Author's Note: HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Or perhaps, All (Saint/Soul)s Day depending on the day. This is PenGator3 here with a new story requested by someone from long ago in the summer of this year; although that we have been busy on bringing a new chapter to the recent Re: Yin Yang Who?, this will be a special occasion given that time of year to provide a buffer for what's to come.
Disclaimer: This is a fictional short story belonging to someone else told for the sake of entertainment; therefore, it's not to be brought, sold, rented, or reproduced by any unauthorized party. Failure to do so will result in serious penalties to perhaps the fullest extent of the law.
Hello, my name is Ulrich Gunning; you practically don't know me at all to begin with and neither do I know you but I wish to let you all in on a mere secret. I'm an alumnus who graduated from the Zephyr Edison Technical Academy of Maine twenty minutes away from Canada in the summer of 1979 at the age of seventeen. So far, my life has been merely been on a constant hit or miss basis: I got married to an intelligent wife, I was found to be sterile, adopted three children, live on the plains in between the borders of North and South Dakota under a mortgage, and I'm currently writing my first novel at this moment. There was practically a reason why you haven't heard about the institute at all in your life: about fifteen years after my graduation, the academy was closed down due to a destructive fire that broke out at night when everyone was asleep caused by a gas leak; this had also happened a year after the class reunion. Although that it was revealed that no one died in the fire being that it was closed off by a janitor, that is not the real reason why I am writing to you all of this: the real reason is because of the yearbook I had received from a school counselor named Elmer Roberts, whom gave it to me as a gift – it dated itself back to 1986-1987 and it had some newspaper clippings in it as all. Apparently, I didn't learn of this until I read it later due to the fact that it was old, cold, and somehow filled with mold; yet somehow a part of me told me to get bold. Nevertheless, I didn't mind at all until I got to the one page that made my own heart wrench in fear and horror; in fact, that was when all the newspaper clippings fell out of that very page.
Honestly, I wasn't much of a newspaper reader or a subscriber to begin with but it seems that the counselor has thanks to this mere abundance of clipping that had been collected. Even the names and pictures were preserved in spite of the changing times, here to pondering how it had happen, here to know who they were, here to understand the location; frankly, its answer was simple: those were the obituaries. They were the records of those whom had come from different times and different lives, yet the thing remains true as it is: those were the people who had come to this academy since after my graduation at some point and practically died before the moment of truth. I may not remember much about them since I had moved but I can only remember that one day that.
The first of the clippings had a young wide eyed ginger dressed in a vermillion baseball cap with a matching backpack aside from the olive shirt; the look on his face was showing borderline nervousness in his violet pupils and below it was the name: Davis Green. From what had been remembered, his otherwise loving parents, Halken and Eileen were well-intentioned zealots whom were in a cult that believed that the world was going to end in a nuclear apocalypse at the time of Davis' childhood; this is was around when the Cold War was hitting full swing at the time. Because of this, his vegetarianism and cautiously bookish personality made him the target of ridicule for others at the Academy to the point where it was society at large in a sharp contrast to his brother, Chip's carnivorous and brashly fierce personality. Aside from the comforts of his dear brother during the day and of his squirrel plushie by his side at night, he had a crush on a popular girl named Beth Willow; he'd hoped to dance with her at the Winter Solstice ball but sadly that wasn't the case. On an early evening of December 19th 1992, a massive forest fire broke out of control in the distant campgrounds killing the poor boy and perhaps his entire family in attendance, including his Grandmother Faye as well; the following year after, travelers reported hearing bloodcurdling screams at the former campgrounds and smelling smoke and ashes emerging from undamaged trees.
The second had another ginger, this time wearing a pair of glasses, a white shirt, pans worn over the waistline and some red wristbands; also, there was a similar picture of the same boy this time painted black theme and the inscription "Cooper Sanders AKA Adam Null" rested below. Growing up in the chaos of the Vietnam and the First Persian Gulf Wars, Cooper was the child of a dead veteran and a freelance publicist. Like Davis, he was cautiously bookish albeit intellectually; still, it didn't change the fact that he was constantly on his own on a retroactive basis and that he too was an outcast. Aside from Davis being a friend, Cooper had a girlfriend named Neva Ginny whom was better known to him by the nickname Lily Une, a girl who took the pain of everyday life out of it; her untimely death in a car accident amidst a freak snowstorm on March 15th caused him to dress in a gothic attire with the constant turning out the world on a daily basis at the expense of his grades and psyche. In the overnight hours of March 14, 1991, the day before the anniversary of his girlfriend's death, he was found by his mother in a bathtub of water with his carpi all slit open and blood pooling out of the wounds listening to soft rock; his suicide note was scribbled in lamentations of his life and a death poem written in tribute to his late girlfriend whom he'd wished to rejoined in the hereafter.
