever reason. Megan was of course interested in getting to know the reasons, for this change was not quite unlikely to be connected to the underhandly zombie invasion whose sources Megan was exploring in order to be able to stop it efficiently instead of just hiding the symptoms under a carpet and thus indirectly making the problems even worse on the long run — as probably practised by the monster hunters' organisation Melinda Crenshaw had once worked for.

Megan finally saw Michael sitting in the lounge, but she was not little surprised when realising what he was about doing. Michael Barret was watching — along with other students — the show of Henry Doheny, the great master escapist and illusionist whose career, as we have already mentioned, had been saved by one of Megan Parker's most dramatic thaumaturgic interventions, namely her action of suspending his metabolism and his neural functions reversibly for three days. And Michael Barret, probably in order to impress his pals, boasted with being able to perform similar deeds as the great master who was freeing himself from trickily knotted ropes and tows. Megan panted heavily and decided to intervene by asking Michael, "do you want Henry Doheny to compete with you, from face to face?" She heard Michael sigh, giggle, and remark, "that would be cool, but Doheny requires too much." Granted, the master of escapism was very popular now, and hiring him the regular way for a presentation was not unlikely to cost some hundred thousand dollars. But Megan had got her connections, and Doheny would hardly turn down the request of the one person who had saved his career from oblivion. Megan had to think about many of Doheny's deeds of the past, just as making elephants disappear from the stage and let them reappear a bit later, but, unfortunately, the case of disappearing pupils here at Pacific Coast Academy was much more creepy and not that easy to solve. Indeed, there was now a new victim to complain about, videlicet Molly Talbertson, just a few days after having been the customer of the week of the coffee cart. Not without telepathic means would it be feasible for Megan to locate some of those victims, if at all, and wasn't it remarkable that several of Calvin Wang's customers of the week tended to disappear that fast after having been stripped of their title?

21.2. The Half A Million Dollar Car

Logan Reese had always been a boaster and a perverted dandy, so he now put it one step further and dared to show up on the campus with his new car, worth half a million bucks, in order to hit on even more girls. He had not even got a driver's license, so what had made him to get the car onto the campus, anyways? According to Logan's statements, he was only fifteen years old, but this was a lie, and Megan knew that he was lying, because she had asked Mindy Crenshaw, who, in turn, had asked Logan's grandfather Sean Reese[[60]], a nowadays retired teacher at Californian Institute For Technology, and this illustrious witness had confirmed Logan's age as seventeen. Apparently Logan Reese made himself appear fraudulently younger in order to hit on even more girls in an even more perverted and decadent manner. And apparently, Logan's plan was ready to work out perfectly, and several girls jumped readily into his luxury vehicle in order to make out with him in an utterly disgusting manner, though this should have been needless to say, as a scene with a girl making out with Logan was always disgusting, the same way as girls making out with Drake Parker. But not even Logan could spend half a million without his father's permission and hope to get away without a big bang. Megan also had to think about the outcome of the recent beauty pageant. Lola Martinez and Zoey Brooks had been throwing mud at each other, and everything had ended in a mud battle, period, ruining even Logan's new tuxedo suit, probably worth quite a few thousands of bucks, but much less than the luxury automobile. And Dustin Brooks had reported the feeling typical for having resisted a snark attack, so probably many other students had lost their memory concerning the beauty pageant.

21.3. Malcolm Reese comes down.

The expectations came true. Malcolm Reese, the richest Hollywood producer of the day, had been upset and cancelled Logan's credit card because of most inappropriate usage. For Logan Reese, this meant a catastrophe of hitherto unfathomed and unimaginable dimensions, a total chasm in his life, for Logan was by no means accustomed to the situation of having to manage without a credit card. He must have felt like dropped into the darekest hole ever, or so imagined Malika. But she also guuessed that a jerk without a gazillion of bucks at his hands was still a jerk and would always be a jerk, no matter what, so there was absolutely no reason for pitying the nowadays thoroughly disabled dandy. Unfortunately, many other students happened to see that differently, such as Zoey Brooks, Lola Martinez, Quinn Pensky, Chase Matthews, and Michael Barret.

21.4. Lame Tricks

Magic Malika was watching the duel between Henry Doheny and Michael Barret out on the campus yard. Of course she knew that their stupid tricks were lame compared to her telekinetic abilities, such as bending pitch forks from hell. Michael and Henry had to free themselves from knots tied by Kenneth Billiam, teacher for geography at Pacific Coast Academy middle school and also ranger scout captain of Los Angeles. Doheny had not got any problems with the knots, but Michael was desperate. Malika could not watch that heap of misery any longer, whence she untied Michael telekinetically after a few hourse of suspense. Strangely, not even his beloved girlfriend Lisa Perkins had come to Michael's rescue, which was strange, for, after all, Michael had saved Lisa's life, but now she did not do anything in turn for him. For Malika, this underlined the absolute perversity and decadence of the relationship between Michael and Lisa. Hey, wasn't there an awfully singing snark somewhere — Malika twitched a bit, because that snark's voice must have been really ugly. OK, Malika was over it, but it meant that many students had just lost another part of their memory.

Chapter 22. Visitors' Day

22.1. Preparations

According to the school's acts and the year book, there were some hundreds of new students at Pacific Coast Academy per annum. Of course not all of them — neither their parents — were willing to go to such a new and expensive place without visiting and checking it thoroughly. And for this avail, there was a yearly visitors' day, or, rather, three consecutive days, videlicet from Friday to Sunday. The real day was of course Friday, as this allowed the visiting kids to sit in the classes and inspect the lessons here at Pacific Coast Academy. But this weas of course only one part of the extensive visitors' programme, as there was also a guided tour across the facilities of the school and the campus, including the cafeteria, the shops, the bars, the gyms and sport fields, and so on, and there were interviews with the teachers and with current students. A few of the visiting pupils were also allowed to stay on the campus for the weekend and sleep inone of the dormitory rooms, of course a previously assigned one, as to avoid chaos and panic.

Malika was looking forward to that day with entropically mixed feelings, as the visitors were possibly hard to control. Their questions would be answered by students subjected over and over again to pernicious snark attacks. Also, the visitors were not unlikely to trigger another perverse intervention from the monster hunting team of Stockley, ad this would potentially get hundreds of other kids victims of snarks. Malika was basically able to block duly anticipated snark attacks even for her fellow pupils, but this required her to be at the right place in the right moment, which was definitely not a given during mass events.

22.2. Interviews

Malika Ritter had not been at the interviews, but she had sensed something bad to happen.

The current High school students were represented by no other than Zoey Brooks, Chase Bartholomew Matthews, and Stacey Dillsen, who had all been chosen by Dean Rivers during the last days preceding this visitors' day. Apparently, an excessively unpopular girl like Stacey Dillsen was not going to get a lot of attention from the interested future Pacific Coast Academy kids, so everything was going to concentrate on Zoey and Chase. Malika did not really care about who or what was most popuklar at the time being, for vulgar popularity was easy to disceren — for someone with the subltle senses of Malika Ritter or even more — as the work of evil demons, as best exampliefied in the case of teenage rock idol Drake Parker, of, not too long ago, girls such as Darla Roberts and Molly Talbertson, who, since the end of their respective turn as customers of the week of Calvin Wang's coffee cart, have not yet again shown up on the campus, but, even worse, appeared to not be missed by anyone except Malika. Melanie always wondered about the strange allusions of Malika to their third room mate, a person of whom Melanie was apparently no longer aware of, after a few days only — in other words, a snark attack must have brainwashed the memories of Molly out of Malika's one and only remaining room pal. The teachers were not missing either of the students, and the school's administration had never heard their names, so Molly and Darla were bound for becoming two weird lines in the next year books of Pacific Coast Academy.

During lunch, Malika had now got the occasion to talk to some of the participants of the campus guided campus tour. Some of the students interested in joining Pacific Coast Academy must indeed have caught some more or less uncanny impression of this school. One of them had even asked Zoey Brooks about possibly weird thinhs going on at the campus. The blond Mary Sue had, at first glance, given a hon estly negative answer. But both Chase and Zoey must have had a series of flashbacks throughout the interview sessions, short memories of the past passing in their mind, but without much of a coherence, and definitely not lasting really long. Those were nervous reflexes for whose perpetual oppression not even the pernicious song and the devastating gaze of a snark were sufficient, but which were hardly the promising sign of a reawakening memory.

In this very moment, Malika had got a dismal feeling, sensing the appearance of a member of the monster hunting mafia, and especially one of their snarks, right in the middle of the cafeteria, a danger for Pacific Coast Academy's students of the present days as much as for many aspiring students of the future. It was absolutely necessary for the master witch to react and to strike as fast as possible in order to save them from more mental degeneration. She panted heavily and spoke a couplet of prayer verses, making a lightening flash and a thunder roll outside. This shock was even too much for a snark to bear, and it collaped. Its owner, some anonymous monster hunter, must have been flabbergasted by the unanticipated failure of the snark attack. But, being stuck in the middle of the mass made fleeing impossible, yet it was very easy to disappear in that vulgar accumulation. In any case, Malika was not able to track down the snark or identify its master, so she had to be content with having inhibited the perverted attempt of snarking. The mass of other students was now no longer able to bear the tension, and they started to panic and stampede wildly, the worst of all stampedes ever seen on the campus of any Californian school.

22.3. The End Of The Stampede

Malika Ritter had thus been able, and this for the very first time since her move to Pacific Coast Academy, to stop a snark attack, and the result had to ba panic and terror, for the talks about uncanny things, combined with Malika Ritter's conjured lightning storm, had terrified many potentially new students and made quite a few established students wonder what they had been going through during the last years, without even remembering.

Dustin Brooks was one of the most worried kids, and he asked Malika about the significance of everything: the snark was defeated, but did this mean that things were going top be better for life at Pacific Coast Academy, or was this just the beginning of open panic and chaos?

For now, most students were exhausted. Local security officers and the county police had been able to appease the masses with more or less drastic methods, but this was no longer necessary. The campus has now superficially returned to peace, but, as everyone right in his mind was able to predict, this peace would not last for long. And the memories of the established students would not recover from the previous snark attacks just because of having escaped from another one. Rather, there would be a lot of work in front of Malika, probably too much to be feasible in time.

Chapter 23. Leo Bradford

Malika Ritter had been impressed by the ouroboric shape of the Pacific Coast Academy ring from the very first moment, but she had hitherto not found any information about its origin.

Of course she had tried to look it up in the official yearbooks, but she was not able to find a hint about its production in there, or, at least, almost no information. The first student to wear one of those accessories depicted in the book was from the fifties of the twentieth century, maybe around the time of the Corea war. Of course this did not exclude the possibility of the ring being a trifle older. Mindy Crenshaw had offered to examine the materials used for the ring of the ring by means of spectroscopy, in an attempt of figuring the methods in which the materials had been wrought. From there, it would have been possible, at least in the imagination of the geek girl, to figure which school of craftsmanship had brought forth this mysterious piece of art. But Malika did not really trust this materialist reasoning, maybe she sensed some magic intervention in the forming of this piece of art, but, even more, she did not trust the historiography of arts.

By the way, the school as a whole appeared to suffer an insane lot from the recent panic event. Many parents of the pupils that had visited the campus for the purpose of invitation were — and that was by all means fairly comprehensible for people of a somewhat lower spiritual integrity and fortitude than Malika — totally intimidated by these riots, and also the parents of no less than half of the currently registered students were urged to ask the school's administration and require guarantees for the physical and mental safety of their children. Dean Rivers's reactions were of course not really appropriate, chock full of ellipses, euphemisms, and evasive talk, and he was of course going to have to answer not only those questions asked byt the parents, but also by the school's board, the sponsors, the alumni, and, last but not least, the very owner of this extremely illustrious educational institution, one Leo Bradford[[61]].

According to repeated statements by Dustin Brooks, who had been around before the coeducational era at Pacific Coast Academy, Mr. Bradford had always been rigorously opposed to the admission of girls to this — traditionally boys-only — academy, until the very last moment, and even beyond. Dustin had told Malika about an incident where the boys had tried to prank the girls by perverting their dormitory walls, and the girls' response consisting in a corruption of a monument standing in front of the boy's dormitory hall, a statue standing for Leo Bradford's father, the very founder of Pacific Coast Academy. Dustin also explained that his memories had been inhibited, most likely by a snark attack, and that he had only recovered from this a few weeks ago, well, this was by no means untypical for Dustin in his current situation. Dustin's sister Zoey had been the ringleader of the girls, and she had thus been the most responsible for the denigration of the founder's memory, invoking inevitably the wrath of the school's tyrannic owner. Leo had seen himself thoroughly confirmed in his prejudices against coeducation, and he had announced to expell all girls again, but then revised his decision and only expelled Zoey. Some utterly perverted deed by Reese — he had made the sculpture of the old lord appear urinating — had changed Bradford's mind, because he would have had to expell all pupils, both boys and girls, and he had not been in a situation allowing him to afford such a loss. Malika believed that this had not been all, there must have been some reason for the monster hunters to intervene and to snark the pupils, and for that avail, she asked Dustin with determination to show her to the monument of the founder of Pacific Coast Academy, with the intention of querying the sculpture by means of her psychometrical abilities.

Dustin was a bit puzzled. "I remember the hall where the sculpture had been, but there is no monument whatsoever in front of it … so sorry …" Malika gasped and pondered the scary situation … the sculpture must have disappeared ever since, and nobody remembered the event, clearly a sign of a snark attack. Malika wondered about the possible impact of the disappearance of the proud sculpture on the mood of Leo Bradford, and she saw in the old creep a valuable witness of the times gone by, including the production and distribution of the first sample of those rings depicting a tail-snarfing stingray. Unfortunately, this old fascist was certainly one of the most grumpy people aver seen in California, as inferrable both from Dustin's story about the incident that had almost got his sister removed from the body of students a Pacific Coast Academy, and from the effect the owner of this illustrious prep school had got on Dean Carl Rivers during his recent visit. Clearly, the fear of a loss of at least one half of the totality of students at this prep school had got a really havoc-wreaking impact on the mental balance and sanity of the old man. But Malika needed to start somewhere with her vital research for the origins of this mysterious ring. And even Dustin was more and more interested, inspite of being far from sharing Malika's interest in and understanding of the mythology that was supposed to be at the heart of the most peculiar shape of the ring.

For the time being, it was impossible for Malika to talk to Leo Bradford, and that was not just because of his infuriated mood, but also simply for his absence in order to take care of some other business of the Bradford family, as he had put it in the presence of Beverly Brown[[62]], the secretary of Dean Rivers who had forwarded this information to Kazu Park from Sushi Rox. Of course, for the time being, Carl Rivers was going through hell, because Bradford was going to make him responsible for the most drastical loss of the parents' confidence in Pacific Coast Academy, no matter what. And the headmaster of the noble school was inevitably going to take it all out on the students, the teachers, and the staff of this institution, which was absolutely not going to be a very pleasant time for any of them.

Chapter 24. Zoey's Departure

24.1. In The Middle Of The Classes

Megan Parker was a bit bored during history classes, because she deemed almost all of the medieval people as incredible boobs, unworthy of being talked about. All of a sudden, the classes were interrupted by someone knocking at the door. Their teacher for history, Mr. Freedman,[[63]] told the interruptor to come in. It was the manager of the admin office. Beverly Brown, and she had to give Freedman a message concerning one of the pupils, more precisely, Dustin Brooks who was apparently expected over in the admin office, for whatever reason. Megan moaned, deeming Dustin lucky for being allowed to skip this most boring class for something more exciting, whatever that was. OK, being at the admin office was hardly going to be a pleasant experience, given the current stinky mood of Dean Rivers. Many parents had shown up recently, some of them firmly determined to remove their kids from Pacific Coast Academy, including Megan's mom, Audrey Parker, who had been dissuaded in the last minute by Drake the boob. Apparently, even boobs were useful once upon a time, just like a blind chicken was able to find a grain of rye once in a blue moon. OK, but it was still not exactly a well-established common practice to call the pupils out of their classes upon the arrival of their parents.

One of the potentially leaving students was Megan's room pal Ashley Blake who did not feel safe any longer, inspite of Megan's repeated reassurance of being able to protect Ashley from vampires and zombies. Ashley only laughed about Megan's words, because she did not think fairly fragile looking Megan capable of stopping a wildly rampant cohort of ferocious vampires, zombies, or other excessively creepy miscreatures of whatever sort. Her brother Vince was still banned from Pacific Coast Academy for having beaten up some other student, and Ashley had been working towards changing this by making him act like a gentlemen, of course only as a means of deceit. But these prospects had darkened significantly since the turmoil and chaos befalling the campus on visitors' day. Ashley was up to joining a prep school much more suited for future Hollywood stars — Hollywood School for the Professional Performance Arts, somewhere across the city of Los Angeles. Alas, megan was not convinced of Ashley being safe at Hollywood School for the Professional Performance Arts, either, for the zombie disease must have spread a lot, due to the perverted intervention of the monster hunting creeps and their pernicious snarks. But how big was the degree of undermining the other schools of Los Angeles county really? Megan could only guess, and this was of course not enough, she had to take a much closer look at the respective local situations.

24.2. Moving Abroad

Only at lunch did Megan parker come to see Dustin Brooks again, and she was there able to ask him about reason for being called out of the classes. The brother of the blond Mary Sue sighed unhappily, and he moaned, with tears in his eyes, stuff like "I will go to London, and so will Zoey." Megan and her friend Wendy gasped, not because of Dustin having to leave, which was not much of a surprise during the current phase of Pacific Coast Academy, but because of the destination. Wendy asked "in Great Britain?". Megan also knew of other cities named London, such as one in Ontario, Canda, and one in Minnesota, USA, and thence she deemed Wendy's question reasonable. Dustin sobbed deeply, and he made things even more precise, "well, it is the capital of England, that's where my dad's company has just opened its new European headquarters, and it needs a competent CEO, so …." Megan wondered, "I will miss you, but is it really not connected to the recent chaos here at Pacific Coast Academy?" Megan was feeling kind of guilty for having caused the exodus of so many pupils, including some of her friends.

Dustin had to sigh deeply before replying, "honestly, dad would have let me and Zoey stay here, if we had wanted to, but not under these creepy and uncanny circumstances." Dustin would have preferred to stay in California, because of his deep disgust concerning British kitchen, British accent, and, more than anything else, British weather. But Zoey had been more keen on the change, because London was also a big centre of fashion design, and she wanted to marry a prince, anyways, and so on, and stuff. In addition, many colleges appreciated postulants who had been at a foreign elitarian school, and this was certainly the case for Covington, the aristocratic boarding school in the outskirts of London, an educational institution even more expensive than Pacific Coast Academy.

24.3. Zoey's Request

Zoey Brooks had prepared her luggage, and she was now rigged and ready to say good by to the bright sunshine of California to embark for a trip across the mighty Atlantic, bound for good old England, the home of fog and gales. There was no way back, not after the uncanny incident on visitors' day. Of course she would miss her friends more or less, but there was no other feasible way discernable for the blond Mary Sue. Alas, there was something that had made her wonder for quite some time already, and that were the feeling of a certain dork with bushy hair, alias Chase Bartholomew Matthews. With some bad luck, she was never going to see that freak again, so she was worried right now about his feelings for her. Alas, Chase's capital shrubbery had always made him answer in a completely evasive manner, especially in Zoey's vicinity, and she was sure that he would not be able to answer honestly. For that avail, she had called Malika Ritter, of whose telepathic and telekinetic abilities she had already heard. There were only two hours left until the departure of the Brooks family from the campus of Pacific Coast Academy for the airport.

Malika was a bit puzzled by Zoey's sudden request, as the blond Mary Sue had never given much on Malika's paranormal abilities, and she was not utterly at ease when receiving Zoey's request to read Chase's thoughts, for intruding in someone's mind was not a nice thing to do, and Malika would only have agreed on it in an emergency case. Alas, this situation here appeared very urgent. After blowing some of her remorses into the wind, Malika promised to scan Chase's feelings for Zoey. Chase had been down since he had heard about Zoey's impending departure, but this was not enough of a proof for Zoey, because several other friends of the bushy dork were as well going to leave Pacific Coast Academy. Unfortunately, the mopment of the departure was already too close, and Malika was most likely not able to accomplish the request in time, thus she promised to inform Zoey by means of a message on her Splash Face account. Malika hated that social networking site, but this time it had to be.

Malika was more worried by the loss of Dustin Brooks, one of the few pupils who had learned how to resist the snark attacks and — even more — to recover from memory loss. This was definitely not a very promising situation, amounting to a fresh start. At least Dustin Brooks had decided to leave his PCA ring in Malika's hands, as he feared its archaic powers and wanted to know it in competent hands. In London, he would be all alone until finding new friends, and he would certainly not come to know anyone trustworthy during his first days, weeks, or even months at Covington Prep.

Chapter 25. Intrusion

25.1. Telepathy

Malika Ritter had silently read the thoughts of Chase Bartholomew Matthews, and she had discovered more and more remorses hidden inside Chase's mind.

Yes, he did have those insane feelings for Zoey Brooks, even worse than supposed by the blond Mary Sue right before her departure. But Chase also felt guilty for his inept attempts of trying to tell her, including some jealousy making, a completely disastrous failure. And now it had been all too late for Chase, with Zoey gone across the ocean, and so on. He was even up to following her and had already started trying hard to talk his parents into sending him to Covington Prep in the outskirts of the most royal city of the world, something that was most definitely not going to be an easy enterprise. But Chase was aware of the possibility that his failed attempt of using another girl in order to make Zoey jealous would forever be an aching thorn in his thoroughly tattered and torn mind.

Now Malika started feeling increasingly guilty of having snooped the bushy dork' mind way too much to let Chase left in the dark, and she was up to informing Chase about the whole thing. For that avail, she concentrated hard on teleporting herself into the dormitory room of Chase Matthews and his room pals in order to talk to the bushy head from face to face about her discoveries, while Logan Reese and Michael Barret were away for their stupid football training.

