Wow, I cant believe I’m 32k word in. This has been a very exhilarating experience for me. It’s also been frustrating and stressful too, but it has certainly helped me push along a story that has been in the back of my head for years. The genesis of this came about around 2009 after the publication of my first book, “Resurrection Diaries”, when I was wanting to continue in the whole ghost story genre. I had jotted down my basic idea of kids killed in a bus crash and coming back as ghosts, but then I set it aside in favor of another ghost tale called, “Advocate For The Dead”, which I plan to serialize here next year. So anyway, I guess better late than never. It’s always good advice not to throw anything out. If you have an idea, and you’re stuck on how to present it, set it on the shelf awhile. Eventually, the story will come to you.
So anyway, as I move along in the first draft of this, I’m already realizing some things at the beginning need to be fixed if its all going to work. I’m seeing minor details that either don’t fit or need clarification. The beginning sequence has something that screams at me to re-edit, but I have to keep myself moving forward and not going backwards to fix things. I suppose thats what a second draft is for, huh? So, if you have been following this from the beginning, and you see something that seems out of sync with something that went on before, or just doesn’t make sense to you, feel free to bring it to my attention. As I said, I’ve run across stuff already, but I’m really trying to stay focused not on details, but the story, on this first go around. I’ll take a look at anything readers may suggest, and I do enjoy interacting with those who may take an interest in my stories, so drop me a line in the comments 🙂
If you’re just joining me here, then let me just say the following chapter is the half way mark. If you need to backtrack, the menu item at the top of the page for NaNoWriMo 2016 will take you to the main page for this project, where you can start from the beginning at the link for Day 1. Alright enough jibber jabbing, let’s have the story, shall we?
Time Of Our Death
By Paul D Aronson
When we entered the Guidance Counselor’s office, I don’t know what the bigger surprise was: the fact the lobby area was packed with students, or that we could hear a girl angrily screaming from behind the office door itself. I looked at Donald, and we both went through the wall to see what was going on.
A preppy red haired girl standing in front of the desk demanded that someone be suspended. The guidance counselor was sitting uncomfortably behind the desk, holding her hands out to try and calm the girl down. Beside the screaming ginger sat a boy. I knew him from the smoking block, though his name escaped me. “I didn’t do anything,” he protested. His voice was slurred, so I knew the poor guy was buzzing. What a high killer the distraught girl must be. It wasn’t until she turned around before I realized just how true that was. I should have known her from the Pat Benatar hairstyle and the way she shifted impatiently from one foot to the other, waiting to get her way.
Abby Hayes had never noticed me when I was a resident of Nerdsville. But over the summer, when I’d changed my look and returned to school, she took greater interest. It was no secret she had a thing for long haired boys, and when she approached me with her attractive swagger, I thought I was the luckiest guy on the planet. And when she told me that the Cinderella song, “Nobody’s Fool” turned her on, she had me on her hook. We dated for several months, and though a gentleman should never tell what base he made it to, I can honestly say I got stranded somewhere between third and home plate. And when she realized I wasn’t some new kid who’d transferred and instead had been one of the geekiest kids in school, she dropped me quicker than you can say, I just died in your stupid freaking arms tonight. The worst part had been how she did it. She couldn’t just call me and say, hey loser, I want to break up. No, she waited for a school assembly, when the entire student body was present, and then had one of her friends, class president wannabe Ray Stolz announce from the podium that I would always be a nerd no matter how much I tried to change my look, I didn’t take a bath every day (a lie), and that kissing me was like kissing your little brother…gross. Furthermore, she wanted everyone to know we were broke up. It was the single most embarrassing day of my whole life. Now however, as she stood red faced, shaking and crying to the guidance counselor, she didn’t seem so pleased. Whatever this stoner boy had done, it had pissed her off to no end.
Just then, the office door opened and two teachers came striding in. “The principal will be here in a moment. There’s some kind of commotion elsewhere he had to deal with first, but he’ll be here soon.”
“Soon?” Abby declared. “He needs to take care of this now, and suspend this pothead. My mom is on the school board and she’ll fire every last one of you.”
