Sabotage, Chapter 11

With a dour face, Hank typed an email on his laptop. He had to pause, take a sip of his hot apple cider, and sigh. Right after that moment, a heavy knock sounded at the door. He set down his computer and prepared to face an ongoing nuisance. He seriously doubted that they came to deliver bad news. sure, it was a possibility, but he had a strong hunch that if Carmen got hurt in any way, they would not have the decency to tell him first. He saw the way they kept trying to discredit her in the media, so they would only revel in her destruction. He knew why they were here, and he was willing to put up with it to help bring justice to Carmen.

He answered the door and came to face a young but short woman with dark blonde hair tied back tightly. She had remarkably plain features except for her dark blues, which had a glare that could scare anyone into attention. Hank couldn’t guess her role in Mirage based on her appearance. Her clothes looked as though they could be expensive, however, she did not fit into them very snuggly as the tightness exposed her muffin top. Regardless of her position, he knew she represented those vile snakes from that evil so-called company, so he took pleasure in telling her, “Sorry, no soliciting!”

He relished in the brief emotion she showed at that insult, but as he tried to slam the front door, she stopped it with her foot and sharply informed him, “Actually, Mister Alvaro, I’m Jorden Kasper, head of the Northern California division of Mirage.”

Hank figured that her titled must usually command respect and obedience, but it did not work on him. After all, he dealt with wealthy and glamorous clients all the time. He saw a flicker of annoyance on her face as her ploy didn’t work. Instead of cowering at her presence, he kept cool. Knowing full well why she was there, he decided to tell her, “If you’re interested in real estate development, you’ll have to come back during business hours.”

Once again, she tried to hide her vexed mood. Jorden motioned behind her, and two police officers approached the front porch. “These guys have a warrant. We believe that you have illegal information that I’m here to recover on behalf of our company.”

Hank, in mock politeness, gestured for them to enter. “The passcode for the safe is five one two two.” Jorden came in, scowling fiercely at his impertinence. “Yes?” Hank grinned.

She leered, “You’re hiding confidential information only privy to our people. You have no right to possess it! We’re far more clever than you think! We’ll find what you’re hiding!”

“By all means, Pintamonas, feel free to look for yourself!” Hank invited.

Jorden took him up on his offer. She searched every end of the living room while one officer searched upstairs and the other searched the kitchen and backyard. Jorden checked each nook and cranny-the entertainment center, the couch cushions, even the rug. When she checked under the couch, she gasped. The cat hissed and ran out of the room. Hank chuckled, and she shook her head and maintained a nonchalant attitude. She pat him down, which prompted him to joke, “Hey, Cabrona, I’m a married man!”

She gave him an evil eye and kept searching. She saw a bowl next to the front door where Hank stored a pile of mail. “Of course!” she deduced. “While we were so busy sifting through your electronic communications to find hidden messages, she slipped under the radar and conveyed her status the old fashioned way!”

“Don’t look through that,” Hank said pleasantly. “It’ll  totally waste your time!”

“Ohhhh, you don’t want me to look here!” Jorden practically cackled. She scanned each letter and examined each detail scrupulously. Hank sat down on a chair that faced the front door, kicking back and not bothering to disguise his amusement at her fury. She turned back to see the cat sitting next to him on the arm of his chair wearing a pumpkin sweater. He pet the cat’s unadorned fur and grinned toothily at her. She gritted her teeth and kept foraging for suspicious letters. finally, something caught her eye. “Since when are you friends with Hermione Granger?”

“Don’t read that.” He pretended to be worried. “You won’t be happy.”