25.2. Chase's Confession

Chase Bartholomew Matthews was flabbergasted by seeing a cloud of whatever it was appear from nothingness and start to condense in the opposite corner of his dormitory room, and he startled enough to squeal uncontrollably.

Malika coughed and admionished Chase to refrain from fearing, as there were way worse thing than a teleporting witch in his dormitory room, such as frenzied ninjas with chopsticks and so on, chopsticks already covered with and dripping blood of the previous victims.

Remembering the night of watching Shinnusha,Chase Bartholomew Matthews was not exactly able to contradict to this statement, but he also had to thoroughly wonder about Malika's presence, and about her manners of showing up.

Malika giggled, as she had decided to get straight to the emergent point, "so, you feel miserable because of never having told Zoey about your feelings, and just having tried to make her jealous?"

Consternated Chase choked and coughed, even to the point of being ready to puke his lunch out, and he replied in an excruciatingly tortured manner, "how the censored did you come to know about the latter? Who, pray tell, has told you?"

Malika shook her head and mentioned her telepathic actions, but then she continued talking about that failed attempt, as she did not yet understand why this was such a troublemaker in Chase's view.

Chase tried to justify himself by remarking "it had not even been my idea, it was homegrown in the mind of … Lola Martinez."

Malika shrugged briefly with her heavt shoulders, and she replied, "OK, I don't try to make you feel bad, that's what you have already been doing unto yourself all the time, ever since."

Chase could not deny that Malika was nowhere near wrong with her last statement, and he started to report a few details, as much as he could still remember after almost two years of time gone by.

Two years ago, I had to tutor Lola in biology[[64]], and she started being interested in me for a few days, until she noticed that my real interest was no other than Zoey Brooks, although I lied to her and said that it was for a girl from my hometown.

Lola had already started discerning some blooming jealousy in the demeanour of Zoey Brooks, already before our dates, but especially during that period, and she had thus suggested a deal. Her cousin Caterina Vega[[65]] has always claimed to be the most gifted and hottest actress in California and bound for being a big Hollywood star. So it was Lola's idea to let Caterina play my fictional "girlfriend from my hometown". Her voluminous chest cushions were supposed to scare the living hell out of Zoey and make her reconsider her reserved attitude, and even torture herself for not having been fast enough to secure Chase for herself.

In order to make it more dramatic, Caterina, or, as she was called in her rôle as my sandbox girlfriend, even feigned to threaten Zoey's life in the case of even talking to me.

OK, maybe we had gone a bit too far with this, maybe … but it had been pointless, anyways.

At the end of the whole feigned dirty affair, Zoey was glad tp have me back as just a friend, just as in the two years before, and that was all to it, nothing of the things I had hoped for, none at all.

Chase drummed his fists against his hollow skull in order to try to knock his billowing remorses out of his head.

Malika sensed that Caterina was not a person to trust at all, maybe she was even a zombie or something worse, so she wondered, "what happened to Caterina?"

Chase shrugged absolutely helplessly and could not reply anything more speciafic than "I don't know – one day, she was gone, for whatever reason, and stuff … maybe Lola knows about it, I mean, they are remote relatives and so on."

Malika nodded solemnly, and it was now time for her to leave Chase's dormitory room, anyways, as football training was possibly already over and the evil roomies of Chase were already on their way back.

25.3. Looking For Caterina

Malika was sure of a snark attack being behind Chase's lack of information concerning the obscure and unremembered disappearance of Caterina Vega. Her first idea was that of asking Lola Martinez who had never made a sane impression on the queen of the magi, and this made the witch from Seattle hesitate. In addition, neither Lola nor Caterina were girls in Chase's league, their goals were fame and glory in the excessively perverted and vainglorious world of Hollywood. Maybe Lola had even got very bad second thoughts when suggesting Chase to make Zoey jealous with a hired girlfriend, especially her cousin. It was to doubt that Lola had ever had a thing for Chase, no, it was beyond any doubt that all her feelings for Chase had been feigned — maybe just in order to be able to boast with being credible in the star rôle of The Beauty And The Beast — part of a plan whichg only a perfect actress like Lola Martinez was able to execute, but what sort of plan had it been? Malika was not yet aware of a possible answer, and, for that avail, she had to keep on searching for answers. At least Chase had not forgotten completely about Caterina, or, as she had been called here, Rebecca. This allowed for hoping to find a few more witnesses, conscious or not, of Caterina's destiny.

Chapter 26. Wayne and Trina

During the two days following the interrogation of Chase Bartholomew Matthews, Malika Ritter kept on asking random high school kids about their knowledge of Caterina Vega alias Rebecca, and she got a few more or less confusing answers.

The most promising source for more information appeared to be one Wayne Gilbert, usually better known as "Firewire", one of the nerdiest nerds ever at at Pacific Coast Academy during the last half of a decade.

Already rather enervated Malika Ritter grunted, "so, what the censored did you have to do with Caterina alias Rebecca?"

Wayne Gilbert appeared totally embarrassed, but he nevertheless achieve answering in his typical manner — which involved some insane cackling "what boys usually want to have to do with girls."

Malika Ritter was thoroughly disgusted and dismayed by this excessively perverse and decadent thought, and she almost had to start puking her stomack into oblivion.

Wayne Gilbert admitted to having been thoroughly desperate during thay time because he was avoided by all the hot girls at Pacific Coast Academy, such as Zoey Brooks and Lola Martinez , and also by that one bimbo girl whose name he had forgotten.

Malika still had got a hard time to hold her vomit back, and she wondered thoroughly about the reasons why the busty criolla had started dating and making out with the nerd, there was probably some sort of payment involved. And the bimbo girl alluded to by Wayne had probably been no other than Zoey's former room mate Nicole Bristow.

Wayne reported, "I was desperate, and Rebecca, or Caterina wanted me equally desperately to help her with a technical problem with her email which she needed to get done in order to blackmail Zoey. And in turn, she would be my girlfriend for a whole hot week of fun once of she turned eighteen — I had not known that she was only fourteen — bear with it! And now she is gone and will probably not pay me, anyways, the whole deal got me in trouble too much already. "

Malika took it that Rebecca alias Caterina Vega had never been up to dating Wayne Gilbert for real in the first place, and she really had to wonder how a boy able to program war robots and other complicated automata was likely tto fall so easily for a loose girl with no manners and no honour, or so she imagined Caterina Vega.

The situation was by absolutely no means different from an incident that had occured during the Blix van contest where Logan Reese had offered Stacey Dillsen to date her for a whole week if she abandoned the contest and let him win instead.

Malika asked Wayne now about Caterina's reasons for getting back at Zoey, givemn that everything between Chase and Caterina, sorry, Rebecca, had just been feigned.

The answer was quite simple, of course Chase had promised to pay Rebecca in some manner, and more precisely by writing a script for a musical for her in order to make her famous at the Broadway, but Chase had never accomplished his promise, well, probably he had refrained from doing so because their plan of making Zoey jealous had failed miserably. But Caterina vega had most likely insisted in getting paid anyways, for, after all, she did have a lot of work with her rôle as Chase's excruciatingly hot girlfriend from his hometown. And Caterina Vega, totally inspite of not being Chase's sandbox girlfriend but only knowing him for a few months, knew Chase's weak spot, which, obviously, was Zoey Brooks. It had been absolutely no difficulty for the busty latina to understead that the simplest way of getting back at promise breaker Chase Bartholomew Matthews was most definitely that of hurting his dirty little obsession, Zoey Brooks. Caterina wanted to force Zoey to sdo several embarrassing and humiliating things, totally unacceptable, in the public.

Now, Malika was more interested in Caterina Vega's, or Rebecca's, destiny after blackmailing Zoey. Well, Wayne Gilbert did not really know, but he had runours about Rebecca having been seen at some special school for future Hollywood stars. Malika had to think immediately about no other school but Hollywood School for the Professional Performance Arts, the future school of some of the Pacific Coast Academy refugee, including especially Ashley Blake.

Wayne Gilbert begged Malika to remain silent about the conversation, as he did not want to get into trouble again for having supported Caterina Vega alias Rebecca. Last time, Quinn Pensky had abducted his Galaxy Wars action figures, including some that had still been included in their original plastic wraps.

Malika cackled when she thought about Wayne's "big loss", and she explained, after hearing Wayne's objections, that those action figures had been cheap copies made by some vulgar counterfeiters. She explained that the same charlatans even sold new cars and claimed them to be original vehicles used during the shootings of the action movies.[[66]] Wayne wondered how Malika could make such a statement, and he supposed, "can you read the mind of half-destroyed action figures?"

Malika shook her had, as she had got a fairly simple and normal explanation, videlicet "the original action figures had never been wrapped in plastic, but in cardboard and polystyrene, while those belonging to the remakes have not yet been officially released."

Wayne Gilbert looked aghast, not sure whether it was better to be happy because the destroyed figures weren't originals, or unhappy because of having fallen for charlatans and counterfeiters.

Malika could not care any less, but she had to think about Hollywood School for the Professional Performance Arts and the possibility of Caterina Vega dwelling over there, maybe ready to abuse other people as well. She would soon accompany Ashley Blake to a trip over there and use this occasion in order to snoop on that school, well, she needed to insp[ect all schools of the county, as she feared that the zombiefication, whatever the reason was, had already started to spread across the whole region of Los Angeles and was thence impossible to stop. Other schools to inspect were Silver Spring[[67]]Lakewood, Palmwood, and James K. Polk. In other words, there was so much to do in so little time. Also, Malika had promised to tell Zoey about Chase's feelings, but was she now supposed to tell Zoey about Chase's usage of Caterina Vega as a hired jealousy maker? This did have the potential of destroying everything at whim that had ver developed between Zoey Brooks and Chase Bartholomew Matthews, for, under conditions like this, Zoey could impossible consider Chase as a good friend any longer. Panting heavily, Malika decided to tell Zoey Brooks the full truth about Chase and Rebecca or Caterina, whatever, for she did not be a bunch of hypocritical charlatans like the monster hunters abusing snarks in order to corrupt and degenerate mankind.

Chapter 27. The Locker Halls Of Hollywood Arts

Megan Parker had just entered the locker halls of Hollywood School for the Professional Performance Arts in order to accompany her class mate to her interview in the office of the school's headmaster, Brad Eichman.[[68]]. Admonished by he friend Malika Ritter, she was also going to watch out for Caterina Vega of whome she had not yet seen a picture, but whom she just had heard described as a busty Latina aged fourteen or fifteen.

Many students here were aspiring rock stars, so Megan guessed that her brother Drake would have liked studying here at this school, well, he should come hereto every now and then in order to recruit new members and guest musicians for his band.

The locker hall was very impressive, not due to its size, but due to the ornations of some of these lockers, especially the one with some multi-coloured lacquer spots on them. megan wondered what sort of person was able to come up with such a brand of decoration — she deemed her pathetically worthless step brother Josh totally capable of doing so, but also Stacey Dillsen or Spencer Shay. Megan did not have any qualms imagining some hundreds of ways Joshuah would have been able to ornate his locker door. And all of a sudden, the owner of the locker, a teenager with hair bushier and freakier than that of Chase Bartholomew Matthews, approached in order to open it. Megan introduced Ashley as a new potential students, and herself as Ashley's watchdog, or something like that. The locker's boss introduced himself as one Sinjin van Cleef, a middle school upperclass man at this school, and he explained his work as a composition of polyurethane and industrial clue, hiding bits of his undigested food from his last meals.

Megan shuddered for excruciating disgust, and she also deemed her boobish step brother able of producing such an appalling thing.

But things turned suddenly even worse when Sinjin van Cleef started hitting on the attractive little diva, trying to invite her to a dinner and a movie.

Ashley Blake was more than just disgusted, and she was not even able to turn around and walk away, her stomach started cramping and rebelling instantly and violently, releasing the whole breakfast withing just a few seconds. An awfully smelly fountain started gushing forth from the drama queen's mouth like from a pump gun, and some excessively unpleasant stink started to fille the air of the locker hall. Most of the little Hollywood diva's breakfast ented up on the floor. Sinjin van Cleef pondered immediately using the mored solid chunks of Ashley's oral output in order to add to his locker door's decoration, so he was immediately ready to fetch some polyurethane and Grizzly clue in order to fix the chops of cinnamon doughnuts and so on.

Megan Parker, on the other hand, was now faced with totally pale — even almost lifeless and as close to passing out as can be — Ashley Blake whose weight — fortunately not too much — she had to support in order to keep her from slumping to the ground and probably even from wiping the floor — still covered with her own gastral rubbish — with her own long hair. She yelled for the janitors in order to wipe the floor, and for the nurse in order to take care of Ashley's strained health. Sinjin objected severely to the plan of letting a janitor wipe the trash, not before he had extracted everything usable for adding to his locker's wonderful ornation.

But Megan could not care any less, she had to take care of Ashley, still unable to walk, and they were — all of a sudden — almost run over, or stomped, by some busty Latina whom she supposed to be the lost Trina Vega, and her guess got really confirmed by some passerby who called the hot criolla by her name, Trina Vega. The Puerto Rican immigrant girl appeared to be very vainglorious, and she wondered more about the effect of her facial makeup then about her footsteps, making her walk very close to Ashley's expelled stomach contents.

Ashley was recovering very fast since she was now a few steps away friom Sinjin van Cleef and no longer subjected to his horny remarks and to his creepy looks. And for that avail, Megan decided to cancel the call for the nurse, as she knew some means in the diva's handbag more useful for this case, such as some sniffling salt prepared last year by Quinn Pensky for situations like these, situations deemed typical for a sensitive diva like Ashley.

And there was the office of Principal Eichman. Megan had heard of him not only as a principal of this school, but also as a producerrunning some mediocre TV broadcasting corporation operating both in Hollywood and in Seattle, a producer of very crappy shows. Many kids at Pacific Coast Academy would have preferred him to produce something like the web show of Megan's alike-looking cousin Carly Shay, and Megan was probably going to suggest something like that.

Megan was not interested in the technical details of the ongoing conversations between kid superstar Ashley Blake and the headmaster of Hollywood School for the Professional Performance Arts, she was instead pondering the possible state of the zombification of this educational institution. Caterina Vega was most likely already a zombie and a danger for many people here, but a fairly harmless one when compared to some of those that had infected Pacific Coast Academy, well, dangerous enough to pull weirdos like down into the swamp, but not many other people. But, out of the corner of her eyes, she had made aout a very dangerous male zombie in the disguise of a really hot guy going apparently by names such as "Beck". The danger emanating from this excessively perverted subject was about as great as that from someone like Logan Reese or Drake Parker during his early teenage years. Finally, the conversation between the Hollywood child star and the headmaster of Hollywood School for the Professional Performance Arts was over, and Megan was ready to take her back to Pacific Coast Academy.

On their way out, Megan's eyes passed by a dark and grumpy goth girl blocking the locker hall and making fun of other kids, especially of Sinjin van Cleef, and she did apparently not have anything good to say about Caterina Vega, either. But there was something even more strange about that goth girl, videlicet a tattoo of a pentagram — a star with five tips — adorning her right arm. And the pentagram was very well known as a powerful holy symbol especially to smart witches like Malika Ritter, a symbol often equated with the legendary seal of Solomon, important for several classical rituals of banishment. Unfortunately there was no time left for Megan to ask the goth girl in order to obtain more valuable facts, but she felt compelled to report back to Malika and to keep on researching later on.

Chapter 28. The Lion Sleeps Tonight

28.1. Coco The Zombie

As a most illustrious and elitarian boarding school, Pacific Coast Academy was proud of the high quality of its staff and constantly keen on upkeeping a high level and even improving it. Unfortunately, there were a few black sheep, and one of them was no other but Coco Wexler, the chubby and messy dormitory adviser of the high school girls. The disgusting matron had actually been responsible for last year's traditional camping trip of the sixth graders, including Dustin Brooks and Ashley Blake, to Yosemite Park, and two kids got actually lost out in the wilderness, to be found only several days later by some Nolan Byrd[[69]] from Cedar Valley High School, a county school between Fresno and the entrance to Yosemite proper.

Malika Ritter, on the other hand, was not convinced of the whole thing having been nothing but an accident caused by the overfat dormitory maid's lack of attentivity, but she was sure of something more traumatic covered and made forgotten by some snark attack. This, at least according to Malika's judgement, was by absolutely no means meant as an excuse for Coco Wexler's lack of skills and sense for her duties — quite the contrary, Malika supposed Coco to be not only horribly naïve, but also driven by certain diabolic urges, just like zombies.

Unfortunately, Dustin Brooks was now far across the ocean, and it was no longer easy for Malika to simply asked him about his slowly returning memories of the most scary events of the last years.

Megan Parker had already started to try to get other kids of her grades, participants of last year's expedition into the pational part, to start to recover from many a snark attack they had gone through before her own and Malika's arrival, oh well, she had hitherto not achieved much in this context.

Dean Rivers was in charge with testing the quality of his staff afresh year after year, and he was pressured by Mr. Bradford to be excessively careful this time around, of course because of the recently suffered huge loss of the confidence of the parents in the adminsitration of Pacific Coast Academy. In addition, Coco Wexler had never been one of Leo Bradford's favourite employees, for the old censored had got prejudices not only against coeducativity, but also against all female employees at Pacific Coast Academy, be it teachers, admins, or folk as low as Coco Wexler, and he had heard many a horrible story about the chubby matron. Now Rivers had convoked Coco Wexler for a serious talk about her possible future here at Pacific Coast Academy which was definitely no longer a given.

Malika's thoughts about this impending meeting between the head master and the girls' dormitory adviser were not really filled with an expression of ease. Coco was a real danger for Malika's fellow students, and she was sooner or later also going to attract more snark attacks inflicted upon the students of this school by the secret monster hunting organisation, but the expulsion of Coco would have removed her even more from Malika's partial control, and it would have made it thence harder for Megan and Malika to research the very causes of the zombification of this school, and beyond. In addition, Coco was up to going on a camping trip with students of Pacific Coast Academy to Yosemite Park during the looming term break, and this would have been one occasion for Malika to research the traces of last year's camping trip with the sixth graders.

Alas, Coco Wexler's idea for the conversation with Rivers was most definitely insane, for anyone with a brain. Coco had asked Tipper Rivers[[70]], the excessively psychopathical wife of the very headmaster of Pacific Coast Academy, for advice, and she had come to know that the dean was collecting works of arts related to lions. Thus Coco had decided to hire a real lion and to surprise Carly Rivers with it at the occasion of their conversation about her own potential future at Pacific Coast Academy. Now, what sort of an idea whas that, really? It was well known among the pupils, teachers, and staff of Pacific Coast Academy that the marriage of Dean Rivers and his fury-like wife was definitely not pure fluff, quite the contrary, it was most likely a daily horrortrip across hell and back the consequences of which were regularly taken out by the hapless webmasters on the people living or working at this elitarian educational institution. Some pupils at Pacific Coast Academy, among them Wayne Gilbert , had even rumoured that Tipper was up to getting rid of her husband in a not so legal or nice manner, and getting a naïve fool like Coco Wexler to sneak a dangerous predator animal into her husband's office in order to get him scared to death, if not torn into pieces and buried in its acidic guts, was most likely a brilliant move in order to get rid of the unwanted husband pretty fast and to get someone else framed for it.

Malika Ritter had to come to a fast decision, and she was up to prevent the worst case by trying to hypnotise the lion with her witches' gaze, or — even better — to ask Megan to spellbind the ferocious predator with the sound of her oboe, if needed at all. Megan had already been able to beguile evil horror dogs.[[71]] But Malika was feeling horribly bad for this, as this would have been one of those meddlings with lowly worldly affairs of other humans she had neither been keen on nor even interested in, at least not under normal circumstances.

28.2. Chase is gone.

As aforementioned, Chase Bartholomew Matthews was still utterly unable to desist from hankering after blond Mary Sue Zoey Brooks , even across the ocean, and he had actually been able to talk his parents into letting him study at Covington in Great Britain. Now Chase was gone, all over night, and he had left his two roomies Logan Reese and Michael Barret alone. The two perverts were interested in keeping the room for themselves, inspite of the administration's command to fill it with a third room mate. Sooner or later, they would be forced to let a new guy into it.

But Malika was rather concerned with things that were likely to happen to Chase in London, especially because Zoey was now aware of the fact that Chase had hired Rebecca alias Trina Vega in order to make her jealous, a potential revelation that had been hanging above the head of the blooming relationship of Chase Matthews and Zoey Brooks like the legendary sword of Damokles, the brutal end of many a foolish hope.

Chapter 29. Off To Yosemite Park

Malika Ritter's hypnotic intervention had caused the lion borrowed by Coco Wexler in order to impress headmaster Carl Rivers to sleep peacefully in the entrance hall of the administrational office. This had not really saved Coco Wexler, though, she was to be expelled at the end of the year. But at least Malika's action had assured that Coco would not be dismissed on site, thus efficiently cancelling the spring break trip to Yosemite. And Malika had already been busy studying the topographical map of the national park. This could turn out essential in order to save the whole gang during the trip. Malika's skills in telepathy, telekinesis, and clairvoyance alone would not have been enough without a thorough theoretical knowledge of the region. Especially shortcuts through the dense forests needed to be planned excessively carefully in order to avoid disastrous incidents, just as the middle school kids that had been lost out there during the last year's camping trip.

Unfortunately, there was now also another obstacle to the whole camping trip. Coco Wexler had incidentally killed her looming mother in law and was now at odds with her future husband Carl Bubba[[72]]. More precisely, according to Coco's statement, she had been hiding in some treehouse near Carl's home because she had suspected him to cheat on her. The treehouse had broken down and made Coco crash down on what had later on turned out as Carl's mother. The weight of the chubby mess had been enough to break the neck of the old woman. Honestly, this was not really a big loss. But Carl appeared to be fairly upset, and Coco was now feeling compelled to change her plans for the spring break and go to Fresno in order to patch her relationship with Carl.