The other teacher spoke up. “Miss Hayes, we sympathize with you, but we don’t believe this boy has done what you have accused him of.” He looked at the Guidance Counselor. “Mrs. Staley, it’s not just in their classroom. It’s in ALL the classrooms on this floor.”
“What?!” Abby screamed. “No, no , no!”
She looked like she was going to choke somebody. Donald looked at me. “This I have got to see.”
We both passed through the walls to the nearest classroom. It was easy to see what she was so upset about. In the first classroom, someone had written in big letters on the chalkboard, “Abby Hayes is a heartless bitch.”
We both couldn’t help but laugh, as most of the other kids were already doing. We went though the wall and into the next classroom to discover the scene was the scene. Giggling students pointing at the chalkboard where the offending sentence spelled out “Abby Hayes is a heartless bitch” as if you were supposed to memorize it for a test.
“Come on,” Donald yelled, and in childish excitement we checked out the next class. Here , the teacher had tried to erase the board, but the message had appeared on the window as well, making sure everyone got the point about my red headed nightmare. “This is great!” Don exclaimed, and I agreed.This was the best thing to happen at school in years.
We dashed out into the hall, and ran down it length, popping our heads through walls to confront the same scene over and over again. If there were a soundtrack to this time, it probably would have been playing Motley Crue’s ‘Wild Side’ as we jaunted happily between rooms, grinning and laughing the whole time. Donald himself threatened to fall over in hysterics, while my nonexistent stomach was starting to hurt.
Running from room to room, and judging by students reactions to the chalkboard message, Abby wasn’t half as liked as she thought. This made me feel better and a bit justified. After rolling through most of the classrooms on the first floor, we were feeling a bit mischievous ourselves and began adding our own variations ourselves. Don picked up the chalk and scrawled, “and she stuffs her bra,” while I couldn’t help adding, “she smells funny.”
In the last class, we encountered an angry teacher who kept frantically erasing the board, only to find the original message return time and time again, every time he turned around. He would have really been furious if he could have seen Lori standing there scrawling it across the board with apparent glee each time.
“Hi guys,” she said, seeing us standing at the back of the room. She held the chalk up in her hand. “What do you think?”
I smiled. “I like it. A lot.”
She winked and dropped the chalk in the floor , which made everyone jump. I imagine everyone would be talking about this day and the floating chalk that wrote on the board all by itself.
“Did you get tired of raiding the locker room?”
She grinned lecherously. “There’s only so many sweaty boy butts you can slap before you realize it’s not as fun as you thought it would be. Of course, Kelly went from slapping to grabbing, so at least she mixed it up.”
“Where is she now?”
“She and Brian went to the cafeteria to start a food fight.”
“Awesome,” admired Donald. “Let’s go!”
Lori looked back at the chalkboard. “I hope you didn’t mind, Chris. I just wanted to do something nice for you.”
I held my hand up for a high five. She slapped it with her own. “It’s very nice,” I told her. “Thank you.” She smiled, and for a moment I thought she believed she was still in the locker room, because her hand came so close to slapping me on the ass, I could almost feel the air moving between us.
The three of us danced happily out into the hall, and made the dash for the cafeteria. Still that damned Crue song played in my head.
The cafeteria was pure chaos. It was apparent when it came to stirring up trouble, Brian and Kelly were masters of the game. Food was flying everywhere, across tables, into faces, onto walls. The few teachers there were trying to restore order and failing at it big time. One teacher’s suit was covered in what I could only assume had been spaghetti sauce. Students were running around each other, dodging edible projectiles as much as they could, but every kid in the place wore evidence of the fight.
I spied Brian behind the serving line. He had a spatula in one hand, a large soup spoon in the other , and was flinging food long range into unsuspecting faces. On his face was a smile that best termed as maniacal, caught somewhere between the Lost Boys and The joker in the Batman comics. A few students had noticed the spatula and spoon just floating in the air, and moving of their own accord, but seemed unfazed by it, as if it was the most natural thing ever. I guess in chaos, ghosts reign supreme, and nothing is unusual.