Jorden smiled maliciously as she opened the envelope and took a look at the letter. She read out loud, “Nine, apostrophe, thirteen, space, fifteen, fourteen, space, twenty, eight, five space, eight, nine, seven, eight, twenty-three, one, twenty-five, space, twenty fifteen, space, eight, five, twelve, twelve, period. The bottom of the page says seven, fifteen, space, six, twenty-one, three, eleven, space, twenty-five, fifteen, twenty-one, eighteen, nineteen, five, twelve, six. This is an easy encryption to decipher. She thinks she’s so clever! The numbers clearly correspond to their position in the alphabet.” She took a pen off the table and began to translate. “Nine would be I, and thirteen is M. Yup, that’s what she did. The first word is I’m. Let’s see…I’m…on…the…highway…to…” She eagerly anticipated the answer, fully believing it would reveal important information. “I’m on the highway to…hell? Very funny! I bet the bottom of the page is more serious.” She translated the bottom and stood up in anger. “Go fuck yourself!?!”

Hank roared in laughter. “I told you not to look at that! Didn’t I say it would waste your time?”

“Why you-!” She stepped towards him as if she was going to attack him.

Just then, the police officers returned from the kitchen and upstairs. The cat ran into the kitchen, almost tripping the cop. The other officer reported, “We searched every inch of the house. It’s clear.”

Jorden didn’t like hearing this. she ogled Hank, who simply smiled and shrugged. She reluctantly relented, “We’ll come back again another day. He’s hiding something, I know it!” Giving him an angry face, Jorden stormed out. The police indifferently followed.

The cat returned to the living, staring up at Hank, who praised him, “Good boy, Orlando! They have no respect for your prowess, so they underestimated your worth.” He peeked under the sweater and saw the three pieces of Zartex’s papers rolled up into a fine tube. He put the sweater back into place. “Good boy!” He pat Orlando on the head, and the cat seemed pleased.

As Carmen, Garith, and Zartex gingerly scaled down a sandy, pebble-filled hill, Garith discussed, “Okay, let’s go over it one more time. THE VOBS were the company’s sale system?”

“Yes,” Carmen concurred. “But after we got promoted and began to build our teams, they said it would help us with managing a company too. It wasn’t a sale system-they called it the system.”

“Right. So the T stood for turn every corner,” Garith recited. “In sales, it referred to thoroughly working your territory.”

“And in management, it referred to recruiting people from high and low,” Carmen explained. “Sales are a numbers game, but so is recruitment, especially for a job people generally aren’t willing to do.”

Zartex added, “On a corporate level, they turn every corner to find people who escape, as we’ve seen.”

“That’s true!” Garith agreed. “H stood for haste. The quicker you move, the quicker you reach your goals. People forget about a deal if you don’t nab it quickly. And managers will lose recruits to other jobs if they don’t act fast. And corporate wants to grow quickly, of course. If they can get ahead enough, one failure won’t mean that much of a loss. That’s why they were so fast to kill off one of their managers. Find the problems quick. Like escapees, find them fast!”

“E is for envy,” Carmen continued. “They turn sales people into the cool kids on campus so everyone will get jealous of their life. It gets recruits excited for a chance to share the spotlight. They dress sharply and make it look like we did all these fun things to create that insatiable desire to be trendy and fabulous. That’s how they motivated people to stay.”

Zartex stated, “That goes along with V for voracity. They play on people’s greed to get sales and to trick people into thinking they want to get promoted. They got so focused on making lots of money and doing flashy things that their voracity clouded their judgment, which allowed them to heinous things like murder.”

Carmen bitterly commented, “O is optimism. They claim it was to attract positive things by thinking positive. They didn’t want us to think any negative thoughts. So, any negative impulse we had about the job we had to ignore or destroy. They brainwashed us into thinking we were happy. It made us compliant to their whims.”

“B, big picture, did the same sort of thing,” Garith appended. “They talked about delayed gratification, paying now so you can play later. Forget about how miserable you are now, focus on the goals we made for you stemming from greed and envy! It made you forget your identity.”

Zartex finished with, “S is for seize control. That’s the obvious end goal.”

At the bottom of the hill, they came to an expansive lake with a clear view of the mountains on the opposite side. Carmen breathed, “It’s beautiful!”

“Didn’t I tell you that Utah Lake would be a great place to camp out?” Garith remarked.

“I won’t say you were right,” Carmen bickered.

“You don’t have to,” Garith gloated, “not wehen it’s obvious.”

“Who are you bragging to?” Carmen retorted. “There’s no one here that cares.”