Malika had not been caring at all about the thing between Coco and Carl, two thoroughly disgusting beings. Carl was a worthless jock and manager of the laughingstock of Pacific Coast Academy, the team for baseball and softball, a pathetically weak squad that had lost everything during the last five years. In addition, Carl was on probation for multiple cases of drunk vandalism in pubs. But without a "responsible" adult, they were not allowed to make it to the camping trip, according to the rules multiply cited by Carl Rivers. Fortunately, Malika had already prepared something for that situation, more precisely, Dave Green,[[73]] the principal of aforementioned Cedar Valley High, was willing to pick up the kids from Fresno, which — unbeknownst to Coco — was right on the way to Yosemite. Dave Green had planned an excursion with some of his students to the forests of Yosemite anyways, and he was most certainly a more responsible choice than Coco, after all. This had saved the trip. They did not even wait in Fresco for Coco after being done with Yosemite, they would simply take a train trip from there to Los Angeles and get picked up by David Bender. Their luggage would be delivered home later on, but they did not need it during the spring term classes, anyways, so this delay did not really matter a lot.

And now they were loading their belongings necessary for the camping trip into the mini van. The students bound for Yosemite, besides Malika Ritter, were Logan Reese, Michael Barret, Quinn Pensky, Lola Martinez, and Mark del Figgalo. That was certainly not a fairly promising company, but it had to be in order to follow the traces of the middle school kids that had been lost and only saved by aforementioned Nolan Byrd.

The latter was going to join the gang in Cedar Valley, along with a few friends from his highschool, students of Dave Green, and those kids were Isabel Delgado[[74]], Miriam O' Connel[[75]] — better known as "Man-Hands Miriam", and Maximillian Wilkes[[76]].

Both Max and Nolan had got relatives in aforementioned James K. Polk school in Santa Clarita in the county of Los Angeles, a school Malika had already been up to scrutinise for a few weeks. Nolan's cousin was Edmond Bigby, the author of a not yet printed school survival guide witnessing his life at James K. Polk middle school. A DVD of Bigby's survival guide was already circulating on the campus of Pacific Coast Academy, and thence Malika had already discovered a series of oddities. Her biggest concern appeared to be a gang of bullies rules by a certain excessively sadistically inclined William Loomer. One of Loomer's henchmen, Buzz Rodrigues, never said a word, and the other one, Jerome Crony[[77]], appeared rather girlish inside, like hiding his true interests underneath a bully's mask. The cousin of Max Wilkes, Winston[[78]] was generally just known as the "Backpack Boy", vendor of many practical and fashionable backpacks, including those designed by Zoey Brooks and plagiarised by Mindy Crenshaw.

"Man Hands" Miriam was a tomboyish goth girl who was not really unknown to Megan Parker. The latter was going to spend her spring break in San Diego with her evil boobs, videlicet Drake and Josh. And Josh had once tried to hit on Miriam in the cinema he was working at, of course without success, even worse, he had risked his health, as Miriam's grip could be murderous. Malika wondered about a connection between Miriam and the tomboyish goth girl Megan had seen in the locker halls of Hollywood School for the Professional Performance Arts, a girl named Jade West, bearer of a holy tattoo. After the spring break, Malika would have to investigate this situation more closely.

The van was now rolling along the coastal road, and Logan kept on making his usual excessively perverted comments, interrupted only by the sound of Michael Barret's new addiction, videlicet playing with clacker balls — two plastic balls connected with a string and making a hell of a noise when colliding each other. Quinn tried to make out with her Mark, but this poorly coordinated attempt was not really successful in a rusty and rickety van driven with the skills of someone like Coco Wexler along the curvy coastal roads.

Chapter 30. A Grisly Discovery

The camping trip in the park had only lasted for three days, because Bruce Windchill[[79]], California's "weatherman of the year" of the last five years straight, had issued a read alert, and Dave Green was responsible enough to stop the whole trip in time.

Unlike Windchill, Walter Nichols, the father of Joshuah Nichols, had predicted totally nice weather for the whole spring break, but he was definitely not reliable. The year before, Walter had predicted nice weather for several days for the whole Pacific coast, but the real weather had been one of the biggest rain storms in the history of Southern California. The Pacific Coast Academy must have been hit by it, too. Strangely, the pupils had not been really able to remember, well, this was probably the result of another snark attack.

Of course this was quite a disappointment for some of the teenagers participating in the field trip, both the kids from Pacific Coast Academy and those from "Cedar Valley". Logan Reese would have loved to boast more with his natural beauty. Lola Martinez would have wanted to practise for shooting a movie about the time of the colonialisation of the American wilderness during the eighteenth century. Quinn would have liked to seduce Mark more and more at the campfire and in their tent — most apparently a really tough business. Only Michael Barret was totally happy about the early return, because, inspite of not having encountered any bear, he was still afraid of the mere possibility. He had learned from Josh Nichols to keep his food containers bear proof.[[80]], but this did not protect himself from getting attacked by bears, did it? In addition, sleeping in tents was still giving him the creeps, especially because of the mere possibility of bugs and spiders hiding inside a tent.

Finally, Malika would have preferred to have more time left in order to scrutinise Yoshemite from head to foot anbd turn over each pepple if necessary for looking for the reasons of the disappearances of a few children at the occasion of last year's camping trip. So, while having only been able to scan the situation out in the surface superficially, Malika sensed that there had indeed been some disastrous zombie activity, something not very usual for life here in the wilderness, far from the gates of the metropolitan area of cities like Los Angeles or even Frisco. Usually, zombies had been believed to be a result of urban alienation, conditions generally not found in the barren wastelands. Only a curse resting on a refugee from the cities would have been able to achieve this.

On there way home, the teenagers from Pacific Coast Academy had been allowed to stay for two more days at the homes of their colleagues from Cedar Valley. This was superficially necessary because David Bender was not available for picking up the kids at the main train station of Los Angeles that early — he had been gone for a few days during that spring break — but it was also a great occasion for examination the situation in this valley. There was one potential zombie living in this region and studying at the school of Mr. Green: Alvin Bixby[[81]], a totally perverted jock and bully, as reported by no other than Nolan Byrd, the saviour of Cedarwood Lake. Bixby's family had tried to abuse the lake as a dustbin for toxic and otherwise obnoxious and disgusting industrial trash of all sorts, and only Nolan's courageous intervention had stopped this. Clearly, projects like these were the consequence of the zombification of society, as zombies were not worried about a clean environment or so, as they were foul creature able to eat and drink the rotten and decaying without suffering any damage. Quinn was shocked when hearing about the news fron Cedarwood. Only Logan Reese had not cared, for he justified all profitable enterprises, no matter what, even at the cost of war and environmental destruction.

Malika had also been tempted to ask "Man Hands" Miriam about Jade West, and there was indeed a connection. Both of them belonged to a secret circle of tomboy goths trying to eradicate undeads. Jade was tracking down a certain Beck Oliver, a hot-looking and thus particularly dangerous male, most likely an undead. She was up to pretending to be his girlfriend until she had mastered the ritual of banishment needed for destroying the foul creature. Malika had almost suspected something like this, due to the tattoo of the pentagram.

So those days at Yosemite and Cedarwood Valley had gone by, and the teenagers from Pacific Coast Academy were back on the campus before the official end of the spring break. Malika strolled the campus because she had got an uneasy feeling, something like "I should not have left Stacey alone on the campus." Granted, Stacey Dillsen had announced to be bound for Colorado in order to break her leg and everything else in the snow-covered mountains — guessing from her proverbial bad luck. But now Malika spotted Stacey Dillsen across the campus — physically healthy but very sad. Her parents had never showed up, inspite of their repeated promises, and Stacey was accustomed to getting dropped by others, but not yet by her parents. Malika sensed something grisly, and she came to a freshly shoveled pit. She had never trusted the new custodian, Seamas Finnegan[[82]], and thus she started scanning freshly dug soil with her paranormal senses. The result of the scrutiny was horrifying — the mud contained most likely human corpses. Of course Malika was not able to identify them nor determine the cause of their death and the way their corpses had made it into this pit, but she concluded preliminarily: Seamas Finnegan had murdered the parents of Stacey Dillsen and hidden them down in the muddy groove. This was of course a really stern accusation, and her guesses were not meaniung much. She needed to get the pit and its contents dug and examined officially, and this required the permission of Dean Rivers. And the worst part would be inevitably that of telling Stacey Dillsen. Malika knew about the stubborn attitude of the school's headmaster, and she deemed it better to inform another responsible adult beforehand, and she chose David Bender as the only suitable person currently on the campus.

Only half a day later, officer David Alejandro Vega, the chieftain of the special unit of the county police of Los Angeles, would confirm most of Malika's guesses — and now it was their turn to lift every pebble thrice in order to search for more traces. Stacey would of course break into tears, and David Bender would have a hard time taking care of it. Dean Rivers would be extremely upset because Bender had informed the police without his permission, and he expected Leo Bradford to come down and wreak severe havoc. And Malika would conclude that Seamas Finnegan was not just a zombie, but even a ghoul.

Chapter 31. James Garrett

Spring break was now over, but the horror was not gone, quite the contrary — more and more returning students heard about the grisly deeds, news that were even several octaves above anything hitherto known on the campus, or at least anything remembered.

Malika Ritter had indeed fended off some snark attacks as members of the monster hunting society had been chasing after Seamas Finnegan and tried to wipe out the traces of their own activities.

Dean Rivers was upset about the last week, too, but not because of the death of the parents of Stacey Dillsen, but because of a damaged golf trophy. Rivers had once been the captain of the golf team of Pacific Coast Academy, like thirty years or so ago, and one member of his team, envious of Carl Rivers's position, had been no other than Seamas Finnegan. Apparently the mutilation of the golden cup was an act of revenge by the former Pacific Coast Academy pupil and now custodian who had taken up this job just in order to get back at his former captain. Of course there had been no witnesses for that deed, either, and Carl Rivers was mean enough to accuse Stacey Dillsen, the only pupil present on the campus at that time, of having mutilated the dean's pride. Officer Vega was thoroughly disgusted by the heartless attitude of the headmaster when hearing Carl Rivers's stupid and totally inappropriate accusations.

Leo Bradford, the biggest of all bosses at Pacific Coast Academy, was only worried about the public prestige of the school, and after the uncanny incident on visitors' day, this event was a catastrophe exceeding all hitherto beknownst limits, meaning more or less the end of this long established educational institution. Leo was thus eager on preventing journalists from preventing the diffusion of the horrible news across the country, and he needed for this avail stop all the curious journalists. Unfortunately, the enemies were even among the students, examplified by Jeremiah Trottman, first editor of the school's newspaper — Daily Stingray— and star reporter of the campus channel. But reporters from all of Los Angeles had already smelled some blood and were now ready to dig their sharpened teeth as deep as only possibly into the seductively odorous fresh meat. One of the most curious journalists was Angela Crabtree[[83]], a middle school student from aforementioned Lakewood school, but she was not quite as obnoxious as another ambitious young journalist, Robert Shapiro from Hollywood School for the Professional Performance Arts, an annoying freak with hair as disordered as that of Chase Matthews, and with a hand puppet — Rex — even more curious than himself. Robbie had been alerted by Ashley Blake, one of the refugees from Pacific Coast Academy that had found their subterfuge at Hollywood School for the Professional Performance Arts. And while those teenagers were already a terrible mess threatening the public renown of Pacific Coast Academy when reporting truthfully about the events, they could not yet hold a candle to the professional journalists that were expected to make it to the campus of Pacific Coast Academy sooner or later. The most feared of the rather well paid scribblers was certainly Kitty Monroe[[84]], the reporter of the fantabulous — and most popular in New York City and in Miami — show The Red Carpet, well known for her lack of will to show any sort of mercy whatsoever. Not much less feared was Miles Bambridge[[85]], the star reporter of California's most renowned breakfast TV Channel. Millions of viewers would be upset and brand the campus of Pacific Coast Academy as a place of ongoing manslaughter. Most kids would leave Pacific Coast Academy during the term that had just started, and there was even a passage in the students' contracts valid at Pacific Coast Academy that allowed their parents to request the already paid study fees to ge returned to them because of immediate life danger for the students, or so had Claire Sawyer, high school girl and most promising and ambitioned future lawyer, told the kids from Pacific Coast Academy who had found a subterfuge at Claire's high school, such as Cassandra Baldwin.

Inspite of the — in comparison way inferior — horror of last visitors' day, one new student had made it to Pacific Coast Academy, and this was a tall blond rake going by the very name of James Garrett[[86]]. Alas, Malika Ritter had already seen this jerk before, and not just once, at her old school in Seattle, videlicet Ridgeway. James, or, better, Jake Crendle, had been a seductive yet naïve creep coveted by many a girl, including Carly Shay. Even worse, Jake had been seen on Carly's web show, he had oplayed a song with his guitar, a song apparently dedicated to his handicapped grandmother, well, Jake Crendle's ability of singing did definitely not hold a dimmest candle to his looks, putting it mildly. But nothing had come out of the whole trouble, as exorbitantly shallow minded James Garrett most defitely preferred blondes over girls of any darker colour of hair, so he would have been deadly addicted to Zoey Brooks, or so guessed Malika. But, fortunately, the blond Mary Sue was currently no longer at Pacific Coast Academy, ffor she would have been fallen for that guy and would have got her heart broken, anyways, as guys like James Garrett changed their mind too many a time. Malika got close enough to the intruder for a thorough scan, and she detected that he was most definitely a zombie, not afraid of lightening flashers, thunder rolls, and mass murder, no, quite the contray, he was definitely addicted to and attracted by all this stuff. Alas, even without Zoey Brooks, James Garrett would go and look for his victim, so he needed to be observed closely.

At the same time, Leo Bradford kept on being bombarded with questions by Angela Crabtree and Robert Shapiro. Malika was still up to asking him about the history nof the ring, but she had to be aware of the danger of being mistaken for yet another vulgar journalist and thus to increase the anger of the lord of Pacific Coast Academy even more. Bradford was talking about Finnegan getting caught by the state police, sooner or later, and get punished duly. For Malika, this was of no relevance, for a zombie like Seamas could only laugh hysterically about those puny attempts of human justice. She needed to convince Bradford of the relevance of the PCA ring for the control of the current situation, and this was by no means going to be very easy.

Chapter 32. The Early Years

32.1. Spring Break In San Diego

Megan Parker had spent her spring break in San Diego, and her observations over there had by no means been of the pleasant sort. It was now time for her to report back to Malika Ritter. Audrey had, as aforementioned, been worried because of the fairly harmless turmoil at visitors' day, and she would for sure have withdrawn Megan from Pacific Coast Academy when knowing about the death of the parents of . But Audrey Parker had not seen the most rapidly progressing degeneration of her own husband's character during the last few years. Well, Walter had always been an embarrassing pervert, and a step father for Megan to be utterly ashamed of. This had been most evident the day Walter had slurped down laundry sewage — Audrey had boiled his second hand underwear bought from the interweb in order to purify it — and enjoyed it like some delicious soup.[[87]] Even worse, Walter had not qualms donning womens' gowns and stuffing big grapefruits into the cleavage in order to look more authentic.[[88]] And perversities like those had only been the beginning, now he was hunting all over the street like a dog and grunting like a pig at the same time, or vice versa, whatever. There was now no trace of a doubt left about Walter Nichols's property of being a zombie, unfortunately Audrey was still not willing to see anything inherently wrong in her poor excuse of a husband, and this meant that she was on the best way to turning completely into one of these foul creatures as well.

On the upside, Megan Parker had been able to webchat with her beloved during spring break, and she had heard some interesting news. Nevel wanted to have his own haberdashery,[[89]] one day, and he was already practising by buying and selling short wares over the interweb, goods including in particular scissors. But who was the most busy customer buying a variety scissors off Nevel? According to his message, it was no other but Jade West, aforementioned goth tomboy from nearby Hollywood School for the Professional Performance Arts with a tattoo of the seal of Solomon. Some of the scissors were already several decades old.

In addition, Megan had been able to talk to grandpa Elroy Shay[[90]], and the old shark admitted to having graduated from Pacific Coast Academy fifty years ago. And he had even been familiar with that PCA ring, well, familiar in the sense of having seen one or two back then. But had he also been familiar with the story of the design and production of the ring, with the artist standing behind its creation and the decision of declaring it the "PCA Ring"? Well, grandpa Shay related the shape to a wish by no other than Sean Reese, aforementioned grandfather of Logan Reese, a guy who had graduated from Pacific Coast Academy a few years earlier.

Megan had thereupon consulted Mindy Crenshaw who was very worried about Josh's mental state — she saw him turning into a zombie because of his allegiance with excessively dumb ultrajerk Drake Parker, and even before knowing about zombies, she had sensed quite strongly that Drake had got nothing but an exorbitantly perverse and pernicious impact on Josh. Mindy could indeed make sense of Sean Reese as behind the idea of the shape of the PCA rings, although he had not been really interested in the ancient symbol of the ouroboros. Mindy recorded the story of the discovery of benzene, a chemical compound consisting of six atoms of carbon and six atoms of hydrogen, the most basic of the so-called aromatic compounds. The molecular structure had been a bit enigmatic for the chemical researchers of the nineteenth century. August Kekulé had been reported to have had a day dream about a snail biting its own tail, leading to his own ring model of the molecue of benzene. The report about the dream, however, postdated the establishment of his model by decades, so it may as well have been made up afterwards. Of course only the arrival of quantum mechanics could really explain the pecularities of benzene, and that had happened many years later. Anyways, the gist of the story was that Sean Reese was aware of an incidental mention of an ouroboros-like picture in the history of chemistry and thence had suggested to give the PCA ring the shape of a tail-biting stingray. Of course this plain and simple explanation would have been very disappointing for Malika Ritter, but Megan sensed that there had to be more to the story of the design of the PCA ring. At least the fact of Sean Reese being involved in the whole whistory explains perfectly why Logan Reese had been hankering after the ring and tried hard to take it back from Dustin Brooks after having lost it to the tween oy in a bet. Needless to say, this would have been a plain catastrophe, and a continuation of the abuse of the same holy symbol for a pseudo-scientific anectode among chemical scientists, and even worse than that, for, unlike his grandfather, Logan was not even interested in science, he just made fun of it.

32.2. Charles Galloway

Malika Ritter appreciated — of course — the informations received from Megan. And this allowed her finally to go with more confidence into the audience with Leo Bradford, still with the purpose of figuring more about the early years of the ring. She asked, "times may be tough at the moment here at Pacific Coast Academy, and this is a pity, but it makes it more and more clear that an awareness of the glorious history of the school is very crucial, for only by remembering where the school comes from will we see where we have to go to."

The owner of Pacific Coast Academy could not help but agree completely, and he was now ready to spread more information about the creation of the ring. He confirmed, at least in part, the suggestions made previously by Melinda Crenshaw, but he did not see Sean Reese as the only person behind the tail-biting stingray. Sean had not been a great artist, so someone else had actually built the ring, a British Lady known as Frieda Harris[[91]], suggested by one of their students, Charles R. Galloway[[92]].

Malika gasped, as she was somewhat acquainted with the work of Lady Frieda Harris in general. She had been a very powerful occult artist of the early twentieth century — and thus most likely very well acquainted with the wholy symbol of the ouroboros — working in London for most of her time until moving to India. But Malika also had to find out a lot about said Charles R. Galloway, a name hitherto unbeknownst to her, but probably one of the key figures in the cursed history of this most illustrious educational institution. This was, plainly said, the result of Malika's research of the history of the ring's secret so far, and the base for her work to be done.

Chapter 33. Choconuts

The departure of Zoey Brooks to London had opened a gap in her dormitory room, "101 Brenner Hall", a gap to be closed temporarily by no other than Stacey Dillsen, aforementioned freaky cotton swab sculptress. Usually, the blond Mary Sue from Louisiana had been the one to take care of the messy affairs of her room mates, and to moderate every now and then all the upcoming troubles between them. This had been the case in her first year at Pacific Coast Academy, where Dana Cruz and Nicole Bristow had been the ones to watch out for, and it had been valid during the last year where Lola Martinez and Quinn Pensky were the ones to step inbetween.

Freshly orphaned Stacey Dillsen was hardly the one to function as a drop in replacement for Zoey Brooks in this respect.

Unfortunately — but barely surprisingly —obnoxiously career-greedy diva Lola Martinez was absolutely coldhearted and refused to show the most microscopic trace of pity for Stacey, and she kept on rubbing salt into her wounds in an exorbitantly sadistical manner, to the extent of making Stacey feel guilty of her parents' grisly death.

The situation in their dormitory room had been critical since the first moment, even during the weeks before the begin of spring break. Stacey Dillsen had been practising a song named Sassafras Tea over and over again, and her voice was certainly by no means comparable to that of Lisa Perkins. But this had of course not been a justificiation for Lola Martinez's ongoing excessively perverse demeanour. In addition, Lola Martinez had abused Stacey's cotton swabs several times in order to remove some of the filthy dirth stuck deep in her diva ears.

But also the situation between Lola Martinez and Quinn Pensky had not always been an easy one, as both of them were absolutely incompatible. Lola Martinez was a dumb pleasure-seeking wench with no sense whatsoever for Quinn's supreme geeky interests such as science and good books. The two of them should never have been made room mates in the first place, that was sure for any observer right in his mind. Malika Ritter had seen the extreme absurdity of letting the two of them coreside in one dormitory cell during her very first week at Pacific Coast Academy, and she had been totally consternated by this absurdity. Granted, there had to be room for the two of them here at Pacific Coast Academy, and there had even been room for Stacey Dillsen on top of them, but stuffing them into the same room had been an absolutely irresponsible act committed by someone as thoroughly incompetent as incorrigibly misguided dormitory adviser Coco Wexler. According to the legend spreading among the students of Pacific Coast Academy, Quinn had been stuffed into the dormitory room of Zoey and Lola at the beginning of the first year without Nicole, well Malika had to patch these informations together, as barely anyone at this school was still aware of Nicole Bristow. Coco appeared to have typoed the room number of Quinn Pensky, or maybe, as another anecdote went, she had confused her own bra size with Quinn's room number. While such an excruciatingly perverse stupidity was not uncommon for Coco Wexler, it should have been possible for the ugly mess of a staff member to correct the mistake by looking at ther bra order and assign Quinn Pensky to the correct room, but this had not happened. So, the whole story must have been totally fishy from the very get on — just like oh-so-many other circumstances here on the campus. Unfortunately, Quinn's geekiness and nerdiness had been lost more and more over time. Had this been a creeping process such as the result of adapting to a thoroughly shallow room mate like Lola Martinez, or had it been the result of a sudden event, or maybe something inbetween? The snark attacks that had been going on during the last years made it impossible for Malika to reproduce a clear picture of the process of Quinn's degeneration. But she feared things to turn worse and worse for some strange reason or the other. Malika compared the perniciously detrimental impact of Lola Martinez on Quinn Pensky with that of Drake Parker on Josh Nichols, according to the reports delivered over and over again by Megan Parker, as Drake was the shallow minded pervert obsessed with the prospects of an easy career in the entertainment business, and Josh was a geek and a nerd with the ambitions of amplifying scientific knowledge in general and teaching it to his fellow humans.