Roger Maxwell II was the next newspaper clipping that I have read and perhaps the last to show a ginger, wearing a red baseball cap similar to Davis' and a blue shirt over his white sweater; the reason why was painfully obvious. Roger came from a broken home filled with strife and turmoil and developed a bold personality, an angry buffoonish cynic who took his anger out on many of his fellow schoolmates like Davis and Cooper. Even with his sister Tillman by his side, their father was better known as the town drunkard whom was once a disillusioned prizefighter that would rarely pay attention to his family at best and was constantly at odds with his domineering wife, Judi at worse. The last argument was not without ending in bloodshed: in a berserk rage, his father killed his mother in a fit of rage a few days short of Halloween on 1990 whom was in turn murdered by his own son whom protected the young girl even to his last breath. Upon the afternoon arrival of an emergency crew, the exhausted Roger collapsed into a deep coma in which left Tillman to be the sole survivor of the Maxwell family; as a result, she has spent her life in orphanage screaming in tears at nightfall as memories of her family resurface.
A newspaper clipping had a girl and she was an African American in a flowing lavender dress with matching headband on top; the name was Lena Trevor and it had rested under. Unlike the others, she was an orphan since the age of one who got adopted by a Caucasian war veteran widower named Bosefiard whom owned a farm where he had spent much of his life in peace; even so, she was an only child just like Cooper. Although naturally beautiful, the constant demand for agricultural necessities had her tending to the fields, rendering any and all interest in boys virtually nonexistent. Out of all the others, she had died in possibly the most horrific way any student of the Academy had: at approximately a hour after sunrise on the summer day of August 10th 1993, Lena had fallen into the path of a malfunctioning combine machine that had gruesomely chopped her body into many pieces leaving most of her head intact as her blood drenched the wheat grass crops. Her father held her decapitated head in his arms screaming and crying uncontrollably in a shock of great insanity, a catalyst that would lead itself into a tainted grain scare that was covered up through a media blackout, but not after succumbing to a fatal heart attack.
I then find a clipping of another boy named Vincent von Vogel, a biracial student with an Ashkenazi father and an Ethiopian mother. Aside from being a descendant of Holocaust survivors on his father's side, he was devout Jew who was inspired by the works of Sarah Silverman and desired to become a comedian and settle down; however, it was kept a secret from his on-and-off strict family whom wanted him to go in the traveling circus business. Unfortunately, he grew up in a time where Klansmen and holocaust deniers alike still showed outright hatred and antagonism towards his family due to his ethnic and religious background; even so, the overseas release of Angel Cop made everything worse. On June 17th 1989 at 12:00 noon shortly before another performance, a bomb exploded in his home, a mixture composed of Cyanide gas and Nitroglycerine, killing him along with his parents as well; ironically, the mad bomber whom was caught, Ron Roland was a rival circus performer whom was also surprisingly had Jewish blood kept a secret involving the fact that he was a war child that his birth mother brought into this world. The following day afterwards, both traveling circuses were disbanded in the light of those unfortunate events pending further investigation at the time.
Just afterwards, the image of another ginger came to me in another clipping this time in a scruffy muscle shirt, a "Gary-Jo Beauregard" was the name. Unlike the others, he was born in the southern parts of Louisiana a scant few minutes from Texas and moved north with his cultured traditional family following the catastrophe of Hurricane Edith when flooding and strong winds destroyed their former home. Despite being a foreigner to the new environment that was subjected to the wintry cold, Gary-Jo hadn't lost touch of his Creole upbringing; even so, he kept wearing the muscle shirt as well year-long. Considered to be the family favorite and the most well-behaved, he was treated with high regard and got high grades; sadly, the kid had never had gotten far. The day before Thanksgiving on the year of 1979, months after my graduation, Gary-Jo gotten into a fatal accident when his father's hunting rifle discharged incorrectly, sending part of a bullet into his eye which had caused massive bleeding; regardless of the paramedics' brave attempts to salvage it, he had died just two minutes before midnight.
Another ginger came along but unlike the other gingers whom were boys, this time it was a girl in a pink blouse and skirt and her name was Melody Leblanc. Though she had shared the same things that Gary-Jo had such as being from a culture traditional family and having ginger hair, she was no stranger to the cold environs of Maine having been from the Franco-Canadian conurbation of Montreal she had grew up in with her overprotective father and overachieving brothers 'til reaching the age of eight. Being somewhat the opposite of Lena, Melody had lived life on a whim despite her body issues at the expense of her short lived friendships; thankfully, she gotten better as she had learned from her mistakes. However, this new found benevolence had come to a suddenly short end just before her twelfth birthday: seconds before the sunset of July 4th 1986, two of her new friends gave her an expensive perfume with the combined fragrance of cinnamon, apples, and maple to celebration; unfortunately, jubilation turned into trepidation when she when into an anaphylactic shock upon use. The pain in her eyes was so great she had not seen where she had fallen two stories high into garbage dumpster, breaking her skull and snapping her neck upon impact.