“I’m sorry, I won’t be cheerful then,” Garith said sarcastically.

“I don’t have a problem with your cheerfulness!” Carmen argued. “In the last week, I had to deal with failing in sales and running out a doomed marriage. I have to walk to California with company that I didn’t have a choice on! I gotta live like a homeless person to survive while trying to avoid getting killed by hit men! I’m usually hungry and always tired! I’ve had so much go wrong that I don’t need a smug jerk pointing out another reason why I suck at life! So, I’m sorry if I’m a little cranky, but if you know this, why are you purposely making it worse?”

Carmen was clearly fuming, which immediately made Garith uncomfortable. “I’m gonna…I gotta go to the bathroom. There’s no bathroom here, but you know what I mean. I’ll find a tree to hide behind far enough away so that I don’t disturb you…again!” He ran off.

Zartex observed, “You sure scare him when you’re angry!”

Carmen didn’t respond. She sat down and faced the lake. As she gazed at the lake, she felt a little more peaceful. She shifted a little to make herself more comfortable, which made her remember that she had to sleep there. The prospect made her a little more disappointed. She thought about their discussion on THE VOBS and how they had used that on her to trick her into joining their cult. “Why didn’t I see it sooner?”

“See what?” Zartex asked.

“The red flags!” Carmen answered dramatically. “They exaggerated the earning potential, but I ignored this because of the big picture. For once in my life, I felt like a somebody! I thought I closed the chapter on petty, dead end jobs. No one gave me a shot at leadership because I’m an actress and I’m pretty; no one took me seriously! II never cared about management though, I just wanted to make enough money to pay rent so I didn’t have to be an adult dependent on family to survive. I don’t care about making a ton of money, and I’ve never cared about materialistic things. I wanted a circle of friends and a sense of being part of an important team. I wanted to belong somewhere! And I just wanted to prove myself to the world. When I make a goal, I see through it ’til the end. I’m fine closing that chapter of my life, but I just wish I knew what was coming next! So far, this has been a miserable experience, but when it’s over, what’s next? Will it, just be more of my old life of floating from place to place never truly finding my sense of independence or belonging? They say everyone goes through hard times, but my whole life has been this way! Why can’t I just be happy? This job made me give up on my dream, and I gave up on this job too. I’m just an all around failure, aren’t I?” As she said this, tears welled up in her eyes. Suddenly, all of her hurt seemed to surface. All of the hard times that THE VOBS made her bury came out. The sacrifices she made, the heartbreak, the defeat…she didn’t feel it then, but she felt it now!

Carmen buried her head into her knees and sobbed uncontrollably. Zartex noted, “I don’t need to use my emotional reader to know how you feel!” Carmen heard him but did not acknowledge his assessment. She couldn’t. Zartex observed, “I spent my whole career analyzing humans and their emotions, but not once did I learn how to deal with them. I understand you’ve been through more hardship than most people have ever or ever will deal with. This is overwhelming and caused an out pour of emotion. I know all of this, but I don’t know how to make it better. I’ve never had to know. It’s not a requirement of the job to make our subjects feel better, just understand them. I do understand you, but you’re different than my other clients because I actually want to make you feel better! You’re the first subject I’ve ever cared about! I never had an Earthling as a friend. The problem is my species doesn’t process emotions the same way yours does. So, I don’t know how to help you. But I want to, I really do!” Carmen continued to sob, so he made an awkward attempt at comfort by stiffly patting her back and spouting, “There, there!”

She continued to cry as Garith came back. “Oh good! You can show me what to do!” Zartex requested. “You are human and experience these emotions. Help!”

Garith ineptly sat next to her and gracelessly pat her back much like the way Zartex did. He bumbled, “There, there!”

Carmen wailed, “Forget it guys! I’m hopeless!”

Zartex looked to Garith, who quickly analyzed the situation. “What was she saying before it happened?”

“Um…” Zartex thought back. “She wanted to be successful in Mirage because she didn’t succeed in acting or getting a job that pays rent. She gave up on her dreams and she gave up on Mirage too, so now she wonders if the next part of her life will ever make her feel like less of a failure.”