The few days of the new term saw Quinn Pensky and Lola Martinez fighting over James Garrett, aforementioned shallow-minded tall blond rake, also known as Jake Crendle and as a certain Dennifer. The latter was James's fake name during a very short visit on the campus of Pacific Coast Academy during the last year before Malika's arrival at this school. Stacey had hit on him, but disappointed soon thereupon, because James had apparently been also interested in other girls. Under normal circumstances, Stacey Dillsen would — most likely down to having been snarked — not have remembered Dennifer, inspite of having him again right in front of her eyes, but her current misery made her break down in tears and talk painfully about her memories of "Dennifer", not far away from carefully listening Malika Ritter. The loss of her parents and being forced to standing in the crossfire of her two roomies who had — on top oall all the other misfortune — always rejected Stacey was just too much to bear without weeping her brain out.

On top of the arguments about James, Lola and Quinn had now found another reason for room mate war. Quinn Pensky loved chocolate, but she hated nuts, and, as a result, she used to lick the sweet hull off chocolate-covered nuts, leaving the hard cores behind. And now Lola Martinez had — accidentally — found those nuts and swallowed them unwarily. Quinn had told Lola about the origin of those nuts, but only too late, leading to a most violent revolution inside the delicate stomach of Lola Martinez and an explosive discharge of the same onto Stacey Dillsen's clothes.

James Garrett did not care about the troubles between three non-blondes, inspite of their current or former feelings for him, and he walked on straight to the next blonde which happened to be Melanie Puckett, the remaining room mate of Malika. He secretly enjoyed seeing girls fight over him, or so had Malika started fuguring by means of telepathy during James's first few days on the campus.

By the way, Malika was able to make Stacey see something good in the puke on her clothes by alluding to the visit of Megan and Ashley Blake over at Hollywood School for the Professional Performance Arts and the way in which Sinjin van Cleef turned all sorts of smelly dirt, crap, and junk into works of art. As a cotton swab sculptress, Stacey was very interested in three dimensional art in general, and she was rigged and ready for adopting Sinjin's creative style. Maybe — with some good luck — Harry Joiner, the czar of American pop art, would even appreciate it as well?

Chapter 34. Boots are made for walking.[[93]]

Inspite of having lost a lot of her formerly supreme intellectual vigour due to the continued excessively pernicious impact of Lola Martinez, Quinn Pensky had still been able to perform some sort of research and development. Alas, the results were increasingly crappy and unpleasant when compared to her brilliant discoveries from the years before succumbing to the temptations of socialising and other perversities and degenerations.

One of her fairly recent inventions had been the so-called air bra, the combination of a bra and an airbag,[[94]] thus a bra inflating itself during a crash and thus reducing the force of the blow considerably. Unfortunately, it did not really react to the impact of a crash, it just reacted to people saying the word "crash", something that was as annoying and embarrassing in dayly life as it was useless in a real car collision. And, of course, some thoroughly perverted girls were extremely interested in an inflatable bra, with or without the properly intended but actually impossible purpose of surving in a car crash.

Also, Quinn's field trip into the increasingly important domain of medical engineering was more and more going to turn into a race into a quagmire with no return, as shown by her awkward attempts of improving laser surgery. She had tried to use this technology on the eyes of her "boyfriend" Mark del Figgalo, with excruciatingly painful consequences. But the relationship between Quinn and Mark had already been on the decline since quite a few months, honestly, Mark had never been really an intellectually stimulating partner for Quinn and seemed to be just some sort of an irrational habit. Quinn Pensky had begged Mark over and over again for kisses and even deepergoing perversities, especially during their common camping trip into Yosemite national park, but Mark had always been evasive and hesitating, allowing for at most one kiss per week, if at all.

But now Quinn had designed a new and even worse invention than ever before, and this was a new sort of boots or shoes, and not just of the sort whose primary purpose was that of making walking in the streets or the fields easier by protecting your feet, but they were real multi purpose techfoots. Quinn's glorious invention was marketed by America's greatest and most popular shoe vendor ever, a Los Angeles based company named DAKA[[95]].

Malika Ritter hated satanic capitalist corporations like DAKA, or, as seen before, Blix, and especially their thoroughly perverted marketing strategies with which they had become big monopolists, huge enough for manipulating and oppressing any competition. According to Megan Parker, the creeps from Daka had already abused Drake Parker for their publicity videos, and it was well known that only a really lowly company without any true quality product would rely on that decadent sort of ads. Those actions of publicity were no less annoying than the medieval beggars going from house to house and spreading diseases on their way.

The web show of Carly Shay was now in charge with promoting the techfoots of Daka, and they were paid an insane lot for this scandalous deed. Megan had never anticipated that her cousin could sink that low, and she could not avoid assigning the culpa, if not the dolus, of this decadence to her "friends" Sam Puckett and Fredward Benson. And what else should one think of an officially nice boy next door who keeps on begging Carly like a puppy for an even more perverse relationship, and of a so-called best friend forever who keeps on begging Carly for ham and a sleepover all the time, and to admit to a major part of her own totaly insane misdeeds, such as depicting their — certainly often evil and decadent — teachers with uncomely bodies of exorbitantly mean wild beasts?

The shoes promoted by the gang were equipped with wireless internet access, of course an invention of Quinn Pensky, based on her recent and beyond any doubt whatsoever most revolutionary"Quinndoze QP"[[96]] technology. Of course the thechnologically relevant algorithms worked as well below on the ground as above on the desktop. But the dirt underneath the feet messed up with the electronics and made it inevitably wreak severe havoc. As a first consequence, Fredward Benson's laptop had suffered a major loss of data when Freddie tried to access the interweb from his fresh pair of techfoots, or techfeet, whatever. Not much later, Carly's pair of DAKA's high technology footwear started to set itself ablaze, and that even without the vicinity of her brother Spencer who was pretty well known for getting objects in his closer environment to ignite themselves. The gang of the web show was now stuck in the pernicious dilemma of weither promoting evidently faulty footwear, by means of deliberate lies, and to lose this way their viewer base completely, or to find a way to get out of their contract, usually an extremely expensive decision.

Malika Ritter was not really concerned with the dilemma faced by the web cast, as those were puny wordly troubles, but she had to draw her own conclusions. Quinn had sunk as deeply as can be by inventing those technologically equipped shoes. Incidentally, the medieval qabbalists had made a model of the world as a tree of ten stations, and the lowest station, the bottom of the tree model, was known as "Malkuth", derived from a hebrew word for kingdom. The archangel of this station was known as "Sandalphon", for not really beknownst reasons. It was not necessary related to "sandals", typical footwear of the Greek, but some experts made that connections, be it seriously or jokingly. The puny mortal mob was thus envisioned begging and praying at the dirt beneath Sandalphon. It did of course make some sense, because the footwear touches the bottom, and thus Malika decided to refrain from seeing it as a coincidence and to come to the conclusion that Quinn Pensky's career had hit the bottom by inventing footwear, and the same was valid for Carly Shay for promoting those monstrous widgets in her web show. Were they still savable by any means, or had they been dragged into the dirt by their false friends already, just as Josh had been pulled into the muddy swamp by Drake? To complete the picture, the self-combustion of the boots reminded Malika of the "Aschim", literally something like "flames", the angels belonging to Malkuth and Sandalphon, according to the works of the qabbalists.

Incidentally, Malika's own first name was of the same etymological roots as "Malkuth", but her kingdom of faith and magic was definitely not of this puny world. Was she be able to instill the faith among the pupils of Pacific Coast Academy before it was too late for everyone? The signs of the time being suggested a plain "no!"

Chapter 35. Faye Dunnaway

As a little kid, Megan Parker had been interested a lot in horses and talked to her friends about not much else. Even at the age of ten, she had been obsessed with them to some degree, but she did not want to stick to ordinary horses, which would have been excessively "boobish", but she wanted a striped one, also known as a zebra. So, indeed, she had been able to purchase one on the interweb and named it "Zeboo", and brought it home, hosting it in the family's garage.[[97]]. She had even been able to fool her stupid brothers, Drake and Josh, into taking care of the beast, by making them believe that zebra stripes, as found on many pedestrians' crossings, were raised on real zebras, and that they could make a lot of money by selling the stripes. The "boobs" swallowed that hair bait on site, complete with hook, line, and sinker, and started hosting Zeboo in their room, until they were discovered due to their exacessively careless demeanour and got grounded again, only one week after having hosted Megan's sheep "Bawb" with a similarly devastating result. After all, Megan had been forced to give Zeboo away again, and this time she had found a decent place for it, the horse ranch of one Faye Dunnaway[[98]], not far from the gates of Los Angeles, and especially not too far from the campus of Pacific Coast Academy.

Ever since, Megan had not come to see any equine again, until this day when she was strolling the campus and saw a horse following Michael Barret all over the pavement. So, what the heck had been going on, or so Megan had to ask herself when following the weird scene occurring some fifty yards in front of her eyes. For sure she knew that Michael Barret did not have a really great relationship with horses or other equines, quite the contrary, he had got some rather troublesome experiences. More precisely, some windy mare had, long ago, hit him in the face with its horseshoe and disabled his olfactory senses on one side of his face for good.[[99]] For that reason, it was by absolutely no means to be assumed that Michael Barret had purchased a pet horse and was now guiding it across the campus in order to prevent it from turning too stiff. In addition, pets were strictly illegal at Pacific Coast Academy, and pets of this size, on top of being difficult to hide from the eyes of Dean Rivers and his henchmen, caused a lot of other practical problems as well. Michael was holding some cookies in his hands, and the horse appeared to be very interested in these, but Michael kept on being reluctant. So had the horse been following Michael just because of the cookies? Megan could not bear the suspense any longer, and she was up to investigating the situation a lot closer than originally intended.

Michael startled a little bit when noticing Megan Parker right in front of his face, but he appeared absolutely desperate anyways, with or without her intervention.

Megan asked him whether the horse was his, and, just as expected, Michael could deny the question, and he admitted to being stalked by it. Megan wondered why Michael did not feed it a cookie and see whther it was content and walked away thereupon. Unfortunately, the cookies, and so said Michael, were definitely not even his, but they belonged to Logan Reese, his roommate. Usually, Logan would have sent someone like Dustin Brooks in order to accomplish this errand, but the "little bugger" had gone to London a few weeks ago and was now no longer available, so Michael was put in charge, and, of course, he was not allowed to eat any of the cookies or feed them to some random human or animal on his way. The cookies, along with the whole parcel that was containing them, were a gift from one of Logan Reese's step mothers, and they meant a lot to Logan. Logan's father, Malcolm Reese, had been married and divorced a lot of times, too many times for Logan to remember the names of the step mothers, but they still meant a lot to him, for some reason or some other. Megan started talking to the horse, in a way that may have been impressive for many others, but that was not really a problem for a seeress and aspiring thaumaturge like Megan Parker. Upon circumspecting the horse's state more closely, Megan noticed a brand in its middles, a brand reveiling the horses' owner, and Megan recognised the sign as that of Faye Dunnaway, the lady hosting her Zeboo. Megan had been often enough at Faye's ranch and seen the same brand on other horses living over there. Of course she told Michael the result of her observations, and she also declared to be able to find him ways in order to contact Faye Dunnaway who was probably missing her most noble stallion badly and who was ready to leave ninety-nine other normal horses behind for his sake. Then she picked up her cellular phone, for two purpose: First, she was now able to send Michael the number of Faye Dunnaway, and, second, she was now able to call her room mate Wendy Gellar and ask her to fetch the oboe from their dormitory room. Megan was now up to spellbind the vigorous stallion with the sound of her instrument — something which had always worked with Zeboo — in the manner of the great legendary Orphaeus who was said to have been able to use a lyra in a similar manner.

Only two hours later, Faye Dunnaway would arrive on the campus of Pacific Coast Academy and take her runaway stallion — named Winchester — back into her possession, rigged and ready to return it to its appropriate home on her large horse ranch.

Unfortunately, the presence of a horse on the campus also reminded megan of the well known scenario of the apocalyptic horsemen, the sign of impending doom. Many artists had painted this scenario during the last millennia, more or less aware of the inevitable final gloom and doom, and so many songs had been sung about those ghostriders in the sky.[[100]] During her few months at Pacific Coast Academy, Megan Parker had already found signs that this wild hunt had already been visiting Pacific Coast Academy, not too long ago, probably the subject of the vision that had guided Malika over here. Maybe the recent revelations about the history of the ring were going to shed some new light on the darkness of the recent history of Pacific Coast Academy?

During all the mess with the horse, Michael Barret had never been assisted by his so-called girlfriend, videlicet Lisa Perkins, who was apparently not even interested in helping Michael, something which shed a very bad light on the dubious girl. After all, Megan had not found out why Michael had abandoned most of his life for Lisa who had ever since meant nothing but insanity and trouble for him.

Chapter 36. Otis

Winchester, the stallion of Faye Dunnaway, was probably the biggest non-human animal that had ever been seen on this campus, all prohibitions by Dean Rivers and his henchmen notwithstanding, but there had been one coming somewhat close, at least in the sense ofg being impossible to hide, as Quinn Pensky had done with some other beasts. The second to largest beast on here had probably been some alpaca — equally belonging to Quinn Pensky — going by the name "Otis",[[101]] for whatever reason.

When coming to to Pacific Coast Academy, Quinn Pensky had been forced to leave her favourite pet, id est Otiz, behind in her home in the outskirts of Seattle, against better judgment, and the beast had turned depressive thereupon. After over a year, things had grown worse enough for Quinn to decide to leave the campus in order to sneak home — in the middle of the running spring term — and be with Otis, thusly risking to get expelled, or at least suspended, from the elitarian boarding school. Fortunately, Zoey had been able to strike an agreement with Dean Rivers, an agreement allowing Otis to stay on the campus for a whole weekend.

The price had been technical support for some of Quinn's inventions, an office machine with many facilities. It must have been a great invention, unfortunately with a very delicate control system, or so said Beverly Brown. But It had never been used since, well, some point during that year, and Beverly — who had been missing withgout any explanation since the beginning of the term — had not been able to remember why. Malika Ritter and Megan Parker had not been able to avoid feeling a snark attack behind this broken memory.

Most people at Pacific Coast Academy had forgotten about those times, but, fortunately, Faye Dunnaway remembered having offered to host Otis even beyond that weekend, and she remembered that offer when fetching Winchester the noble stallion from the campus. To Michael and about everyone else, Faye had been a total stranger, inspite of having been here already and talked to Quinn and her friends. But what exactly had become of Otiz ever since? Not even Quinn could answer this question, inspite of having loved Otis above all. Oh well, many people had disappeared already from the face of Pacific Coast Academy and not even been remembered by their friends and relatives, thus a missing alpaca was not really much of a concern.

But Megan Parker was not ready to give up on that important trace, for , if it was possible to remind Quinn of her former favourite pet, there would also have been a way to reactivate her memories in general and maybe remind her of her true self. Quinn had recently degenerated even more beyond any reason, and nobody knew exactly why. Maybe there was a connection to her recent breakup with Mark del Figgalo who had requested to be alone for a while, probably a totally understandable consequence of having been pushed way too much by his more and more nymphomaniac girlfriend, down to the perversely evil influence of Lola Martinez. But just the bare-bones fact of having separated from Mark del Figgalo could not explain Quinn's ongoing self corruption and absolute lack of intellectual eagerness. There had to be something excessively foul and fishy behind it — or so much did Megan sense without being forced to invest too many painful efforts.

Interestlinly, Michael Barret seems to have had another girlfriend back then. Her name had been Vanessa Tayler[[102]]. Michael had by now all but completely forgotten about her, probably something to do with the same or another snark attack. But Megan had come to know about Vanessa through some third party source, and more precisely, by one Jennifer Mosely, a student from aforementioned James K. Polk High School in Santa Clarita, a place Megan had been scrutinising recently for traces of zombification. Jennifer was the overly ambitious captain of their volleyball team, and she still remembered a volleyball match of her team against that of Pacific Coast Academy whose captain had been precisely Vanessa Tayler. And Jennifer, usually nicknamed "Moze", did hardly ever forget a tough and worthy opponent, especially one like Vaness who, inspite of being much smaller than Jennifer, caused a lot of trouble with barely anticipated actions from all over the volleyball field. And Michael had, of course, beenb cheering for her all the time, causing the referee to intervene and call for security i order to get Michael tied to his place and shut up during the rest of the match. Megan had checked Vanessa in the yearbook of that time, of course without avail, just like the case of Nicole Bristow.

While Megan kept on wondering about Michael's former girlfriend, who — or at least so she sensed due to her witch's intuition — had been a much better, more suitable, and more appropriate girlfriend for him than Lisa Perkins would ever had the potential to, she received some mail from her own boyfriend, id est Nevel Papperman from Seattle. This smart guy had actually done some research concerning Otis in Seattle, and, due to his ongoing activities as a fuuture owner of a haberdashery, he had come to find a pair of shears, the tool with which Otis had been freed from excessive wool, every now and then, or so guessed Nevel. It was to be expected that Quinn had performed this task herself, at least before her move to Los Angeles or during the summer break, and that she was able to remember the shears used for that purpose. Megan thanked her loverboy a lot for his efforts, and she was now looking for a way to get the shears, this valuable piece of evidence, to Quinn Pensky.

And Nevel had also got some more news from Seattle, more precisely, his own school, Priarwood Prep[[103]], was about considering to grant Carly Shay a scholarship for high school because of the increasing popularity of the web show and the great school reports of Carly. Alas, Carly was still not convinced of leaving Fredward and Sam alone. Megan gasped, and she urged Nevel to do everything to get Carly to switch schools and thus get out of the swamp alias the obnoxious influence of Fredward and Samantha in order to save her from total corruption. Due to Spencer Shay's mean tricks, Carly and her friends had been able to get out of their completely perverse and decadent contract with DAKA, but Carly's basically good soul was still in danger of getting abused by her false friends. Of course, Carly still hated Nevel, and thus she would impossibly listen to his advice, and she would turn around on site when noticing that he was one of the school's pupils. This required Nevel to be exorbitantly careful, and to come up with a little trick in order to push Carly into the right direction.

Chapter 37. The End Of Sushi Rox

37.1. Carly switches schools.

Only a few days later, Nevel Papperman had fulfilled above mission and got Carly Shay accepted by his school, Priorwood Prep, for the next academic year, and the key to this had been actually the grandfather of Carly and Megan, videlicet Elroy Shay, who was all in favour of sending Carly to a decent school where she would learn discipline and responsibility, something absolutely impossible to learn from her elder brother and guardian, that cranky law school dropout and perpetually hungry artist going by the name of Spencer. He had already once decided to withdraw Carly from Spencer's bad influence and take her home to Yakima where he was residing, but Spencer had fooled him perniciously by feigning to care about Carly's fits of asthma, a disease she had overcome alreadyy five years ago. Like Megan, grandpa Shay had also always been suspicious of Samantha Puckett, a girl no responsible elder brother would have wanted to see his little sister hanging out with. An offer by the most respected prep school of Seattle was thus the perfect opportunity for him to restrict pernicious imfluences on his delicate-minded grandaughter to some smaller degree without having to argue about the personalities of Sam or Spencer, for he just needed to point out the opportunities Carly would enjoy whgen graduating from a school like Priorwood Prep, the best recommendation for a future law school student, or so he hoped for Carly.

Needless to say, neither Fredward nor Samantha Puckett, and even less Spencer Shay, were pleased by Elroy Shay's horrible decision, and Carly had to swallow hard when hearing it.

37.2. Kazu Dying

The next morning started with a grisly observation made by some student of Pacific Coast Academy who had happened to pass by Sushi Rox, and more precisely, by Stacey Dillsen who was still traumatised from the tragical loss of her parents due to still uncaught . The cotton swab princess had been ritually immunified against snark attacks by Malika Ritter, just a few days ago, in order to preserve the memory of her parents which she did not want to lose, and thus she was a reliable witness of the grisly deed going on in front of her eyes. Kazu Park, the owner of Sushi Rox, had been cringing on the floor, wrapped in his torn and tattered garments.

Of course the emergency medic Jeff Glazer[[104]] — who happened to be an uncle of Zoey and Dustin Brooks, had been called on site to the location of horror and dismay, but it was in vain and too late, so that the medic could only declare the death of the owner of the popular Japanese campus pub. The absolute majority of the pupils and staff member of Pacific Coast Academy were of course absolutely consternated by the message, especially those who had been lucky or unlucky enough to see the dying or dead pub owner from afar or even from nearby, surrounded by medical staff and some security guards sent forth by Dean Rivers.

However, the first remarks by the headmaster were a complaint because deceased Kazu had not yet paid the trimensual fee for the license required for running a business such as a restaurant on the campus, and he wanted to find the relatives of the pub owner and charge them duly for Kazu's lack of reliability.

Leo Bradford, the very owner of the illustrious educational institution, had already been informed as well, but his reactions were certainly predictable. Just as in the present cases of panic and trouble at Pacific Coast Academy, the bigg boss would only been concerned with the public image of the school and wish to minimise the journalists' activity as much as only possible in order to prevent a further decay of the country-wide renown of this most elitarian and rock-solid boarding school.