Kelly was standing on top of one of the cafeteria tables and prancing across it like some kind of dance hall girl in an old western movie. The scene did resemble a saloon brawl, with food, and even fists flying. She danced over top three prep boys who were trying to rub spaghetti into another boys hair. Her dress flew wild about her, and if she had been alive, and they had been looking up, they could have stared right into Christmas.
I turned to look at my companions but they were gone and joining in the melee. Donald was probably exacting some form of revenge when he pulled chairs out from under some of the girls, who would fall on their butts, sprawling o0n the floor. Their friends would point and laugh, before it too happened to them. It was nice to see this big shit eating grin across Don’s face. It had to be the most fun he’d had in a very long time.
Lori had decided to hone her marketing skills by taking over the lunch menu sign, a huge erasable board that hung over the serving line. With a black magic marker she had kept with the Abby Hayes insults, and scrawled, “Abby Hayes doesn’t wash her panties” in big capital letters. I thought I would fall over laughing. Part of me wondered that if as much as her name had been mentioned around school, if when this was all over, she would get the blame for it. That would be awesome, to say the least.
A new round of teachers, came filing into the cafeteria in a furious attempt to restore order. Shouting at students, clutching at others, they tried to get the kids back in their seats, but as most of the seats were covered in food, that was proving difficult. A teacher walked by the table where Kelly was now trying to moonwalk across, and she dumped an open carton of milk on his head. When he spun around to grasp the offender, his hands went right through her legs and he flipped over the table. She slapped his butt with her hand, then looked at her palm as if to scold it for putting itself on some old dude.
This whole time I felt like I’d done nothing, but stand there like mute witness to the Battle of Endor. But when Abby came rushing in, accompanied by the two teachers from the Guidance Counselor’s office, I couldn’t help but dump a tray of spaghetti over her head. I topped it off with a cup of cole slaw down her top, and truly felt like karma had finally come around. I told myself no matter what else happened today, this had to be the crowning moment to overshadow all others. To see her crying and screaming hysterically was priceless. Death was good.
Lori came running over to me. “Good job, Chris!” She commended. “You’re a true rock and roll animal now!”
A voice came over the school’s intercom demanding that order be restored or police would be called. This seemed to get through a large number of the student’ s heads, and people dropped food where they were, and acted like they hadn’t been doing anything disruptive. Two boys who had been fist fighting suddenly stopped and hugged each other, as if they were long lost friends. As things calmed down further, even some of the teachers laughed nervously at the mess. Brian and Kelly abandoned their stations and stepped through tables and students alike to join us. Donald was the last to give up the game, as he flung one last handful of Jello at teacher’s aide, Mr. Mathers, whom we called Inch Eye Private Eye, due to the fact he was shorter than most students.
Laughing louder than he ever had before, it seemed the punk rock mantra of search and destroy had come about face and was ready to relax. “Whew! What a rush!” He said , as he breathlessly came up along side us. “We should have done that sooner.”
“Damn straight,” Brian replied, and for a moment I thought they were going to high five each other, but I guess Brian remembered it was Donald and lowered his hand, jerking it away. “Psyche.”
Kelly let out a laugh, and then it went away as she saw someone she knew. “Janet Cale,” she spat in the direction of a blonde girl whose hair was so poofy and high, you’d think she was one of those singer chicks from The B-52’s. “Bitch didn’t return my Richard Marx shirt.” She stalked off towards her for one last act of revenge.
Brian looked at us. “Alright, so what next?” He looked like he was just getting started. “Want to go mess with the middle schoolers? Give them a taste of high school life?”
“Oh shit, “ Lori said. “I forgot Dawn. I need to check on her. Make sure she’s okay.”
“Do you think she’s at the school?”
“I can’t see mom keeping her home from school.”
Brian clapped his hands. “Cool! Then Middle School it is.”
“I just want to check on my sister.”
“You go ahead. I’m ready for another food fight.”
“We’re with you Lori, “ Donald said. “Let’s go find Dawn.”
She looked to me for confirmation, as Kelly rejoined us, looking smug and satisfied. “Let’s go find Dawn,” I agreed.
As the five of us left the recovering confusion of Murray Senior High School, I looked back as if it was the last time I would ever grace those halls. Perhaps this had been our last hurrah before it all came to a close.