“Okay, I got this!” Garith put his arm around her and rested his hand on her shoulder. “There’s a big difference between giving up and realizing that you’ve had enough. Like, it’s why I stopped getting houseplants. I got busy at work and went straight to bed when I got home. I forgot about it until Fourth of July. I stayed home ’cause it was a holiday, and as I tidied up, I saw it turning yellow. I felt guilty and vowed to bring it back to life. I kept giving it plant food and watered it like crazy, but it just grew more and more brown. One day, I realized that there’s no point in watering something that will never live. when something in your life is over, it’s better to let go ’cause holding onto the past will break your back. Your life will get better as long as you do something different. Doing the same habits will get you the same results. I can’t guarantee success, but at least you can take pride in the fact that you gave a shot. No matter how often you fall, get back up again! Keep trying different things until you succeed. If you don’t give up, at least you can say you did everything you could. If you try, you might fail, however, if you never try at all, failure is guaranteed. You’re not a failure from walking away from an unhappy situation. I’m proud of you for overcoming all you went through and for having the courage to move on!”

Carmen pondered his words for a moment. Mirage always made anyone who gave up on their goals feel lower than dirt, but sometimes important to let yourself fail so you can move on. It’s true that a person can’t focus on new ideas if they stick to the old ones. She still feared perpetual failure, but she knew she wouldn’t stop trying and took some pride on that. This didn’t make her feel optimistic, but she realized that she had stopped crying. Zartex inquired, “How are you feeling?”

“I’m feeling…”Carmen listened to her innermost feelings and heart before she finished her thought. “I’m feeling like I gotta pee!” She had so much mixed emotions that she couldn’t even process it all right now, and she said that without even thinking about it. She had decided that she didn’t have to understand it all tonight. She gingerly got up and headed for the trees. Garith and Zartex high fived, and Garith sprawled out to go to sleep.

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War of the Mystics: Frozen

Attention Readers: the free version of my novel, which I posted a chapter at a time on my blog, is no longer available. However…you can purchase it at Amazon, Barnes and Noble online, Createspace, and eBay. So please, check it out and spread the word!!!

Forgotten Society, Part 1

YEAR 1994.

INT. DRAGON REALM.

It is pitch black. Nothing is seen except for a pair of glossy, reptilian eyes.

GRAND DRAGON:
(in a raspy whisper)
The humans have enslaved themselves
to sin. Even the best behaved ones cannot resist
releasing their dark side. They are animals, far
less intelligent than you and I. They must be
controlled for their own good. Go! Find your
bodies and do what must be done!

INT. SUBWAY. EARLY MORNING.

CURTIS (a young man with auburn hair, blue eyes, and an in-shape physique) waits at an empty subway station. He sits on a bench that has poster advertising a new show “Friends” on the wall. He picks a newspaper with a headline that reads “Serial Killer Sweeps DC Metro area.” A man in a business suit enters and sits on a bench across from Curtis.

BUSINESS MAN:
Did we miss the train?

CURTIS:
Yeah, I think so. Usually when
the station is empty, it means we
have to wait about fifteen minutes
for the next one.

The business man leaves. Curtis shrugs and keeps reading. He hears some lurching from the tunnel. He puts down the newspaper and peers down the tunnel curiously. It almost sounds like something is slithering down there. He shakes off the notion. As he is walking back to the bench, he hears something behind him. He turns around to see a large, green-scaled dragon! The dragon lunges at him, but Curtis weaves out of the way. He tries to run for the exit, but the dragon runs and blocks him. Curtis finds a rusty crowbar and uses it to bash the dragon each time it lunges for him. The dragon manages to break the crowbar with its teeth. Curtis tries to run again, but the dragon pins him down. Curtis shuts his eyes tight thinking he is done for, and suddenly he hears the dragon cry out in pain. He feels the dragon’s limp body fall, and he sees the head roll away. He is confused. He sees a pair of black boots lift the dragon’s claw off of him. He picks himself up and sees MIGUEL (a hispanic man with medium toned skin, eye make up, and sleek black clothing).