37.3. The Past Of Sushi Rox

Of course the police was showing up on the campus as well, informed by Mr. Bender, the most relieble teacher of Pacific Coast Academy. The responsible officer was this time David Alejandro Vega, father of Tori Vega, and he was ready to interrogate any witness, which included about each and every visitor of Sushi Rox during the last twelve hours, all those watching the failed salvation of Kazu, and, most evidently, Stacey Dillsen who had been the first to see Kazu dying, and who was still consternated and in an apparently delirious mood. As David Vega had already responsible for the case of the death of Stacey's parents, he showed some understanding for her situation and did not force or push jer into a fast statement, but the police of Los Angeles would have to act fast in order to find the murderer, in the case of a murder.

Having calmed somewhat down, Stacey admitted to having seen some gross person bite Kazu, over and over again, until, well, Stacey could not continue from there, which was understandable. Of course David Vega asked her whether she had recognised the person who had committed that onslaught on Kazu, and Stacey could actually remember, although she was not able to talk clearly, and her voice was in addition disturbed by her usual lispy slur. She stammered accusations against the one person she believed to have seen biting Kazu, and that person was no other than a certain Gregory Keller[[105]], a former gym teacher at Pacific Coast Academy who had not been seen on the campus since the middle of the previous academic year, without any reasons known to the administration, as would turn out later when examining the school's acts. Of course, officer Vega was immediately rigged and ready to request the search for coach Keller, a guy whom he had never really trusted.

And, indeed, David Vega remembered reports about coach Keller as a witness concerning another accident here at Sushi Rox. About two years ago, this Japanese pub had been set on fire, but the reason for this had not yet been established with certainty, and the police's act was full of gaps. The pupils and staff of the school had been unable to remember such a fiery accident. Malika Ritter concluded straightforward that the traces of a fire zombie she had made out weeks ago must have been from the fiery inceident here at Sushi Rox, and that the responsible fire zombie had been no other but said coach greg Keller. The monster hunters must have been on the campus at some point and snarked the pupils after the accident, but they had not been able to dispose for good with the pernicious undead because their philosophy was totally flawed and misleading from the early get on. Michael Barret had been among the pupils to remember sushi-addict coach Keller best, because he — along with best friend Chase Bartholomew Matthews — had been accused by the pervert of having been the ones guilty of the flames in the kitchen of the Japanes pub that had lead to its incineration, and thereupon be tortured beyond reason by the evil gym teacher. Malika was now compelled to talk to him and figure more important informations about that forgotten accident and the person of Greg Keller.

The police was now going to look for relatives of deceased Kazu Park in order to tell them the grisly news.

Chapter 38. Michael's Girlfriends

Inspite of having saved Michael Barret from getting stalked beyond any reason by some crazy runaway stallion, Malika Ritter and Megan Parker had still got an excessively hard time talking to the former flautist and current clacker addict, because the latter was terribly offended by their severe mistrust of his relationship with Lisa Perkins, and because of the two witches' insistence in the fact that Michael had already got some strikingly better girlfriends, such as aforementioned Vanessa Tayler, whom Michael was totally unable to remember, no matter how often, how loud, and with how much emphasis they mentioned her name. Originally, Megan Parker had only been interested in getting Michael Barret to take up his former hobby again, videlicet playing the transversally held long flute. As a virtuous and passionate oboe player for over half a dozen of years, Megan had always been keen on gathering a little orchestra on the campus of Pacific Coast Academy. She had already heard about a violinist[[106]] and a violoncellist[[107]], but never found them. As already mentioned, the magics of the lyra, according to the ancient Orphic mysteries, had been very powerful, and Megan was a firm believer in these connections, which had enabled her to beguile several wild creatures, sometimes even without carrying her oboe.

Legendary Orphaeus was said to have been able to outdo, with his supreme and outstanding music, the destructively seductive song of the evil sirens, completely perverted bird-like island-dwelling creatures who, according to legends, had distracted and deceived many bypassing sailors by invoking their lowest and most bestial desires, and thus he had been able to save them from utter corruption and decadence. And as Megan and Malika had come to witness, sirens were nowadays everywhere, especially at Pacific Coast Academy, with the pernicious intention of attracting the unwary student and drawing him into the moral abyss, turning him effectively into zombies. Logan Reese, Calvin Wang, Lisa Perkins, Lance Rivers, and Lola Martinez were perfect examples of those pernicious creatures, as was Beck Oliver at nearby Hollywood School for the Professional Performance Arts and also Drake Parker, although Megan had not wanted to see it this way for most of the time, likewise prssibly for Ashley Blake. But Megan and Malika were not able to proceed to banishing those malicious deceivers and seductors before finding the reason for their invasion at Pacific Coast Academy right there and right then, and thus they had to continue to live, even if caught by those misguided monster hunters, without having to be afraid or even aware of any serious interruption of their very wickedness.

Concerning Vanessa Tayler, Malika had achieved retrieving more information, and once more from aforementioned Jennifer Mosely from Santa Clarita. "Moze" had figured that Vanessa Tayler had been in New Jersey before coming here to Pacific Coast Academy in California, more prevcisely, she had been a pupil at Rocky Road middle school, and not the only one from up there that had enrolled ever since over here. Another student from there had been Maria Misa[[108]] Needless to say, Malika was now looking all over for Maria Misa as well, but this had been hitherto in vain, just as for many other lost students before. Jennifer had already contacted the relatives of both of the students, without figuring anything of value, and trying to look for other friends and former school mates of theirs had been fairly cumbersome. Megan had discovered that one of her friends from New Jersey, Adelaide Singer[[109]], had been at the same middle school, and younger than Maria and Vanessa by only one year. Of course, Addie did not know for real where Maria and Vanessa had ended up, and she had never cared about it, they were just former students of a different grade at the same school. But Addie or her local friends were not aware of any particular perversities of the character of either of the girls, perversities justifying an accusation of being zombies or something awfully gross like that. Adelaide promised to ask her brother Benjamin about it, because she hoped, for once, that a girl grazy guy like him was "familiar" with them — of course in his way of familiartity — as with most other girls of the town, and thence able to come along with further informations.

Megan thanked Adelaide, but she had to move on for now, as she was soon going to Santa Clarita in order to talk their musicists into a common concert, of course with the secret purpose of detoxifying the influence of all the "sirens" in Los Angeles County. Those musicians included oboe twins Stacey and Tracy.[[110]] Right there, Malika would also check aforementioned Jerry Crony, because he had been reported to have been once at Pacific Coast Academy and been Michael's boyfriend, something Michael refused to acknowledge. There seemed to be a very delicate story connected to it. According to Jennifer, several female students of James K. Polk had been invited to party dances at Pacific Coast Academy before and during the first two years of coeducation due to the devastating lack of girls, and Crony had been registered as a girl in order to make it right there. Megan and Malika were most interested in the witnesses of temporary visitors on the campus during the last three years before their arrival, as they had not been undergone yet the continued snarking nd were poassibly aware of more details. This was just one other straw, but Megan and malika were compelled to grab each of them in order to find the key to the question of the origin of the currently prevailing evils at Pacific Coast Academy. In addition, Megan needed to evaluate the possibility of saving Jerry Crony from the pernicious influence of his best friend, William Loomer.

Last but not least, Malika's research had brought forth some eve more flabbergasting result, videlicet the weird fact that Coach Keller had not been seen any longer on the campus of Pacific Coast Academy — until the grisly discovery made by Stacey Dillsen — not much before the the day when Lisa Perkins showed up on the campus for the very first time, only separated by a Thanksgiving break. Was that really a mere incident, or was there a deeper connection between gym teacher Greg Keller and pop idol Lisa Perkins? A connection would have had devastating consequences and needed to be examined rigorously at any cost whatsoever, as fast as only possible.

Chapter 39. Trouble In London

Zoey Brooks and her little brother Dustin had now been in Covington right outside the gates of the capital of the venerable British empire for several months already, and one should have thought that at least Zoey would not have had too many difficukties accomodating herself to the new atmosphere here in the royal region.

Dustin, of course, had been fearing the switch from Californian sun and American lifestyle to fog, mist, and British food not without reason, and his worst fears had come true, on top of missing all his friends from Pacific Coast Academy. The time shift was of course a huge problem for him, preventing him from a direct vidfeochat with student residing in California barring on weekends, but Dustin was still capable of sending quite a few electronic mail messages and short cellular phone messages forth and back. Magic Malika Ritter had still got so many questions to ask him, and she had hoped duly for the possibility of a rapidly ongoing recovery of his memory of the last three years, now that he was no longer exposed to some obstavles that must have held him back while still in Malibu, but there were doubtlessly a few new obstacles of various sorts. Nevertheless, Dustin had exhibited quite a few interesting reactions to Malika's and Megan Parker's reports about the developments in the outskirts of Los Angeles and the suburbs of Hollywood. While the death of the parents of Stacey Dillsen had not really been much of his concern, the brutal end of Kazu and the subsequent shutdown of Sushi Rox had struck him like a nuclear bomb from hell, for he was addicted to sushi, and he liked Japanese candy almost as much as megan had done before coming to Pacific Coast Academy.

Zoey Brooks had of course been shocked by the end of Kazu as well, because she had spent a lot of time over at Sushi Rox during her life at Pacific Coast Academy, and she was now even starting to remember the night in which Sushi Rox had burnt down, just to be replaced by some efforts of the students which Zoey could not really remember. Zoey had never been a friemd of Stacey Dillsen, but she pitied her to some degree, anyways, and she told Stacey's third cousin Jeff Stettinsee[[111]] about the ugly events. Stacey had mentioned her remote relative to Zoey in the moment of her departure in order to suggest Zoey to date him, but of course Zoey showed no interest in such a thing, but she understood very well that Stacey was too much depressed by now to tell her kinsman about the horrible murder. At least Zoey had found some support in her roomie Tabitha Holtz[[112]], which was definitely not a given at a school like Covington. An even more shocking surprise for Zoey Brooks had of course been the arrival of Chase Matthews, inspite of having been warned by Malika — Zoey had not really believed her that Chase was up to making it all the way to London.

But now Chase was there, and he was not at all pleased by this school which was even more snobbish and elitarian than Pacific Coast Academy, or so it seemed, and its history appeared to reach way back to the Victorian age and maybe beyond. Chase's room mate was a total pain in the tail, really — yet absolutely understandably — annoyed by Chase's perversely insane wish to talk to his friends Michael Barret and Logan Reese in the middle of the night, for it was hardly possible to reach them earlier, due to the time shift of eight hours between London and Los Angeles.

But what had been going on between Zoey and Chase upon his arrival, that was the question everyone at Pacific Coast Academy had been waiting to get answered.

Spoken plainly, Chase's arrival was a plain catastrophe, both for Chase and for Zoey, and their formerly possible relationship was destroyed, as had to be expected, by Zoey's knowledge about the secret of Chase and "Rebecca" alias Caterina Vega. Zoey would have forgiven Chase to have cheated on her, be it with Lola Martinez, Trisha Kirby alias Samantha Puckett, Trina Vega, or even with Stacey Dillsen, but she was by absolutely no means able to forgive him having been strikingly dishonest about his feelings and having hired another girl for the unique purpose of making her jealous. In turn, Chase was thoroughly disappointed because of having made all the way to London, just in order to get his head smashed menatlly against the next rock solid brick wall. Was there even a point for him to continue living, under these absolutely unbearable circumstances? Hell, he just had tio try to go through it, at least because his father had alreadt stuffed a lot of money into the whole switch to Covington, and Chase had promised to pay it back before the age of twenty-five. Returning to Los Angeles would have increased the costs, forcing his father to pay for both schools at the same time, whole Chase was probably going to flunk either, n o matter what, due to being unable to concentrate any longer on classes when he sensed his life drifting down the river, straight into the next cataract.

Dustin was accomodated in a dormitory hall named the "House Of Anubis", named for some Egyptian god, apparently, and he was already feeling like being turned slowly into a mummy. The feeling was increased by the uncanny demeanour of the dormitory adviser and custodian, a bald-headed creep named Victor Rodenmaar who was not just grumpy, but downright mean from time to time. Dustin was thoroughly intimidated, inspite of the calming atytempts made by his dormitory president Fabian Rutter. Needless to say, Dustin felt absolutely urged to report back to Malika, which was not easy as telecommunication was severely limited in his house.

Malika Ritter gasped when reading Dustin's emergency mail, and she hoped him not to get caught for it, for she was well aware of the ancient Egyptian mythology, including the deity Anubis. Frieda Harris, aforementioned designer of the Pacific Coast Academy's crest ring shaped like a self-chasing stingray, had dedicated quite a few time to the study of these venerable mysteries, or at least communicated with someof the great masters of the book of Toth, videlicet no other than immortal master Aleisteir Crowley, and she had worked at some prepschool in the area of London. Fortunately, Dustin had deposited his ring in Malika's hands, otherwise this Rodenmaar would surely have stalked him to no end, for Rodenmaar was certainly an opponent of Lady Harris, or had that been the father of Rodenmaar? After all, the world was so small, and the doom and gloom of Pacific Coast Academy was more closely related to that of Covington than hitherto expected. According to Dustin, Rodenmaar's most creepy "friend" was a stuffed raven named "Corvus" — simply the Latin word for raven — which was a very bad sign, indeed.

Chapter 40. Corvus

Malika Ritter was now even more eager on finding out more about the connection of Charles Galloway and Lady Frieda Harris, a connection between Pacific Coast Academy and Covington which must have existed already fifty before the move of Zoey Brooks hither and thither. Of course, Malika and Megan Parker had been carefully studying the yearbooks of the fifties, and they had even found something about the former student that build a bridge between the two worlds. Indeed, there were a few things to be found about Charles R. Galloway, unlike abouyt many students of recent days whose traces had been more or less completely wiped out, leaving a somewhat mysterious bunch of just faint lines in these annual reports. Well, Galloway had never graduated from Pacific Coast Academy, and there was no way to tell from the yearbooks whether he had transferred or dropped out officially, so there was of course something fishy — as if Malika had expected anything significantly ddifferent, anyways …

Megan Paker knew a family with the same name as that of Charles, a family based in San Diego, more precisely, a former boss of her absolutely incompetent step father Walter Nichols had been one Barry Galloway[[113]]. Megan was still awaiting an answer from this person whom she had asked about a possible kinship with the former Pacific Coast Academy student, for this had the potential of helping advancing the knowledge about not only the generation of the mysterious ring, but also ultimately about the source of the current situation here on the campus.

Before being there, Megan had top think about Corvus, the dead raven adorning, according to Dustin Brooks, the office of Covington's creepy dormitory overseer. Megan's aforementioned friend from the northeastern states, Addie Singer, was a very dedicated fan of the poetry of Edgar Allan Poe,[[114]] one of the greatest poets of the American tradition of the dark romance, and she could certainly say something interesting about one of Poe's most famous poems, The Raven, or so remembered Megan.

Indeed, Adelaide Singer was able to reply very quickly, and this was potentially going to prove extremely valuable for Malika's and Megan's quest. The Raven was most definitely one of Addie's favourite poems, and it was as eery and uncanny as properly expected from the genre of dark romance. Unfortunately, Adelaide had never ever before been aware of the connection of the symbol of the black raven with the cult of Hermes Trismegistus, as opposed to Malika Ritter.

Hermetic alchemists had used over and over again the raven for the purpose of representing the state or the process of putrefaction, the rotting, perversion, and corruption of the human soul, condensed in the prison of the flesh. In this state of blackening, or, with Latin terms, the nigredo, daylight was abandoned for the sake of shadows, just as watching the sun fading in the West into shade and onscurity. Being ientombed in the flesh is the death of the soul, and that was already expressed by Megan Parker's Orphic forerunners who correctly coined the phrase "Soma Sema", a pun comparing ancient Greek words for "flesh" and "tomb". The most vernerable of the ancient philosophers, Plato of Athens, was aware of this valuable tradition — in works like Cratylus — and he had modified the meaning to something like "the Flesh is a prison for the soul." But regardless of the question whether the goal was that of resurrecting the defunct souls or releasing them from their prison, the base tenets were still the same. Unfortunately, the goal had often enough been perversely misunderstood as a quest for making this feeble human flesh persistent, which, of course, was a fatal misinterpretation, leading to absurdities like that of the literal resurrection of the flesh at the end of times or after three days, whatever, or bypassing death — if understood in the vulgar sense — at all and thus being able to rot in the same piece of flesh forever, a truly sickening misunderstanding indeed and the most common motivation for zombification. Likewise, the mortification of the flesh was deemed as the proper way for release of the true self, and this was the very first step of the alchemist's quest.

Adelaide Singer was not just reading the unfabulous poem by her favourite poet, which she saw in front of her inner eyes, but she was always ready to at least try to make some sense of Megan's comments and she kept on trying hard to connect the dots.

Once upon a midnight dreary,
While I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious
Volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping,
Suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping,
Rapping at my chamber door.
"'Tis some visitor," I muttered,
"tapping at my chamber door —
Only this, and nothing more."

Adelaide Singer was sized by a more and more uncanny feeling the longer she kept on reading the poem in front of her eyes: feelings of loss and sadness, feelings of despair and of a vague and potentially treacherous hope.

And the raven, never flitting,
Still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas
Just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming
Of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming
Throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow
That lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted — nevermore!

And this finished the poem, but was this really the end, or was there a hidden continuation, a continuation not to be expressed by a poet's words, but to experienced by the reader? Adelaide was trembling all over the place, and Megan, who sensed her friend's lack of mental ease, tried her best in order to calm her down.

Corvus, the stuffed black raven in the office of the carekeeper of Covington's "House of Anubis", must have raised similarly eery feelings in anyone of a certain sensitivity while exposed to it. Dustin Brooks was probably still totally overburdened, and he needed some support while it was not too late for him. But who was Rodenmaar indeed, was he a true seeker of the path of the alchemist, or was he abusing it for the ignoble purpose of zombification? Was he a reliable custodian of the heritage of Lady Frieda Harris which was still found at Covington, or was he an abuser furthering the process of the global decadence and corruption of mind and soul?

Chapter 41. A Fatal Dinner At Vaccaro

41.1. Looking For A Private Date

Malika Ritter was still worried about the safety of her remaining room mate, Melanie Puckett, because of the latter's ongoing dates with no other than perpetually ferocious girl eater James Garrett alias Jake Crendle alias Dennifer et alii. This couple had hitherto not been able to date other than in the public, though, and Melanie was hell bent on having a date with the blond tall rake in a place that was not overly populated with students of Pacific Coast Academy or other people knowing them and looking at them with excessive curiosity in their eyes, and making envious or stupid remarks. They had already tried to shake off the public attention in one way or the other, but nothing had hitherto worked out for real, especially not a recent attempt of agreeing on a picnic date in the dunes, an event that turned rapiddly into a little group date, because Lola Martinez and Michael Barret, two of James's best friends, had been eager on joining in, and thus spoiled the occasion completely for the lovebirds. Finally, Melanie did not even dare to see, even less to get seen with, James at plane daylight and was eager to avoid any encounter with him before nightfall.

For that reason, Melanie Puckett and James Garrett had now agreed on a candle light dinner for two over in nearby Vaccaro[[115]], some horribly expensive and exclusive restaurant on the way to the centre of Malibu, honoured with six stars by the leading American tourists' guide, both in print and online. It was so expensive, many teachers of Pacific Coast Academy were not able to afford a dinner over there, although the pedagogical staff of this educational institution was said to be the best — and certainly also best paid — of the whole country, if not the whole nation. Of course there was at least one student at this illustrious school who was definitely able to afford a dinner at Vaccaro's every now and then, and this was no other than Logan Reese, the decadent junior dandy of Hollywood, who was not only likely to dine there every now and then, but who also used coupons for a dinner at this most exclusive dining site as an extraordinarily successful and efficient means of bribery, especially for bribing the teachers over here[[116]] — there was apparently or most likely no other way for him to let him scrape through the grades.

But James Garrett alias Jake Crendle alias Dennifer was not exactly Logan Reese, well, who was he anyways, and, most importantly in this context, why was he able to afford a dinner for two in Malibu's most exclusive restaurants? Officially, or so he had made Melanie think, he had earned a few bucks in the workshop of his uncle Hank Garrett[[117]], a craftsman from Santa Fé in New Mexico and uncle of James Garrett, during the last summer break. So, the average teacher at the most elitarian and best paying private school in the larger area of Los Angeles was not able to afford a dinner here at Vaccaro's, but the part-time intern of an average craftsman in a fairly unsignificant city out in the barren wastelands of New Mexico did not have any difficulty doing the same and even inviting a girl of his choice, or maybe not just one girl, given that he was regularly surrounded by droves of those. Malika knew of many students at Pacific Coast Academy working during the summer break in order to earn some bbucks for their college times later on, but they would have been very careful to refrain from blowing their hard earned saving for the purpose of exclusive dinners for two during their high school time. Summing it up, Malika had to think the situation excessively fishy, and she could not help to decide to snoop on Melanie in order to protect her from extremely bad surprises, or maybe Melanie was such an extremely bad surprise and really no better than her twin sister Sam?

41.2. Restaurant Of Vanity

Basically, Malika Ritter was able to teleport home from Vaccaro's, but she needed to get into that perverted establishment at first in order to snoop on Melanie. She had decided to borrow a kitchen maid's apron from the costume storage of Pacific Coast Academy, an apron that had formerly belonged to nowadays deceased Kazu Park and his Sushi Rox. The brutal end of the Japanese pub on the campus had forced ever since many a student to find a — legal or illegal — way to dine outside, but of course the restaurant of six stars was not an noption for everyone. So, Malika had now actually been able to sneak in and to feign being a kitchen helper. This allowed her somewhat to oversee the dining room of the exorbitantly illustrious establishment.

Maurice Lee[[118]], the maître d' of Vaccaro, was one disgustin pain in the guts.

Only later would Malika find out that he was the divorced husband of Sun Lee[[119]], owner of Wok Star — the most popular Chinese restaurant of downtown Los Angeles, well known to many students of Pacific Coast Academy who had been forced to look for an alternative to extinct Sushi Rox.