Out of all the newspaper clipping I had come across there was one that made me look with the most shock of them all: it was my old schoolmate, Seabury Peterson Tobias but everyone called him the Boogeyman because of his costume that was inspiration for the late Michael Jackson's Thriller. Even though I was aware that he had already been dead in the overnight hours of May 13th 1984 at 3:43 AM from a heart attack, from what I had heard from one of my former schoolmates back at the reunion his father ran a discotheque; unfortunately, his death was only when it had been discovered that a large stockpile of drugs were found. Aside from it, he had a laid back personality towards life and a speech impediment that left Boogeyman spouting a non-sequitur or two now and then. Perhaps, some people who rather cite him as the prototypical outcast of the time since the disco genre had passed on, a sharp comparison to the straight and narrow Davis and Cooper at the time.
The next newspaper clipping showed me someone whom looked gravely similar to Cooper's gothic attire: a sharp emerald green mohawk sporting teenager with golden eyes and a leather jacket to boot; to put it simply, his name was Agape Emory. Born Javier Winters, he was constantly described by much of the female populace as a dreamboat and a rebellious bad boy to boot in part of his bold personality that had resembled much of Roger's but with more charisma. A transgender child disowned by his family with a lack of respect for conformity and an unknown past to boot, he was in a punk rock band named "NADLEEH" that hung out every afternoon on their own time rehearsal; one day, a record producer came by and offered Emory and his band a standard pay-or-play contract that they had all accepted. Unfortunately, this hadn't materialized when on the night after Good Friday 1995, an assailant, a supposed rival kidnapped him and tortured him to death with a ballpeen hammer for almost a week; following the end of it, the officers found his body thanks to the decaying stench. Even worse, the man who'd killed Emory was the same person or rather collection of people that had attacked the LGBT community a few years later.
The last of it all treated me to a pair of children, a platinum blond girl with a violet bow in her hair and a dirty blond boy with blue streaks whom appeared to be in their preteens: they were the son and daughter of a Eurasian-American couple. Growing up in an age of change that was otherwise sometimes quashed with sanctioned violence, Yin and Yang were from a foreign land like Melody albeit from the east that was burning red; speaking of which, the two had been battling lymphoma since 1989 just shy of the three year anniversary of their mother's death. Their senile old father had remained to take care of them as they were constantly at home, living out the most of their lives in a small bedroom; but, it seems that they had themselves to rely on no matter how many times they had toyed with each other playfully. Drawing into their minds and each other's as well, they imagined one another to be the heroes of the anime and manga franchises that their father had collected; of course, the fun wouldn't last forever as they had believed. A week before their eleventh birthday, they have collapsed outside the front porch on a cold Christmas Eve afternoon, finally succumbing to the malady that has plagued their very sad and miserable lives.
Finally, it was just it… no more clippings, no more eulogies to the children that never had the chance to grow up. I wasn't sure what Mr. Roberts' motives were when he handed me that yearbook though it is safe to say that he was trying to convey a message that I had received from this experience. For what it was worth, it had me at a loss for words; it was one thing for people to be held back for another year in school but it was also another to be held back by Death itself forevermore. Kinda makes Johnny boy's "Death Be Not Proud" sonnet be brought to in a very different light, doesn't it; as a matter of fact, do you even remember the Grave of the Fireflies? In fact, when I had found a number to reach him by, I tried to call that number only to be redirected to a different number that had belonged to someone named Mr. Marmel.
Ironically, it had brought me to, out of all people in the world to be talking to on the phone, Mr. Marmel himself, yes that Mr. Marmel that had the number; as crazy as it had sounded, he was perhaps a famous guy in the world of American animation. The real kicker was the fact that he had made a television show that was using those characters that one of my children was talking about: it was none other than Yin Yang Yo; the reason why was because of how they had resembled the dead children from before even though they were all anthropomorphic creatures. Then, it had hit me in a way that far in comparison to the time I found out I was unable to have children of my own; I had suddenly made the connection that Elmer Roberts was the one who had made tha show. Even though it was cancelled a few years back because of corporate influence, I had believed that the show had a purpose: in spite of the depressing events in history, it was some odd way of giving closure just to tell a story anyway anyone could; after all, the twins are heroes, Dave's a tree stump, Coop had a girlfriend, Roger Jr. an ogre, Lena's a farmer, Vincent is Vinnie von Growl the circus bear, Melody's a princess, Gary-Jo's a warrior prince, Seabury became The Boogeyman, and even the transvestite became Yuck. As weird as it may have sounded, this shiny happy people that R.E.M. sung about was an sardonic yet well–meaning attempt to give them the lives they never had; even so, Ian David Hislop summed it up as this: "if that's justice, then I'm a banana."
Author's Note: Well, wasn't that fun? Well let's try something else; 'til next time, see you later on into New Years!