MIGUEL:
Are you alright?

CURTIS:
Yes. I mean, no. I must be seeing
things. Was that really…?

MIGUEL:
A dragon? Yes. A predisguised one.

CURTIS:
Huh?

MIGUEL:
He didn’t breath fire on you
because he was going to use
your skin to masquerade as
a human. Yes, there are dragon
men among us.

CURTIS:
Holy crap! Why? Why do they
want to be amongst us?

MIGUEL:
We really don’t have time to
discuss this. We’ve got to get
out of here.

CURTIS:
Are more coming?

MIGUEL:
Yes. Disguised. Come with me to
Crossgrove Hollow and I’ll tell
you everything.

Curtis looks at the still glaring head of the dragon and agrees to go. Miguel leads Curtis out of the subway.

EXT. CROSSGROVE HOLLOW. MORNING.

Crossgrove Hollow is a forest with dense trees, whose shadows give the forest an almost gray hue. Miguel brushes some vines aside, revealing a wooden structure. He leads Curtis inside.

INT. REBEL HIDEOUT. MORNING.

An underground staircase leads them to a small room with earthen walls and very little sunlight. A few people are already here, including WILLIAM (a tall, strong African-American man with rough skin but kind eyes.)

WILLIAM:
Back already? Who’s this?

CURTIS:
My name is Curtis.

WILLIAM:
Curtis what?

CURTIS:
Curtis Stevens.

WILLIAM:
Good to know. We go by last names
here. I’m William, but call me
Washington.

MIGUEL:
Miguel Trebla. I’m the leader of
the Rebels. That girl in the
corner is Smith, that man is Abdul,
and he is Simpson. We go by our
family names because our family
and the love we have for one
another is what seperates us
from the monsters.

CURTIS:
You mean besides looking reptilian?

WILLIAM:
Dragons take human skin and assume
human identities. They’ve walked
amongst us for about ten years now.
Well, that is since the latest siege.
Every thousand years or so, they
come back.

CURTIS:
To kill us? Why do they bother with
the disguise?

MIGUEL:
They’re not trying to kill us. They
are trying to take over the world.
The press hasn’t covered it
because the dragons recently
took over the media. They make them
lie about attacks on humans. They
try to cover it up, like saying
they’re from a serial killer.

CURTIS:
I was just reading an article like
that! They say they got about
twenty people in the metro area!

WILLIAM:
More than that, probably. I used to be
a reporter, and I remember looking at
police reports, wondering why we
weren’t covering these deaths. I
didn’t live through Desert Storm
to become a subject to dragons!

CURTIS:
If the police know what really happened,
than the government should know and
stop them, right?

MIGUEL:
Whatever troops are available are
being used to protect Clinton, which
makes sense-if they took over the US,
it’d be easy to take over the world.

CURTIS:
And that’s why you formed this
rebellion group-to protect the people!

MIGUEL:
Yes. We go out and kill the dragons-disguised
as humans or not. Our group isn’t very
large though because most people feel
safer complying with the dragons-though, of
course, they don’t realize their true nature.
You can tell by the glossy eyes. They’ve
taken over many businesses and residences,
so even though they don’t like the changes,
most people don’t want to abandon their
old life. Which is why I’d understand
if you want to leave…

CURTIS:
You’d let me join?

WILLIAM:
You won’t miss your old life?

CURTIS:
What? Working at a mall kiosk selling
Lion King stuff? Why would I go back
to that when I have an opportunity
to do something important?

MIGUEL:
Thank you! We’re not very powerful,
but we’re the only hope for the world.
I will train you with weapons, though
I’m hardly the best teacher.

CURTIS:
You’re not?

MIGUEL:
Warner was the best, but Warner
gave up on the Rebellion.

CURTIS:
Gave up? How could he give up?

WILLIAM:
We’re not the first Rebellion. They
all gave up eventually.

CURTIS:
I’m not going to give up! I’d rather die
than let something so evil control
our lives!