The whole atmosphere here was vone of perversity and vanity, as seen by the many decadent guests showing up on here for dinner, such as Logan Reese, wait, really, Logan Reese? Well, that was not much of a surprise, but he was not alone, which was not surprising either, except that his dinner date was no other than formerly perfect geek girl Quinn Pensky. Now, this explained the current degeneration and perversion of Quin Pensky completely, she had fallen for the most pernicious and corrupt abuser of womankind at Pacific Coast Academy, Logan Reese, and thus hit the bottom. The tide was now high, for soon, Quinn would be zombified completely, without a hope for redemption. Nevel Papperman was soon going to send us the shears used for trimming the fur of Otis, maybe something to make Quinn believe again in her old and most valiuable virtues instead of keeping on succumbing to the demon from the netherworld alias Logan Reese. Apparently, Quinn and Logan tried to keep their decadent and putrefactory relationship secret from their friends, so they would have some troubles when James Garrett and Melanie Puckett showed up.

And there were also some other people known very well to Malika from the campus of Pacific Coast Academy, more precisely, there was Coco Wexler and her fiancé Carl Bubba. OK, so the teachers at Pacific Coast Academy, the best of the state of California, did not earn enough money to be able to afford the occasional dinner here at Vaccaro, but Coco Wexler, the probably worst dormitory adviser of the United States who was always on the brink of getting dismissed, and her boyfriend who coached the worst of all softball teams of California, were able to do so? This was another severe mismatch ringing like a storm wind the alert bells of any observer as careful as Malika Ritter.

The rest of the evening appeared fairly boring, or at least it started like this. Logan and Quinn did not fess up straight to their abominable bastard relationship, but feigned to be accidentally at the same time at Vaccaro's. Logan pretended to have promised a chocolate soufflé for Michael Barret, who was thereupon going to show up as well, followed by Lola Martinez. Coco did not get long at all with the Maître D', and thus Maurice Lee saw himself compelled to expell the chubby and unruly dormitory adviser, along with her fiancé and along with the teenagers who admitted to being friends of hers. Malika was about to leave the decadent locality as well, disgusted by the whole despicably materialistic atmosphere.

But then chaos and turmoil was about to strike mercilessly: A lightening flashed and a thunder rolled, and, all of a sudden, Coco Wexler, and thence also Carl, started to bite Maurice Lee in a deadly manner, making him squeal and bleed insanely. Maybe the corrupt Maître D' had thoroughly deserved it, but nevertheless it was terrible. Officer Vega was called and would soon arrive, but too late for stopping the horror and gloom. Coco Wexler and Carl Bubba were hit by some most peculiar ray weapon, and they dissolved into a smouldering heap of smelly ashes. A snark's presence was felt, but Malika reacted in time in order to block the effect of the pernicious monster's song and his gaze. The member of the monster hunting society responsible for killing Coco and for the attempt of snarking the sadistic onlookers had escaped again, but this time, Malika had been able to identify him as one Lance Donovan[[120]].

Chapter 42. Leann Carter

Malika Ritter was now even more dismayed by the outcome of last night's grisly scenes in front of the eyes of several students of Pacific Coast Academy during their visit in Vaccaro's six star dining hall. Ideally, the horror should have shaken them up, making them recognise into what a miserable state they had been drifting during the last months, or even years, but nothing like that happened.

Let us take Lola Martinez who had been standing closest to Coco Wexler, but she hadn't even startled, rather, she interpreted the whole scene as made up for a surprise shooting for one of Malcolm Reese's new horror thrillers. So she was actually pleased for having been there in the right moment, since she anticipated being seen on TV very soon, thus gaining eve more in fame due to her perfect reactions. And now she was not talking about anything else than getting chosen for an even bigger horror movie, as previously promised by no other than Logan Reese.

Two years ago, Logan had promised to help Lola getting a great rôle in his dad's horror movies, and in order to try out for this, she had performed as a walking corpose in his haunted mansion[[121]], an attraction for elementary school kids in the framework of the annual Halloween party at Pacific Coast Academy. Unfortunately, that trial had not been completed, because Zoey Brooks, who had been previously annoyed by Logan's arrogant demeanour in the face of Dustin, had fooled Logan Reese into being scared by his own spooky mansion and run away screaming before the kids even had the chance of making it into the room in which a munnified Lola Martinez was eagerly awaiting them. Ever since, Logan had always kept on postponing his promise.

But these days he was so flattered by Lola's assumptions of the horror scene being Logan's work that he admitted shamelessly to it and boasted with having had the idea and been able to convince his father of it.

James Garrett even fessed up to being the nephiew of one of Malcolm Reese's most honoured actors, a certain Jeff Garrett.[[122]] Of course Logan knew Jeff, a total girl eater, just like his nephew James, and he had already hired him — like three years ago — for a video project here on the campus of Pacific Coast Academy. This had occurred before the arrival of Lola Martinez, a fact that made the aspiring top diva as envious as can be, given that Jeff Garrett had been one of her top idols.

James Garrett, in turn, was of course proud of his uncle's ongoing Hollywood fame, and he did not even remotely dare to intervene or even to contradict.

Melanie Puckett, the blond wannabe Mary Sue, was so painstakingly addicted to James Garrett that she was of course utterly unable to see it any different than James. She was just sad about having missed out on another great occasion for being alone with James, and she was unlikely to get another occasion like this, for, as she had heard, James had already spent most of his savings from last year's summer job.

Of course, Malika was still suspicious concerning the sources of James Garrett's bucks, as she was in the case of Coco Wexler and Coach Carl. The last words about this apparently exorbitant mismatch had not yet been said in any way.

Quinn Pensky should have been awakened by this horror in front of her eyes, as she had never been into that movie star business, at least not until starting to date — still secretly and unbeknownst to the greater mass of the students at Pacific Coast Academy — the worthless dandy of Hollywood, but precisely for that reason she must have changed a lot, or maybe just regressed to a fake Quinn she had once been but given up for the noble purpose of intellectual domination of mankind, until letting herself degenerate by the obnoxious influence of her materialist fellow students.

And there had indeed been such a fake Quinn at some point of her life, that had appeared overcome at the age of seven, and Malika came to know about this only recently.

Nevel Papperman was, as aforementioned, a student at Priorwood Prep in Seattle, and one of his school mates, a few grades above him though, was a certain Leann Carter,[[123]] a girl familiar with a very different Quinn.

I am a regular participant of Seattle's pageants, and I have come to know Quinn during my first participation in one of them at the age of four.

By then, Quinn Pensky was five of six years old, and she was a majorette participating in pageants as well.[[124]] She was very dextrous and successful when twirling things with her arms, such as hoops and batons.

At the age of seven, she did not show up anymore, apparently embarrassed by all this.

Quinn was also a student at Priorwood Prep, two grades above me.

And at the time of my first grade, Quinn spoke about all the majorette stuff with a thorough distain, and she wanted me to stay totally silent about her past as a pageant girl.

Maybe I should not have talked about this, but Quinn really surprises me. I have not met her since middle school, but I have never forgot about her, the streamlined geek girl, and you seem so worried about her, thus it is certainly for the better of her to refrain from holding back those vital informations.

Malika patched the scattered bits and pieces together in order to come to some provisional conclusion according to which, instigated by her room mate Lola and maybe some other forgotten events, Quinn Pensky had decided to take up her former ambitions as a majorette again, although they were against her predestination, and maybe, well, most likely, with the goal of becoming a famous entertainer, operating on the big stage of Hollywood. This had to be the real background of Quinn Pensky falling for Logan Reese, his excessive evilness not withstanding.

Likewise, Michael Barret was not really shocked by the horrible scene in front of his eyes, something which would have been impossible for the old Michael Barret who had been sensitive enough to master the classic transversal flute, an ability lost with the advent of Lisa Perkins. But that was another situation where a last word had yet to be said, and maybe aforementioned Jerry Crony would be essentially helpful.

Chapter 43. The End Of Dean Rivers

At Pacific Coast Academy in general, Coco Wexler was not missed at all, which was not much of a surprisen, given that the excessively chubby wench had always been nothing more than a poor excuse of a wench, as already seen before, and had always been on the rim of getting expelled by Dean Rivers or by Leo Bradford. In any case she had been a burden for the female students from the get on instead of a help, and she had been little — if put mildly — reliable in every day situations of her job. Only the support of weak hearted Zoey Brooks had kept her in her job for almost four years, four years too many according to the judgment of the average student here at this illustrious school — but the blond Mary Sue was now far away across the seven seas and no longer available for fixing the situation. No dormitory adviser at all was — considered objectively — a whole lot better than one dormitory adviser of the kind of Coco Wexler.

In the meantime, Zoey Brooks had even been informed about Coco's untimely end, end she was certainly concerned to some degree. But she was happy about living at a boarding school with competent dormitory advisers, or so she believed, instead of requiring Zoey to be a quasi adviser, the mother of the dormitory block responsible for righting all of the occasionally emerging and also the chronical wrongs between her fellow inhabitants of Brenner Hall.

Dean Rivers was not glad about the brutal end of Coco Wexler, but he was rightfully glad that she was now finally gone from the grounds of this school and no longer a source of the ongoing chaos and any further trouble at Pacific Coast Academy. He was stuck in a lot of other troubles, for the most part due to his psychopathic wife Tipper, who, according to Malika's judgment, had already tried hard to get rid of him for good by talking Coco into impressing him with a real lion. And there had been more trouble between himself and his wife at the occasion of their daughter's twenty-fourth birthday at which the headmaster had appeared with a thoroughly useless gift, a little portable mini stove,[[125]], under normal circumstances useful for baking little pies and brownies, which did not even work regularly, inspite of Quinn's — due to her absolutely perverted addiction to Logan Reese — feeble attempts of repairing the plug-in electro stove. In addition, he was troubled by the absence of the administrational secretary, Beverly Brown, who still had not returned to her office, which was very troublesome with regards to the looming graduation and prom events. Without his secretary, the headmaster was often enough at a complete loss in his office.

But this was nothing compare the troubles of the ongoing week. His wife had been almost hit by the coffee cart of Calvin Wang, out on the campus slope, during the so-called "happy hour". A fatal crash had been prevented in the very last second by Malika, using her more and more powerful telekinetic forces. The headmaster was not in a situation allowing him to afford annoying his wife much longer, as her divorce sharks had already been waiting for several months for an optimal occasion for tearing him limb from limb. For that reason, Dean Rivers had been compelled to declare coffee on the campus as illegal, a prohibition valid for everyone, id est students, teachers, visitors, staff, and finally also for himself. Of course many of the students were perversely addicted to coffee and thus by absolutely no means willing to stick to the prohibition issued by the dean. If the reason had been the coffee cart on wheels, what sense did a prohibition of coffe sold imn the lounges and so make, anyways? Thus some of the students used their connections to revendors outside the campus of Pacific Coast Academy — such as one of Quinn Pensky's aunts in law — started opening coffee shops in hidden places. Due to internal fights, they got all denounced and shut down. But Carl Rivers was ultimately caught making coffee in his own office, in some disguised drawer in in some wardrobe, and denounced unto Leo Bradford.

The owner of Pacific Coast Academy was of course now even more worried about the prestige of the illustrus educational organisation, and he was especially glad about the death of Coco Wexler off the campus, for he had feared even more negative publicity. Needless to say, he was not exactly happy about Dean Rivers's violation of his own rules on the campus, and he did not understand anyways why cocoa, tea, and muffins, formerly sold at Calvin's cart, had been declared illegal, too, along with coffee. In addition, Carl Rivers was rumoured to have cheated on his wife with Lucy Park[[126]], a cousin of Kazu Park who had come to Malika in order to take care of the decaying mortal remains of her remote relative. Lucy used to live in New York city, and she was a teacher over there at a district school in the metropole of the Broadway. Dean Rivers and Miss Park had been talking a lot about modern pedagogical methods which should or should not be practised in the future of Pacific Coast Academy, if there was a future left indeed. Their nightly discussions gave rise to the true or false rumours about Rivers and Park. And Leo Bradford feared exactly that tere would not be much of a futuure for California's most elitarian prep school, as messages about the grisly incidents on this campus had started making their way to the eastern coast already, as confirmed by Miss Park. For Leo Bradford, adultery in the dean's office was by absolutely mo means tolerable and a reason for a severe fine, and maybe for even more, given that the headmaster had also been a bad example for the students by not sticking to his own prohibitions. In any case, a few harsh wered were overdue, but it was necessary to avoid even more of a scandal which was not unlikely in the case of Dean Rivers feeling treated poorly by the owner. Now Leo, even more upset after having had to wait for several hours without any appropriate information before getting admitted to the dean's office, stood in the entrance door to the headmaster office, and he had top feel his brain bug out for horror, because he was just seeing the headless corpse of Carl Rivers.

Leo Bradford was unable to handle it, whence he collapsed on side and needed to be transported into St. Schneider's hospital[[127]]. Malika had been passing by and sensed the presence of a snark, and she blocked the attack of the perverted monster. But this was too late for the headaster and for Leo Bradford. According to witnesses fessing up days later, Tipper Rivers had been seen around the office with murder in her eyes not much before the grisly event. David Vega and the rest of the Beverly Hills policemen would look for Tipper for a severe interrogation about her rôle in her husband's violent death, but the widow of the headmaster would never be found.

Chapter 44. Vertigo

44.1. Spreading The News

The death of Dean Carl Rivers was finally the last straw to break the elephant's back and cause Los Angegels' greatest news show to report about the recent deadly incidents at Pacific Coast Academy. There was now definitely no way back to normality, and life at Malibu's most illustrious boarding school as it had used to be for the longest time had finally ceased to exist. According to Jane Kennedy[[128]], the viewers of her show all over California would make the hitherto beknownst record rates burst into smithereens. Jane Kennedy did not run that broadcasting and production ciorporation all alone, her main henchman was no other than aforementioned Brad Eichman, usually known as the headmaster of nearby Hollywood School for the Professional Performance Arts. Brad Eichman and Jane Kennedy were not just working together for their broadcasting thing, they were also secretly cheating on Eichman's decadent wife.

The relationship between the two private schools, Hollywood School for the Professional Performance Arts and Pacific Coast Academy, had been terribly intriguing for many a year, and there had been a variety of reasons for this to be as it was right there and right now.

Of course it was well known that a few students from Pacific Coast Academy — such as Ashley Blake — had recently switched to Hollywood School for the Professional Performance Arts because of the uncanny events during the previous term, and their decisions had been more justified from day to day, even though there had only been a few fantastic-sounding rumours about the untimely deaths of the parents of Stacey Dillsen, and also of Kazu Park.

Ashley Blake stayed all cool, and this scared Megan Parker to no end whatsoever. Ashley had found a new best friend forever, anyways, one that did not bother Ashley as much with her talk about the deeper mysteries of whatever. This new friend was Amber Tate[[129]], another future Hollywood diva just two years younger than Megan and Ashley. For many years, Hollywood School for the Professional Performance Arts suffered from prejudices against sending children too early to a specialised school for impractical things like performance arts, and this had caused to a high amount of parents preferring Pacific Coast Academy, a school in the vicinity of the Hollywood business, but with a very broad scope, just leaving their kids more options for the future. This way, many kids who would otherwise have been more than perfectly suited for Hollywood School for the Professional Performance Arts had been redirected to Pacific Coast Academy, such as Lisa Perkins and Lola Martinez.

The management of Hollywood School for the Professional Performance Arts would thus have loved to abuse the situation and shift the balance in favour of their school, but there was substantial problem that was able to block and inhibit plans of that sort. Both Pacific Coast Academy and Hollywood School for the Professional Performance Arts were controlled by almost the same board of sponsors, well, the overlap was really large, including the richest creeps of Hollywood such as Malcolm Reese, Arthur Griffin, Nicholas Cage[[130]], and Alan Crimp[[131]]. And bad news about Pacific Coast Academy would inevitably also reflect and cast an exorbitantly bad light on the other schools sponsored by the same trust, but — or so they feared — also the sponsors' own business as well. This lead to some internal censorship to which Brad Eichman was bound strictly, against the better judgment of Miles Bambridge, the chief reporter of Jane Kennedy's breakfast TV news.

By the way, Eichman's current shows were totally lame and annoyed even his daughter Morgan[[132]] who wanted him to produce something like the web show of Carly Shay instead. He thought now about hiring Carly and her gang for a new show, but he would certainly screw this completely, or so anticipated Megan Parker.

44.2. Fear Of Rollercoasters

Michael Barret suffered from a huge variety of fears, such as tachophobia, acrophobia, illygnophobia, summing up in his fear of rollercoasters. He had usually been able to hide this, but now his stupid teacher for physics, Bert Beringer, had decided — upon a suggestion by Quinn Pensky — to send the whole class to a field trip to Mystic Mountain for a trip on their roller coaster, the "Spine Twister", in order to learn about potential and kinetic energy.

Upon hearing about Michael Barret's justified fear of rollercoasters, Logan Reese had started spreading the news and denounced his room mate for this cowardice. Michael had been deluded for almost six years into seeing him as a friend. Was he now finally able to wake up and see the pernicious character of his room mate? This would have been a really nice turn, and indeed did Michael try hard to get back at Logan by trapping him and submitting him to other kinds of tortures, but it was just a little snow flake in the fire storm because there was one danger for Michael Barret that was much more subtle and much more creepy than Logan's direct evilness, and this peril was his "girlfriend" Lisa Perkins. Instead of insulting and humiliating Michael outright in the public, she tortured his feelings by refusing to like him for his fears. Instead, she tried to talk him into facing his fears like a brave man. She also abused middle school girl Emilia Brandon[[133]] Typically, Lisa Perkins had never stood up for him, she had only abused him and his feelings during their whole relationship. This would have been the right moment for seeing through this and returning to his old virtues as a flautist and composer instead of trying to crawl up Lisa's rear and trying to impress her in an exorbitantly suicidal manner. Was Michael's way back to his old self really blocked by the siren, and did he have to move forward into his doom?

Keeping Lisa Perkins as a girlfriend was, for Michael Barret, thence tantamount to losing his own identity, an identity which included being fearson and especially afraid of roller coasters, among many other things, of course, such as bears, or, in other words, Michael could not keep on loving Lisa without turning more and more into a zombie.

The tide was now high for the soul of Michael Barret, and Magic Malika saw the last chance for saving him in Jerry Crony alias Olivary Biallo. But Malika needed Olivary alias Crony to act fast, for otherwise everything could be lost.

Chapter 45. Silver Hammer Society

45.1. Reactions In London

The message of the death of Dean Rivers, inspite of all the attempts of Leo Bradford and of the sponsors of Pacific Coast Academy who kept on trying to keep it secret, reached Covington very fast because of Michael Barret's efforts. He felt down and misunderstood at his school because of being a giant coward and hoped for the comfort of Chase Bartholomew Matthews, his probably only remaining friend even across the ocean. In addition Chase had been no less of a coward than Michael during all the years when he had refused to fess up to Zoey Brooks from face to face and given in to the suggestion of Lola Martinez who had forced him to try to make the blond Mary Sue jealous with that disgusting busty Latina named Rebecca, or properly Caterina Vega, whatever.

Chase had never been a real fan of Dean Rivers, but he was totally consternated and somewhat happy to be away from Pacific Coast Academy, although he was also feeling increasingly miserable and tortured by remorses for having let down his best friend forever, videlicet Michael Barret, back at a school ruled by coxcombss like Logan Reese. Now Chase was already deep in the debts for his sudden switch from Pacific Coast Academy to Covington, but he could not help looking for a way to return to his former residence in order to stand by his pal. The brutal fallout with Zoey Brooks had not helped Chase at all to get accustomed to life at this snobbish British school, the school uniforms, the British food, and the abominable weather every time a year. And then there were those uncanny things going on over in House Of Anubis, things that kept on giving Chase the creeps. He found Dustin Brooks in an outrageously confused situation — each morning during the big recess. And the obscure demeanour of custodian Victor Rodenmaar reminded Chase vaguely of a very elitarian society dwelling on the campus of Pacific Coast Academy that he had once encountered, but ever since almost forgotten. Chase just had to inform Malika Ritter about this stupid club known as the Society Of The Silver Hammer.[[134]] Chase, unlike his friends of the time back then, had always refused to trust the club of the "Hammers", which he had never come to see from the inside. Chase's roomie, still annoyed by his late phone calls, was even ready to lend him the bucks for a one way ticket from London to Los Angeles, probably with the intention of never getting to see him again on the campus of Covington.

Zoey Brooks was also not really feeling at ease at her new school, with or without Chase's arrival. Of course she would not have preferred seeing Coco Wexler, Kazu Park, or Dean Carl Rivers die in front of her eyes. But she felt bad for having left some friends behind in the mess of chaos and turmoil, or at least people whom she had thought to be her friends … for the longest time. Now it was no longer easy for her to see, for example, Lola Martinez as a good friend because of knowing about the drama queen's ways of manipulting Chase into hiring no other than excruciatingly disgusting Rebecca alias Caterina Vega. In addition, Zoey saw her little brother in danger in his dormitory hall which was guarded by the bald headed creep named Victor Rodenmaar and his stuffed black raven, and she could not leave him there without looking after him on a daily base in order to make sure that he was alright.

45.2. Silver Hammer

Michael Barret was now vaguely remembering the society of the hammers. According to Logan Reese, it had been considered cool to be a member of those freaks, and he had even tried to bribe their elders in order to get accepted. At first glance, that had been in vain.

The "hammers" recruited new members, usually sophomores, by hitting them lightly with a silver hammer over the head and giving them a silver sticker. Lola Martinez, Zoey Brooks, Chase Bartholomew Matthews, and Michael himself had all been knocked, but Chase had rejected the "honour". The postulants were gathered in a secret meeting and assigned various disgusting tasks, slave jobs for the elders. Finally, those passing these tests had to elect one among them who was denied ultimate membership. This had caused Zoey to turn the whole honour down. Michael and Lola had followed Zoey's decision, for whatever reason.

Michael remembered especially some very creepy guy with a silver triangle who made strange and totally annoying sounds with this instrument. Indeed, without this triangle, he would most likely have forgotten completely about the noble society of the "Hammers". He tried to remember the time of his recruitment by the weirdo club in general, and he figured that it had been before the start of his dates with Lisa Perkins, really, it was his first consistent piece of memory of any moment before dating the girl that had tied his soul. Yet Michael was not able to give up completely on Lisa Perkins, but he started having his doubts about her honesty. Strangely, Lisa Perkins had appeared for the first time on this campus right before Michael had tried to become a member of the "Hammers", and, more precisely, she had been his very motivation. Being a "Hammer" was said to be cool and impress the girls, and Michael must have thought to be able to impress Lisa with it. So, had the arrival of Lisa Perkins back then been an accident?

Malika was of course most interested in hearing about that Society Of The Silver Hammer, and she needed to patch the pieces tiogether. If there was a link between the House Of Anubis — especially Victor Rodenmaar — and the snobbish club mentioned by Chase and Michael, this connection was most likely an explanation of the source of the evil that had been holding Pacific Coast Academy ball and chain for several generations. But there were still a few gaps to be filled in, and this had to be done as fast as only possible. The most important question was the one concerning the rôle of Charles Galloway in the whole affair, especially his relationship with the cultish society. According to the yearbooks, the "hammers" had been active at Pacific Coast Academy already before the time of the disappearance of Charles Galloway. But the ritual and the triangle alluded to an older origin, and most likely one predating this illustrious boarding school, and thus a connection to the roots of the House Of Anubis was totally likely. That house originated in the Victorian era, but it was adherent to traditions older than these. Malika also needed to find out whether the creepy club still existed on the campus of Pacific Coast Academy and which activities it had been up to.

Chapter 46. Junior Prom Preparations

46.1. James's Amulet

The junior prom day at Pacific Coast Academy was now rapidly approaching, and many juniors were unable to think about any other topic. Dean Rivers had never been very popular, and thus it was not much of a wonder that none was mourning, neither the students nor the teachers or staff members, and especially not Leo Bradford who had discovered, after some investigation conducted by Officer David Vega, that the headmaster had been fairly corrupt in his office and also abused the school's cash for private purposes. For the police, there was a connection between the dean's untimely end and his illegitimate activities of which his wife Tipper must have heard. The junior prom, usually a big celebration, had thus been shrunk to a little party on the campus without the usual ornations.

The whole thing was overseen by David Bender, a very much overburdened teacher during those days. It was his last year at Pacific Coast Academy, as he was afraid for his family and his own life, and he had thence contracted at Golden Bay Bridge, a district school in San Francisco at which aforementioned Chris Saunders was studying.

Many teachers were going a similar way, and it was by no means sure whether there was any future at all for Pacific Coast Academy during the last year, as students were fleeing in droves due to the recent events.

Melanie Puckett was most excited by the looming junior prom, as she had been invited to it by James Garrett alias Jake Crendle alias Dennifer alias …, and not many freshmen girls of that year were actually able to boast with an invitation to the junior prom. Even more of a reason for Melanie's exorbitant excitement appeared to be a gift that she had obtained, along with James's invitation to the dance, from the tall blond rake. This impressive present was a golden locket bearing an engraving, words reading "I love you — James". Now Melanie was wearing the medallion all of the time, especially also in her dormitory room, and she was endlessly proud of it, especially in the presence of Malika Ritter who had kept on warning Melanie about James and his windy character, a poison that appeared sweet to the fools. She deemed Malika a mean enviar and loser girl raining upon everyone's parade. Of course, Melanie was so thoroughly blinded by her lowly desires that she was unable to see any perpetual truth, and she would keep on living in the most stubborn manner according to her earthly lust. Often enough, Melanie had not been found in the morning in her bed, but resting hand in hand with James, somewhere in one of the lounges of the high school kids — a pretty much despicable and decadent situation which did not even make Melanie feel embarrassed.

Malika took a closer look at the amulet which was, just like James Garrett, of a physically brilliant and astounding craftmanship, and of splendid polish. But those external features could be easily deceptive and misguiding, and thus had to be deemed of only some minor significance, compared to the task of grasping the essence of the locket, an essence hiding some secret or the other. And Malika's psychometric abilities had been refined a lot since she had been guarding the Pacific Coast Academy ring formerly worn by Dustin Brooks, the most impressive ring with the remarkable and mysterious shape of the ouroboros. Of course Melanie was not willing to let Malika watch her pendant closely and penetrantly, thus it needed to be done secretly. But even without a more thorough examination, Malika was able to detect hints for a deeper secret of the locket, hints leading towards ancient Egypt and thus suggesting a deeper connection with the House Of Anubis on the campus of the Covington boarding school in Great Britain. According to rumours, , the master of said house, was hunting for several amulets related to the ancient Egyptian culture. Malika had read a lot about those from the books of one Gerald Massey, an outcast egyptologist avoided like pestillence and black pox by falsely so-called "serious" egyptologists who were nothing but parasitic charlatans and lackeys of the archons and demons ruling the decadent modern society.

46.2. Chase is back.

A plane with triangular wings came down from California's clear blue sky and was ready for touching the soil of the city of dubious fame. Chase Bartholomew Matthews was aboard that plane, only a few weeks after having made the same trip in the reverse direction on a similar plane. Neither hither nor thither did he feel at ease, but even less in the air inbetween, although he did not share Michael Barret's vulnerability to vertigo. The latter was already awaiting his best friend forever whom he would have forgotten ever since, had it not been for the interventions by Malika Ritter and her vigorous rebuttal of an ongoing series of most pernicious snark onsloughts. Chase had never seen any good in Michael's stupid crush on Lisa Perkins, so he was now able to claim in an utterly triumphant manner "I have always told you, but you have never wanted to listen!" But in turn he would have had to listen to Michael's remarks about Chase's fatal mistake of not fessing up unto Zoey Brooks in time, for he had messed it all up by this attitude. For those reasons, both of the teenage boys preferred to return silently, but hand in hand, to the campus of Pacific Coast Academy where Chase would have to take a huge dose of sleep. Michael would not budge from his side and hold his friends' hands tightly, as he would not believe otherwise that Chase was really back from London or wherever he had gone to.

On its way from London to Los Angeles, the plane had also stopped in New York City and exchanged a few passengers. One of the guests taking the air trip from New York City to Los Angeles was Addie Singer, the aforementioned friend of Megan Parker. Addie had got an uncanny feeling since Malika and Megan told her about the black stuffed raven of Victor Rodenmaar and its possible connection to the poem of Edgar Allan Poe , and she needed the mental support of her friend. Also, she had got an idea of a musical based on Poe's poem, and she needed someone to write her the tune. Megan Parker had told Michael to take Addie to the campus of Pacific Coast Academy as well. She was holding up a label with her name in order to get recognised by Michael. Finally, Addie stumbled into Michael's car, scratching Chase lightly, an action for which she was feeling sorry.

Michael had got this car from his dad, but he was not yet really able to ride it, for he had practised for his driver's license on an automatically switched car instead of such an old rusty creep with a stick switch. Accordingly, his way of driving was unusually choppy, and Chase was more often flung against Addie, and vice versa. Addie was accustomed to that, though, as her dad had been unable to ride a stick switcher for the longest time. But Chase was feeling a bit embarrassed because of hitting on Addie, albeit in a very unusual interpretation of the sense of the world. Unfortunately, at the end of the trip both Chase and Addie were in need of a trip to the toilets, and Chase needed to show Addie the way, hand in hand in order to go sure that he would not lose her on his way across the pavement.

Chapter 47. Redstone Gulch

Charles Galloway, the former student who had ordered the production of the ouroboros shaped PCA ring from Frieda Harris, had been rumoured to have died out in the barren wastelands, like ten miles away from the gates of the most illustrious boarding school of the greater Los Angeles region. The place of his death had been known as Redstone Gulch, and it was not a very pleasant spot.

Malika Ritter hoped that Chase Bartholomew Matthews had recovered enough from the snark attacks of the past and was now shaken enough by the recent horror news that he would have more and more flashbacks of the time before Malika's arrival at Pacific Coast Academy, and indeed, Chase was now somewhat aware of Charles R. Galloway. He shook Michael violently, asking "don't you remember? You had dragged me out there to this mystery place, Redstone Gulch, in order to find his tomb?"

Michael started remembering now, alas, even his memory did not come in one piece, but in repeated flashes. "Hey, we did find the tomb, remember, so Logan and I had been right, Charles Galloway had been buried in Redstone Gulch."

During the following minutes, Malika learned that a group of teenagers, consisting of Michael Barret, Chase Matthews, Logan Reese, Quinn Pensky, Lola Martinez, and a certain Lafe Berkowitz[[135]] had made its way from the school's campus into the wilderness in order to check the legends surrounding Charles Galloway, and they had finally found the tomb and dug it open. Nobody had dared to take anything from the tomb except — of course — Logan Reese, who was up to making insane amounts of bucks with a movie about the end of Charles Galloway, so he needed some sort of proof, and he smuggled the locket of the decayed cadaver back to the campus. On their way back to the beach, the group was attacked by some uncanny green tornado, something that reminded Malika Ritter exactly of the wild hunt. The ghastly apparition had been wreaking havoc on the campus for several hours, almost a whole day, no way they could think of a way to stop the ghost or whatever it was, and they did not really remember what had finally restored the peace at Pacific Coast Academy. Malika was sure that the monster hunters' club had been behind it and that snarks had made it impossible for most of the kids to remember the situation. Aforementioned Lafe Berkowitze had never been heard of later on and was not found in the school's chronicles.

Malika concluded that the amulet of Charles R. Galloway must have triggered the wild hunt that had alerted her, back then in that obscure dream that was the very reason for her to come to Pacific Coast Academy, and that this pendant had not been an arbitrary ornation, but one of the mysterious amulets the Ordo Templi Orientis, the organisation for which Lady Frieda Harris had been active, had been guarding. This occult artist had also made some works of arts in the style of ancient artifacts, not in order to deceive potential buyers into believing them authentic, but in order to illustrate the arcane knowledge of ancient Egypt and its significance for the seeker today. Her master work had been a deck of tarot cards dedicated to the ancient Egyptian deity Toth, often connected with Hermes Trismegistus, the virtual master of Malika Ritter.

Further examinations of the time frame showed that the trip to Redstone Gulch had happened not much after the days when Zoey, Lola, and Michael had been applying for a place in the club of The Silver Hammers, and still some weeks before the start of Michael's dates with Lisa Perkins. As Malika had always suspected a connection between the House Of Anubis, especially Victor Rodenmaar, and the organisation of Silver Hammers, this was particularly interesting. Of course the vague memory due to the massive loss suffered from snark attacks did not allow for recovering all of the significant details in so little time.

And unfortunately, Michael Barret was still perversely addicted to Lisa Perkins, while Chase Matthews had not yet overcome the troubles with his Zoey Brooks completely.

And now it was the right time to reintroduce Michael to his former middle school dance partner, Olivary Biallo alias Jerry Crony from Santa Clarita. Three years ago, several girls from schools near Malibu had been invited to the middle school dance at Pacific Coast Academy in order to make up for the lack of numerical balance between boys and girls, among them girls from James K. Polk middle school in Santa Clarita, Crony's educational institution. Jerome Crony had signed up as a girl in order to make it to the ball, because he was thoroughly misunderstood at his own school, well, this was not different at any other school, including Pacific Coast Academy, but this did not matter much. Jerry Crony was one of a few boys with a "girlish" hobby, videlicet the design and creation of textiles. He had been a member of a dangerous gang of bullies in order to hide his un-manly ambitions underneath an overtly manly mask, but he had never been feeling well in this rôle. And there was another really weird hobby practised by Olivary Biallo alias Jerome Crony, something that was considered commonly strange even for girls of today. Jerome Crony was a worshipper of Egyptian moon god Chonsu, and he performed many secret and open rituals especially at full moon. He had been looking for Michael Barret at the dance because he wanted him to perform a ceremonial tune on his transversal silver flute. Unfortunately, Michael had been annoyed a lot by the fact of having to dance with a male partner, and the attempt had thus failed miserably. But there had been sort of a B-plan involving a certain Farfalla[[136]], Olivary's teacher in some exotic language. Olivary had introduced Farfalla as his "little" sister and made her snoop on Michael, which was easy because Michael was unwary and appeared to have a crush on Farfalla pretty soon. Probably because of a snark onslaught, Michael had forgotten pretty fast about that girl, as opposed to Lisa Perkins who was still on his mind inspite of her impossible demeanour.

Michael was still not cured from the disease of hankering after his Lisa Perkins, but he was now for the first time since his crush on Lisa aware of having had other, more suited girls before her, which was probably — or so hoped Malika — going to help him going back to his proper path.

But Olivary Biallo was also some sort of a witness for the practices of the Society Of The Silver Hammer and the House of Anubis.

Chapter 48. Mr. Takato

48.1. Grapes And Tuna

While Michael Barret's confidence in Lisa Perkins had already been dwindling to some degree due to the shocking memories dug in the past, he was still hell bent on taking her to this year's Junior prom. And this project included driving Lisa to the parking lot in front of ball hall, which had been organised by Logan Reese in last minute, by means of his new old car, or old new car, whatever, the one that required manual switching with which Michael was still uncomfortable, something that made him totally desperate in any way. But there seemed to be some support for him in sight.

More precisely, some elderly guy of partly Japanese ethnicity, later to be known among soome students as Leon Takato[[137]], showed up on the campus and offered Michael to teach him the usage of such an old fashioned rusty automobile without automatic switching. He had shown up right after Michael had steered his car straight into the shrubbery and getting stuck right there.

He was a master of the ancient Eastern Asian religious tradition of Zen, known to spiritually less interested people chiefly from books like Zen And The Art Of something. The established cult of Zen despiced theoretical knowledge in favour of direct self-realisation by means of practice and contemplation.

Michael understood that Mr. Takato was a teacher for mathematics at Pacific Coast Academy middle school, something which none of his friends were apparently ready to believe. Indeed, the registry of the school did not list any such teacher for this subject as currently active, or as having been active during the last few years. Megan Parker and Wendy Gellar did not know anything about such a teacher.

For most of his pals, and especially for his "girlfriend" Lisa Perkins, Michael Barret was either a liar or a fool, and they did not believe into Mr. Takato. Had there been the necessity for another proof of the absurdity of the ongoing relationship between Lisa Perkins and Michael Barret, this lack of confidence would have done in any doubts whatsoever for anyone right in his mind. But Michael was still not quite convinced of being on the wrong way, and he kept on insisting in learning to drive the rusty vehicle in order to impress Lisa.

Among Michael's long term pals, only Chase Bartholomew Matthews was willing to believe Michael's claims about the mystery guy of Asian ethnicity.

Malika Ritter, on the other hand, was secure in the knowledge that Michael had not been lying or hallucinating, and that Lisa was once more unworthy of him. For the queen of witches from the emerald city, the question remained nevertheless: "Who was Takato?" There must have been a deeper sense to the words of the old mystery guy, maybe even the key to the question about the source of the evils having haunted Pacific Coast Academy for a few years already.

Takato's methods of teaching Michael Barret were typical for all the zen teachers known from movies, so there was not really much of a surprise. Michael was forced to stir tuna, egg dressing, and onion mesh to some delishious sushi snack, and then he was forced to stomp grapes with his feet, turning them into delicious grape juice to be enjoyed by Takato. The tuna part was a bit shocking for Michael because he had to remember the brutal end of Kazu. Nevertheless, Michael Barret appeared to learn very fast and would soon be able to take Lisa Perkins in his outdated automobile to the prom dance, but was it really worth the trouble, given that she still refused in a perversely stubborn manner to trust him when it came down to it?

48.2. Fake Prom Date

Logan Reese was still doing excessively perverse and abominable stuff with Quinn Pensky in the secret, and they were trying to hide it from the public. For that avail, they could not announce to come together to the prom dance, and they had to find fake prom dates in order to fool the public, but Malika Ritter could not be fooled in such a foul and despicable manner. Quinn forced Logan Reese to abuse Stacey Dillsen , the sad cotton swab queen, for that purpose.

Quinn's fake Prom date would be Charles Cornelius Gibson from Seattle, a class mate of Carly Shay, Fredward Benson, and Samantha Puckett. He had been seen a few times in the web show where he used to impress with his cool habit of taking off his top and nuding his chest in the most inappropriate moments. Gibby had been into a girl named Shannon Mitchell, but he was constantly ignored, so Carly Shay had decided to make a dating show withing her web show in order to get the two of them together. Quinn Pensky, who had to visit her family in Seattle for a weekend, had participated in that segment of Carly's web show, and got actually chosen by Gibby. Of course neither Gibby nor Carly knew that it was just a fake game by Logan Reese. But Malika sensed that most abominable deceit and wondered just about the right moment to intervene.

48.3. Interrogating Takato

Using her psychometric senses, Malika Ritter was actually able to find Leon Takato who existed, but didn't — just in the manner of a typical self realised zen master.

This was not Malika's style of thinking, but she was not confused by it, unlike most modern people.

A thorough examination of earlier annals of Pacific Coast Academy had been totally successful, and she had indeed found a report about Leon Takato, from the times of Charles R. Galloway. And now there was nothing to stop Malika from trying to squeeze more information out of this witness of an important time at this school.

And, indeed, Takato admitted, in an enigmatic manner which would have turned away any normal interrogator and forced him to give up, to knowing much more about the PCA ring and Charles Galloway than ever expected. It allowed Malika to fill in many a gap in the historiography of Pacific Coast Academy.

Everything confirmed Malika's guess that Victor Rodenmaar belonged to the clan of the founder of The Silver Hammer, and that he was after the amulet of Charles R. Galloway in order to achieve immortality in the flesh. The "hammers" had been after Galloway and his amulet, a work of art by Frieda Harris, and they still were. Takato himself had gifted the amulet unto Charles Galloway, and he had given him the ring as well. There were many other works of Frieda Harris circulating between Malibu and Covington, and at some other centres, all of them elitarian, snobbish schools in the leading western countries, including the French boarding school of André Chaumont, the father of exchange student Simon Chaumont, a school which had also hosted Dana Cruz after her disappearance from Pacific Coast Academy. Takato was not just an ordinary Zen master, he was a member of the legendary Green Dragon Society, archenemies of the Silver Hammer for over 150 years.

Malika even showed Takato the ring and got her guesses confirmed even more, which was finally enough for the hermetic adept to conclude her search for the roots of all evil befalling Pacific Coast Academy these days. Now it was up to her to react appropriately and do the right thing in order to save what was to be saved and to leave behind what ain't. Unfortunately, the mental disease of zombification had already started spreading outside the school, too much to allow for stopping the looming zombocolypse for good.

Chapter 49. The Poimander

49.1. Dustin's Return

Zoey Brooks was thoroughly dismayed by things said to go on over in the House Of Anubis, and she was excessively worried about Dustin's safety. She had tried to get him transferred into another dormitory house, but for no avail, so she had to ask her parents to intervene, but not with a lot of success, either, for the administration of Covington Prep remained stubborn.

As Dustin suffered a lot from British weather and food, his parents decided it to be better for him to return to California, but not to Pacific Coast Academy because of the horrible news of the last weeks. Instead they wanted him to live with his uncle Jeff Glazer[[138]] in San Diego.

In order to get him enrolled in the city near the Mexican border, Dustin was sent on a flight from London to Los Angeles. He hated time shifts, because they confused all senses, giving people the impression of travelling backward in daytime, making Dustin not feel anywhere near at ease. Zoey was coming along with Dustin, for she deemed him too young to make the whole trip all alone. But maybe she had got some motivation on her own in order to return to California, even if just for a few days, and fix things left over from her past life on the campus of Pacific Coast Academy.

49.2. Gibby At PCA

Charles Cornelius Gibson arrived at the same time at Los Angeles Airport as Zoey Brooks and her brother Dustin. The latter had no problem recognising the shirtless freak, much to the disgust of his Mary Sue of a sister who was thoroughly disgusted by Gibby's inappropriate attitude. He yelled his name in a thunderous manner across the seemingly endless waiting hall of the airport, triggering a few weird accoustic effects. On top of Dustin's recent experiences in the House Of Anubis, this appeared like an additional factor of eeriness.

Gibby was not yet familiar with Dustin Brooks, although he should have been aware of the possibility of encountering fans of Carly's web show everywhere in the civilised world. He was properly waiting for Quinn Pensky and not for someone like Dustin.

And there she was, Quinn Pensky, ready to abuse Gibby shamelessly in order to hide her embarrassingly absurd relationship with Logan Reese. . This underlined that she had really hit the bottom during the last weeks, and that there was hardly a hope for a return of the true Quinn, or was there?

Dustin Brooks introduced himself unto Gibby as a great fan of Carly Shay and her web show, and that he was pleased to the death for seeing one occasional collaborator.

Now Gibby was glad about encountering such a fan of the show, and the two of them had apparently got quite a lot to talk about.

Quinn Pensky showed finally up in order to fetch the shirtless freak from the airport, and she also recognised the Brooks kids.

Zoey talked her long-time room mate into taking them along to Pacific Coast Academy, and she decided that uncle Jeff Glazer could wait for a few hours more.

49.3. The Conjuration

Malika Ritter had finally found the reasons for the outbreak of chaos and corruption, the looming zombification, emanating from the campus of the apocalypse. She did not have to take a field trip to the barren tomb of Charles R. Galloway over at Redstone Gulch, for the report of Leon Takato had just said it all. Now Malika could start to destroy and banish the sirens and the zombies before they would wreak more havoc in California. But for that avail, she needed to conjure the eternal master of alchemy, the divine Poimander — a thoroughly degenerate Greek expression meaning something to the avail of herd of mankind, in the way she had been taught by her elder Kreuftlva Klotz[[139]], the leader of the witches of New York City. Already Kreuftlva had supposed the name to be really of Egyptian origin, although written down much later and in Greek only.