MIGUEL:
You know what, I think you should
go to Elderberry Bend and see if
you can convince Warner to
come back.

CURTIS:
Me? I would be happy to help,
but why?

MIGUEL:
You’ve got a lot of positive energy.
I think you two would balance each
other out. You can walk to Warner’s
house. Here is the address.

He grabs a scrap of paper and hands it to Curtis.

MIGUEL:
Good luck.

Miguel winks. Curtis finds his task strange but leaves at once.

Temca Academy II, Part 12

EXT. MADAME FATE’S SHOP. AFTERNOON.

Meretrice stands beside Anielle, who has disguised herself with a blonde wig and some high brand clothes.

ANIELLE:
Remember, lead her down the opposite
direction I’m standing. And don’t let her
catch you because she’ll kill you!

MERETRICE:
I know exactly what to do. If I didn’t
know how to escape from people, I’d
get arrested like every day!

ANIELLE:
There’s our cue! Go!

Anielle walks up to Circe.

ANIELLE:
I totally forgot our sales pitch for
those shoes in the window!

CIRCE:
Okay! This high heel is designed for comfort…

Meretrice opens the door to Madame Fate’s shop.

MERETRICE:
Hello, mother! Yes, that’s right. Your
boyfriend killed the wrong person!
And I’m gonna tell everyone what
you did!

Meretrice gets on her broom and flies away. Madame Fate exits the shop and looks around. She sees Circe talking to a blonde woman and pays them no attention. She summons her broom and flies away.

ANIELLE:
(interrupts Circe)
I remember now, thanks!

She rushes to Madame Fate’s shop.

CIRCE:
I love the new hair, by the way!

INT. MADAME FATE’S SHOP. AFTERNOON.

Anielle rushes over to the purple curtain, holding her broom. After she draws the curtain, she sees a deep hole.

ANIELLE:
Joshua, here I come!

She hops on her broom and flies down the tunnel.

EXT. HELL’S GATE. AFTERNOON.

Anielle finds the exit right next to an empty well. The town looks like a western ghost town. A few eccentric Mexicans and a couple of tourists roam the street. Anielle walks up to HOMBRE (a strange, Mexican cowboy).

ANIELLE:
Excusez mey, donde esta la
Puerta del Dominicio?

HOMBRE:
Esta-la.

He points out in the desert. Anielle can see a faint structure in the distance.

ANIELLE:
Gracias.

EXT. HELL DESERT. AFTERNOON.

Anielle flies through the desert, but the winds become so strong that it makes it hard to navigate. Anielle is already feeling the heat. Suddenly, she feels a hand on her shoulder.

TOCI:
Hey, when did you learn Spanish?

ANIELLE:
Don’t do that! You almost gave me
a heart attack!

TOCI:
Sorry! I was on a date with Chad and
I was gonna return these stripper boots,
but Circe told me you went into Madame
Fate’s shop, so I knew what you were
about to do.

ANIELLE:
I didn’t think you’d come.

TOCI:
Were you starting to believe that
stupid prophecy? Silly girl! I’ve
been busy, but I wouldn’t let you
do this alone!

ANIELLE:
Thanks! What did Chad say?

TOCI:
I told him I’m gonna battle a demi
goddess and a master villain in Hell.
Then I ran. I can’t imagine the look
on his face!

ANIELLE:
So, something I’ve been wondering, if
you think sex is so important, why are
you still with Chad?

TOCI:
Because it’s the first time someone respects
me for my mind! So, seriously, you speak
Spanish?

ANIELLE:
Not a lot. Just some basic expressions
I picked up from our maids.

EXT. HELL ENTRANCE. AFTERNOON.

Anielle and Toci land with messed up hair and watery eyes.

TOCI:
That was an ordeal!

ANIELLE:
Oh, I just realized I must’ve dropped
my wig!

GEORGE (OS):
What do you need a wig for?

ANIELLE:
George?

George appears around the side of the cave-like boulder.

TOCI:
Hey! Why don’t you look all
messed up?