Megan Parker was watching the situation, somewhat sad because she would have to hurt her former best friend, Ashley Blake, and against her brother Drake in order to progress any further in her quest. She had had a hard time dissuading her other best friend, Wendy Gellar, from clinging too tight to Drake whom she had ben coveting for several years without avail. But Megan had been all too patient with those for too much time already. Ultimately, she was now curious to see the Poimander appear.

But another person was attending the process of conjurtion, and this one person was Jade West from Hollywood School for the Professional Performance Arts, the bearer of the seal of solomon, the star of five tips which is needed in order to protect them.

Minutes passed in meditative silence, minutes that appeared like hours to the attending persons, and the only thing to appear again was Takato, explaining "Malika, you are the Poimander, you can't rely on any spirit to come but your own."

Why had Takato not told Malika beforehand? There was actually no way for her to make any use of this information before she had been able to patch the pieces together and figure the origin of the current disastrous event at Pacific Coast Academy. But now she was endowed with the vigour to intervene appropriately and spread the truth able to bind the demons and free the souls.

Likewise, Jade West was finally ready to banish one of the worst seducers, Beck Oliver.

49.4. Saving Stacey

Malika Ritter teleported herself on site in front of Stacey Dillsen who was rigged and ready to take Logan Reese to the prom dance. The cotton swab queen, dressed with a gown made, of course, from cotton swabs, startled when seeing Malika all of a sudden in front of her eyes, and she was astounded. Malika spoke to her, saying "do not fear! You need to give up on Logan Reese in order to come truly alive."

Stacey had never been willing to give up on Logan, and she did not see why Malika's words would have ever changed that, but now she sensed some power in Malika's voice never heard before. She understood that she had to decide between her cotton swabs — which meant her artistic creativity — and between Logan, and Logan would have been the wrong path to follow, the straight and broad road into self destruction, a destiny Quinn Pensky was about facing inevitably, unless she turned around in the last minute. Suddenly her choice was clear, Stacey had to trash Logan Reese in order to make her cotton swabs live. In Malika's words, Stacey was reborn from above.

This way, Logan's plan of deceiving mankind about his absurd relationship with Quinn Pensky had also failed, but it was only a small part of the work that was still in front of Malika, and it was still not clear how everything would come along from that point.

Chapter 50. Finale

The ball had started after some speech given by David Bender, the teacher chosen by the pupils for this very purpose.

Quinn showed up with shirtless Gibby, but her inept boyfriend Logan Reese had come all alone to the ball, and he wondered where "his" Stacey had been, for he had been expecting the maniac creep rather early than late, ready to treat him with a few cotton swabs every now and then. Of course, Logan was not exactly unhappy about the cotton swab artist's absence, but Quinn would now most likely think him to have broken the promise, while she was there with her agreed date, Gibby.

Needless to say, Quinn was now in an excruciatingly stinky mood, and she required Logan to explain the situation.

Logan swore to be innocent, but this was not very convincing, for he had often enough bribed his way out of a bag, and thus Quinn believed that Logan had bribed Stacey to leave him in peace during prom night.

Quinn was almost once more able to forgive Logan, but in this moment, Malika Ritter and Jade West stormed the place.

Quinn wondered, "Malika, what are you doing here? And who is that girl?" She urged her wannabe lover to call for security.

In this moment, Jade produced a pair of shears from her pockets, videlicet the shears used formerly by Quinn Pensky in order to shear the wool off Otis every now and then, an object the habitual collector of scissors had purchased from Nevel Papperman.

Quinn was not immediately aware of the significance of these tools, but then she remembered the purpose of the very instrument held by Jade. She fell on her knees, cringed on the pavement, and finally broke into tears when crying the name of the biggest and most precious of her one hundred pets, the one she loved more than the other ninety-nine: Otis! Logan laughed manically about Queen's compassionate demeanour. "You won't make a lot of noise because of a flea-ridden fur creep, will you? It's our junior prom, not the international mourn-for-a-beast day."

Quinn Pensky was thoroughly disgusted by Logan Reese's reaction, and she thundered right into his face "Logan Reese, I am so done with you, noone shall stand between me and Otis!" She stomped her feet, grabbed the pair of shears off Jade, and ran away.

Jade West shrugged and wondered, "these are my shears," but she knwew that she could easily buy more scissor-like objects from Nevel's online haberdashery.

Many onlookers were puzzled, because they had not known that Quinn adn Logan had been a couple in the first place, and now their absolutely inappropriate relationship had broken asunder like a frail boat in a thunderstorm on the open seas.

Especially Gibby did not understand what had been going on, so Malika and Megan Parker had to explain the situation to the shirtless freak.

Dustin Brooks took Gibby, and they walked away in order to talk more about Carly Shay, Dustin's big crush.

Logan Reese saw now his good renown ruined by having his secret inappropriate relationship with Quinn Pensky reveiled, although it was now over, cut apart by a pair of simple wool shears.

Zoey Brooks was even more consternated than anyone else. But she still had to face Chase Bartholomew Matthews one more time. Now she saw the bushy head dancing across the campus floor with Addie Singer.

Unlike Zoey, Addie was more nartural and admitted to being unfabulous, making mistakes every now and then, something unthinkable for the blond Mary Sue. This made it a lot easier for Chase to admit his feeling unto her, and they had got other things in common, especially their love for writing sublime poetry and drama.

Also Michael Barret had found a new girlfriend. Another conversation with Olivary Biallo had changed his mind, for it made Michael miss his old self which had been thoroughly corrupted by his inappropriate feelings for Lisa Perkins. He remembered how much he had been corrupted slowly over the course of the years by his room pal Logan Reese, until turning more and more like him and covetting girls like Lisa Perkins although they were way out of his league. He had even tricked Chase into almost running over Lisa Perkins with his racing cart, so Michael had been in a situation allowing him to play the hero and save her, which was a typically Reese-like trick.

But this was now all over, and it was clear how much Michael had been corrupted by false friends such as Logan Reese and Lola Martinez.

Wendy Gellar, formerly as much addicted to Drake Parker as Michael Barret had been until recently to Lisa Perkins, took care of him and waltzed with him across the dancing floor, turning their lives around.

Malika had given many pupils of Pacific Coast Academy something to believe in and thus to return to their old virtues, the character that they had always been even before coming into being, instead of falling apart and getting swallowed by the ongoing zombie apocalypse that was sooner or later going to absorb the rest of mankind. For no matter whether people survive the dystopia of the undead or die in it according to the flesh — not staying true to your original ideals in the face of an overwhelming society is the fate worse than death and the reason for mankind turning slowly, but steadily into a mass of foul creatures.

Megan Parker had done the same and been a faithful assistant to the hermetic thaumaturge from the Emerald City.

Without their concerted intervention, there would not have been a way to make a mankind stuck in lies and ignorance conscious of the miserable situation they had always assumed to be normality. Now they had achieved the goal of their mission at Pacific Coast Academy.

But the zombie apocalypse was not going to stop here, and the flame of spiritual knowledge needed to be carried by messengers into every corner of the world in order to face the challenge of the beast.

For example, Stacey Dillsen was saved by giving up on Logan Reese, and she was now able to save Josh Nichols froim the fangs of his monstrous step-brother Drake.

Those instilled with the divine knowledge spread by paracletes like Malika and Megan would be the ones to overcome the dystopia. For them, death would simply cease to matter.

Oh death, where is thy sting?
Oh grave, where is thy victory?

-Second Epistle Of St. Paul To The Corinthians

[[1] ]Henry Doheny appears in Drake & Josh: The Great Doheny and is mentioned in Zoey 101: Logan gets cut off.

[[2] ]Melanie Puckett is from The iCarly Show: iTwins.

[[3] ]Samantha Puckett, co-star of The iCarly Show, is identified with Trisha Kirby from Zoey 101: Bad Girl

[[4] ]Chris "Prodigy" Saunders is a star of Best Player.

[[5] ]Ann "Pinky" Turzo is from True Jackson VP: Amanda hires a pink.

[[6] ]Molly Talbertson is a cameo figure from Zoey 101: Dance Contest.

[[7] ]This identifies Drake Parker with Drake Bell's autonymous guest rôle in Zoey 101: Spring Fling

[[8] ]Ashley Blake is from Drake & Josh: Little Diva.

[[9] ]This is Wendy from Drake & Josh: Number One Fan, identified with an unportrayed Wendy from Zoey 101: Lola likes Chase.

The surname is copied from a rôle by the same actress in third-party owned Camp Rock.

[[10] ]The surname of this occasional character of Zoey 101 is taken from a rôle of the same actor in third-party owned Wanted.

[[11] ]Grandpa Joe is a cameo in Zoey 101: The Radio

[[12] ]This radio device appears in Zoey 101: The Radio and is identified with the old radio appearing in Zoey 101: New Roomies.

Spencer makes a sculpture of old radios in The iCarly Show: iParty With Victorious, potentially inclusing this one.

[[13] ]Jadie Hawthorn is mentioned in The iCarly Show: Favor Chain

[[14] ]This is the identification of cameo character Robbie Carmichael from Drake & Josh: The Treehouse with cameo rôle Scooter from Zoey 101: Favor Chain.

[[15] ]Malcolm Reese is from Zoey 101: Spring Breakup.

[[16] ]This phrase is from third-party owned song Leave it all to me! by Miranda Cosgrove.

[[17] ]Snarks are from The Troop

[[18] ]Uncle Morris is mentioned i Zoey 101: Zoey's Ribs

[[19] ]Pierre le Mange is mentioned and counterfeited in Zoey 101: Zoey's Ribs.

[[20] ]Gary Coleman appears in Drake & Josh: The Gary Grill

[[21] ]Cf. Drake & Josh: Peruvian Puff Pepper

[[22] ]This identifies cameo character Darren from The iCarly Show: iFight Shelby Marx and Alex from The iCarly Show: iParty With Victorious with an anonymous cameo of the same actor in Zoey 101 : Zoey's Ribs.

[[23] ]Missy Robinson is a guest character in The iCarly Show: iReunite With Missy.

[[24] ]This is a spoof off third-party owned movies King Kong and Godzilla.

[[25] ]Cf. Zoey 101: Drippin' Episode!

[[26] ]Cf. Zoey 101: Spring Breakup!

[[27] ]Corey is a guest character from Drake & Josh: Megan's Fist Kiss and identified with the unportrayed karate-skilled cousin of Drake & Josh: Megan's First Kiss

[[28] ]This is Sandy Baldwin from Zoey 101: Lola Likes Chase, identified with same actress's rôle as Katie in Drake & Josh: Megan's New Teacher.

[[29] ]Tracy Baldwin is from Zoey 101: Lola Likes Chase.

[[30] ]Cf. Zoey 101: People Auction!

[[31] ]This is a spoof off Paige Howard from Zoey 101: Paige At PCA.

Paige Howard is here already identified with Megan Parker.

[[32] ]This identifies Mindy Crenshaw with Stasie, the same actress's guest rôle in Zoey 101: Backpack.

[[33] ]This expulsion happens in Drake & Josh: Honor Council.

[[34] ]Bert Beringer is a cameo figure in Zoey 101: Paige At PCA et alibi.

[[35] ]This beast is here named for J. Maxwell, founder of the modern theory of electricity and magnetism, and it is more or less a spoof off "Maxwell's demon", a thought experiment deviced by the same physicist.

[[36] ]Both the restaurant and its owner are from Victorious: Wok Star.

[[37] ]Lance Rivers is a guest character in Zoey 101: Son Of A Dean.

[[38] ]This is Danny, the guest character from Zoey 101: Quarantine, with a surname taken from a cameo of the same actor in third-party owned The Painting.

[[39] ]Topher Lane is a character from Zoey 101: Son Of A Dean.

[[40] ]Cf. Zoey 101: The Play

[[41] ]Miles Brody is a guest character from Zoey 101: Robot Wars.

[[42] ]Jack appears occasionally in Zoey 101: Haunted House et alibi.

The surname is borrowed from the rôle of the same actor in third-party owned Desperate.

[[43] ]Calvin is from Zoey 101: Coffee Cart Ban et alibi.

The surname is borrowed from a camo of the same actor in third-party owned Corina, Corina

[[44] ]Cf. Zoey 101: Chase's Grandma

[[45] ]Cf. Zoey 101: The Great Vince Blake

[[46] ]Cf. Zoey 101: iWant A Record!

[[47] ]Marilyn Reymour is a guest character in The iCarly Show: iWant A Record.

[[48] ]This refers to the events at the end of Zoey 101: Back At PCA

[[49] ]Darla Roberts is a cameo from Zoey 101: PCA Dance

[[50] ]Gene is from The iCarly Show: Dance Contest.

The surname is borrowed from a rôle of the same actor in third-party owned April Showers.

[[51] ]Simon is from Zoey 101: Dance Contest.

The surname is borrowed from Frenchmen appearing in Zoey 101: Haunted House.

[[52] ]Cf. Zoey 101: Lola likes Chase.

[[53] ]This is suggested by Zoey 101: Defending Dustin.

[[54] ]Cf. Zoey 101: Michael loves Lisa.

[[55] ]Makeout Mandy is mentioned in Zoey 101: Chasing Zoey and identified with a cameo Mandy the cheerleader from Drake & Josh: Football

[[56] ]This journal is mentioned or seen in Zoey 101: Miss PCA et alibi.

[[57] ]Katie Peckerman is mentioned in Zoey 101: Miss PCA.

[[58] ]Harry Joiner is a guest character from Zoey 101: iHeart Art

[[59] ]Sasha Striker is a guest character from The iCarly Show: iStage An Intervention.

[[60] ]The first name of this grandfather — who had been alluded to in Zoey 101: Zoey's Tutor — is freely invented.

[[61] ]Mr. Bradford is a guest character in Zoey 101: Prank Week with a first name borrowed from a rôle of the same character in third-party owned That's Life.

[[62] ]Beverly is a multiple cameo character from Zoey 101, such as Broadcast Views et alibi, with a surname borrowed from a cameo character from third-party owned Passions.

[[63] ]Freedman is mentioned in Zoey 101: Defending Dustin.

[[64] ]Cf. Zoey 101: Lola likes Chase!

[[65] ]This is Trina vega from Victorious, identified with Rebecca from Zoey 101: Chase's Girlfriend et alibi, and with the same actress's anonymous rôle in The iCarly Show: iPsycho

[[66] ]Cf. The iCarly Show: iGive Away A Car!

[[67] ]This school is featured in Just Jordan.

[[68] ]Brad is a guest character from The iCarly Show: iCarly Saves TV, identified with Principal Eichman from Victorious: Pilot.

[[69] ]Nolan Byrd is the star of Shredderman Rules.

[[70] ]Tipper is a cameo figure from Zoey 101: Quinn's Alpaca et alibi. Her concversation with Coco is mentioned in Zoey 101: Fake Roommate.

[[71] ]Cf, Drake & Josh: Tiberius

[[72] ]Carl is from Zoey 101: Dinner For Two Many et alibi.

The surname is borrowed from a rôle of the same actor in Unfabulous, third season.

[[73] ]This is Mr. Green from Shredderman Rules, with a first name borrowed from a rôle of the same actor in third-party owned Wasabi Tuna.

[[74] ]Isabel is from Shredderman Rules.

The surname is borrowed from a rôle of the same actress in third-party owned The Cutting Edge.

[[75] ]Miriam is from Shredderman Rules, with a surname taken from a rôle of the same actress in third-party owned Big Shots. She is identified with a cameo of the same actress in Drake & Josh: Who's got game?

[[76] ]This is Max from Shredderman Rules, with a surname taken from a rôle of the me actor in third-party owned Girlfriends

[[77] ]Jerry Crony is here identified with Olivary Biallo from Zoey 101: School Dance.

[[78] ]This is really "Backpack Boy" who does not have a civil name in Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide, and thus gets assigned here one of the same actor's rôle in third-party owned Searching For David's Heart

[[79] ]Bruce Windchill is mentioned several times in Drake & Josh.

[[80] ]Cf. Drake & Josh: Number One Fan for this particular ranger skill demonstrated by Joshuah Nichols.

[[81] ]Alvin Bixby is from Shredderman Rules.

[[82] ]Seamas Finnegan is a guest character from Zoey 101: Alone At PCA

[[83] ]Angela Crabtree appears in a few episodes of first season The Troop

[[84] ]Kitty Monroe is a guest character from True Jackson VP: The Red Carpet

[[85] ]Miles Bambridge is from Big Time Rush: Big Time Live

[[86] ]James Garrett from Zoey 101 is here identified with Dennifer — a cameo from Zoey 101: Quarantine, Jake Crendle — from The iCarly Show: iLike Jake, and various anonymous cameos of the same actor in other shows by Nickelodeon.

[[87] ]Cf. Drake & Josh: Helicopter!

[[88] ]Cf. Drake & Josh: Steered Straight

[[89] ]Cf. The iCarly Show: iGive Away A Car!

[[90] ]This is grandpa Shay from The iCarly Show: iWant To Stay With Spencer, with a surname taken from a rôle of the same actor in third-party owned Following Her Heart.

[[91] ]This is a real historical person, but some details here are made up, especially of course her interaction with the fictional persons and settings.

[[92] ]Charles Galloway is a ghost in Zoey 101: The Curse Of PCA

[[93] ]This title alludes to third-party owned song These boots are made for walking. by Nancy Sinatra.

[[94] ]Cf. Zoey 101: Logan gets cut off!

[[95] ]Daka appears in Drake & Josh: Really Big Shrimp and in The iCarly Show: iPromote Techfoots

[[96] ]Cf. Zoey 101: Favor Chain

[[97] ]Cf. Drake & Josh: Sheep Thrills!

The zebra's name is from Zoey 101: The Great Vince Blake

[[98] ]Faye Dunnaway is from Zoey 101: Quinn misses the Mark.

[[99] ]This accident is mentioned in Zoey 101: Silver Hammers.

[[100] ]This alludes to a third-party owned song by Johnny Cash.

[[101] ]Otis is from Zoey 101: Quinn's Alpaca

[[102] ]This is cameo Vanessa from Zoey 101: Quinn's Alpaca, identified with a cameo of the same actress in Unfabulous: The List Of Kissed named Tayler.

[[103] ]This school is mentioned in The iCarly Show: iMight Switch Schools.

[[104] ]Jeff Glazer is a cameo in Drake & Josh: Little Diva et alibi.

[[105] ]Coach Keller is from Zoey 101: People Auction, with a first name borrowed from a rôle of the same actor in third-party owned Thunder Alley.

[[106] ]Cf. Zoey 101: The Radio!

[[107] ]Cf. Zoey 101: Hot Dean!

[[108] ]Maria is from Zoey 101: Quarantine, with a surname borrowed from the recurring rôle of the same character in third-party owned S.

[[109] ]This identifies Addie Singer from Unfabulous with same character's cameo Addie from Drake & Josh: Honor Council

[[110] ]Stacey and Tracey appear in Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide: Shyness et alibi. They are identified with the same actress's cameos in Drake & Josh: Treehouse, and they are by absolutely no means, under whatever circustances, to be confused with Stacey Dillsen or Tracy Baldwin.

[[111] ]Jeff Stettinsee is mentioned in Zoey 101: Good-Bye Zoey

[[112] ]Tabitha is a cameo from Zoey 101: Trading Places., with a surname borrowed from the same actress's guest rôle in third-party owned Angel.

[[113] ]Galloway is a cameo in Drake & Josh: Two Idiots And A Baby, with a surname borrowed from a cameo of the same actor in third-party owned General Hospital.

[[114] ]Cf. Unfabulous: The Toot!

[[115] ]This restaurant is the setting of part of Zoey 101: Dinner For Two Many.

[[116] ]This manner of bribery occurs in Zoey 101: Anger Management

[[117] ]This is uncle Hank mentioned in Zoey 101: Chasing Zoey

[[118] ]This is Maître D' Maurice from Zoey 101: Dinner For Two Many, equipped with a surname borrowed from third-party owned Entourage.

[[119] ]This is Mrs. Lee from Victorious: Wok Star, with a first name borrowed from a rôle of the same actress in third-party owned The Winner: Single Date.

[[120] ]This is a guest character from The Troop: Tentacle Face.

[[121] ]Cf. Zoey 101: The Haunted House!

[[122] ]Jeff Garrett is a cameo character in Zoey 101: Jet-X, but the kinship with James Garrett is by no means canonical.

[[123] ]Leann Carter is a guest character in The iCarly Show: iWas A Pageant Girl.

[[124] ]Cf. Zoey 101: Silver Hammers for the fact of Quinn as a former pageant girl.

[[125] ]This mini stove is shown in Zoey 101: Vince is back.

[[126] ]Miss Park is from various episodes of True Jackson VP.

The surname is borrowed from a cameo of the same actress in third-party owned Better Off Ted.

[[127] ]Hospitals of this name appear in several shows by Dan Schneider.

[[128] ]Jane Kennedy is a guest rôle from Big Time Rush: Big Time Life.

[[129] ]Amber Tate is a guest rôle in The iCarly Show: iCarly Saves TV

[[130] ]Nicholas Cage is rom Spectacular!.

[[131] ]Alan Crimp is a guest character from Drake & Josh: Really Big Shrimp

[[132] ]Morgan is a cameo from The iCarly Show: iCarly saves TV.

[[133] ]This is Millie, a cameo from Zoey 101: Rollercoaster, with a family name borrowed from a rôle of the same actress in third-party owned The Red Line.

[[134] ]This club appears in Zoey 101: Silver Hammers

[[135] ]Lafe is a guest character from Zoey 101: The Curse Of PCA.

The surname is from a rôle of the same actor in third-party owned Cory In The House.

[[136] ]Farfalla is a cameo from Zoey 101: School Dance.

[[137] ]This is Mr. Takato from Zoey 101: Chasing Zoey, borrowing a first name from the same actor's rôle in third-party owned I'm In The Band

[[138] ]Jeff Glazer is a cameo from Drake & Josh: Little Diva et alibi.

[[139] ]Kreuftlva is a guest character from True Jackson VP: True Parade, with a surname borrowed from a guest rôle of the same actress in one episode of third-party owned Suite Life On Deck