GEORGE:
I just flew higher and dove. My
grandfather said that’s how he
got here. Apparently he comes
here once a week to piss on some
dude’s marking he used to know.

ANIELLE:
Marking?

GEORGE:
Sometimes the people who enter here
get their name and their sin carved on
the wall to serve as an example or whatever.

TOCI:
Where’s the door?

GEORGE:
Grandpa said you have to make
payment of some sort.

ANIELLE:
It’s blood.

TOCI:
Why is it blood?

ANIELLE:
It’s always blood! Do you see
a coin slot?

Anielle takes out her scepter and magically cuts a gash on her arm. She flips her arm over so the blood drops onto the rocks. An entrance magically appears. Anielle seals her wound.

TOCI:
(reads a sign above the door)
“Abandon all hope ye who enter here.”
Why would anyone wanna live here?

GEORGE:
Wow, so we’re going to enter Hell. This
is starting to feel like a suicide mission.

ANIELLE:
What choice do we have?

They take a deep breath and enter.

Temca Academy II, Part 11

INT. FAUK CLUB. NIGHT.

The FAUK Club is having a crowded party. Anielle enters arm in arm with Alberto.

ALBERTO:
I knew you’d come crawling to me
one day! It’s impossible to resist me-
I have golden blood!

ANIELLE:
(sarcastic)
A god amongst mortals!

ALBERTO:
You know it, babe!

Anielle looks away from him and rolls her eyes.

ALBERTO:
So, you wanna head upstairs and
succumb to destiny?

ANIELLE:
Uh…buy me a drink first!

ALBERTO:
Be right back, sweetness!

Anielle looks disgusted. A moment later, she sees Meretrice trying to leave while burping up something.

ANIELLE:
Are you okay?

MERETRICE:
I’m fine, just another outburst.
I’m burping up blood.

Anielle sees her blood is orange.

ANIELLE:
Why is your blood orange?
(gasps)
You’re half god! Madame Fate! That’s why
they wanted you dead! This kid they’re trying
to conceive is heir to their non-existent throne!

MERETRICE:
Wait, you think Madame Fate is real? And
she’s my mother?

ANIELLE:
It makes sense! Why else would Babelsama
kill Deirdre? He thought it was you! They
must see you as a threat!

Anielle brings out the vial she took from Toci.

ANIELLE:
Do us all a favor and use this to
seduce Babelsama!

MERETRICE:
Why do you want me to seduce my
supposed stepfather?

ANIELLE:
So he’ll catch your disease!

MERETRICE:
And my apparent mother won’t wanna
have sex with him! Clever! But he won’t
know he has it for three weeks or so.

ANIELLE:
Then in three weeks I’m going to Hell!
Thank you!

Anielle leaves. Alberto comes back with a drink.

ALBERTO:
Where’d she go?

MERETRICE:
I’ll take that!

She puts the potion in the drink and leaves Alberto standing alone, looking confused.

INT. ANIELLE AND TOCI’S ROOM. EVENING.

It is dark and pouring rain. Anielle looks out the window to the FAUK Club.

ANIELLE:
It looks like a bat out of hell. Babelsama
could probably turn into a bat! I can’t
believe Madame Fate is real!

A black cat comes limping over to her window on the brick sill.

ANIELLE:
No, no, no! You go away!

Anielle shuts the window. The cat limps over, sits, and meows pathetically. Anielle takes pity on the animal and lets him in. She uses her wand to dry it.

ANIELLE:
Aw, you broke your paw! I can fix
that. I’m going to be an emergency
healer, you know.

She grabs a vial of potion off her shelf.

ANIELLE:
I usually use this on my friend, George,
after he gets hurt playing broom football.
He’s out getting Spanish lessons right now.
Toci insisted he do that! Toci is my friend too.
She is doing an erotic dance for Chad to seduce
him, but it’ll never work! At least, I think we’re
all still friends. I don’t see them often anymore.
I just hope it’s a coincidence that Madame Fate’s
prediction for me seems to be happening. I wish
my boyfriend, Joshua, were here. He was
kidnapped by Babelsama, Madame Fate’s new
boyfriend. They’re trying to take over the world,
but you know what, I’m not gonna let that happen!
I’m going to Hell to rescue Joshua even if I
gotta go alone!

The cat mews happily.

ANIELLE:
The potion kicked in, I see. I gotta take
a potion now too, for my allergies.
Better make a whole cauldron of it if
you’re gonna stay. I believed in free
will, but now it feels like fate is against me.
Fate is technically against me.

The cat jumps off the bed and makes a bed out of her black and red pom-poms. Anielle laughs.

ANIELLE:
Hey, our mascot is the Black Cats.
Maybe you can be on our squad as
the mascot. I’m gonna name you Scotty!

Anielle sees a picture of Joshua and sighs sadly.

EXT. FAUK CLUB. AFTERNOON.

A stage has been built outside of the FAUK Club. A lot of the members are helping to set it up. Anielle is walking with Meretrice.

MERETRICE:
Toci shouldn’t complain. If she didn’t
want the cat to eat any of her plants,
she should’ve put a protective spell
around them. Especially the cat nip.

ANIELLE:
Thank you! I know she thinks taking
Chad swimming will arouse him, but
he’s gonna look the other way!

Alberto approaches them.

ALBERTO:
Did I hear the word “aroused?”

ANIELLE:
Madame Fate said you’d sleep with
someone famous. You know who’s
gonna be famous? Babelsama!

BLONDE GIRL:
Go away, you unbeliever! We believe!

CROWD:
(chants)
We believe! We believe! We believe!

ANIELLE:
(to Meretrice)
That is it! I’m ending this tonight!
It’s been close enough to three weeks!

MERETRICE:
So, does that mean you have an idea
how to get into Madame Fate’s shop?

ANIELLE:
Yeah. I just got an idea!

Temca Academy II, Part 10

INT. GEOGRAPHY CLASS. MORNING.

Anielle enters the fairly large class with the walls being a giant map. Anielle sees Alberto and a bunch of others staring excitedly out the window. Anielle goes to check it out.

ANIELLE:
What are we looking at?

RED HAIRED GIRL:
Look! They’re giving us a building!

Anielle looks out the window. INTERCUT- a group of wizards constructing a FAUK club building. So far, it looks like a small club house. INTERCUT BACK.

ANIELLE:
Well, at least the DOG House won’t
be the most made fun of building
on campus anymore!

MAN 3:
You were never a believer in the
leader, were you?

ANIELLE:
I think everyone has free will and
you are in the middle of a self-
fulfilling prophecy.

PROFESSOR ERMETES peers out the window.

PROFESSOR ERMETES:
Ah, some new geography to our
campus. How about now we focus
on the lecture I’m going to give?

Everyone starts to return to their seats, giving Anielle dirty looks.

ALBERTO:
You know, this boyfriend of yours is
still missing. You must be…needy…

ANIELLE:
I’d never do it with a stupid FAUK’er!

ALBERTO:
Well, then you’ll be alone forever.

ERMETES:
That’s enough!

Anielle and Alberto sit down.

ERMETES:
You can discuss the leader later
at the meeting tonight. I’m bringing
my macaroon recipe!

Anielle sits down and sighs.

INT. DORM LOUNGE. NIGHT.

Anielle talks to PETER (rigid, jet black hair, square glasses, somber expression) on her laptop.

PETER:
I’m so glad I’ve gotten some free time!
If my Antarctica conference wasn’t
cancelled at the last minute, I’d still
be stuck at the office! Sarah is angry
I keep having to postpone the wedding.
How did your dad manage three marriages.

ANIELLE:
No idea. Why don’t you ask him? Don’t
you work for him?

PETER:
I never see him since I’m always in
my office. If I do see him, he’s too
busy to talk.

ANIELLE:
Yeah, everyone is too busy to talk
to me. I’m glad we stayed in touch!

PETER:
What’s wrong?

ANIELLE:
Well, you probably heard that my
boyfriend was kidnapped.

PETER:
Does the kidnapper know that your
dad cut you off?

ANIELLE:
They’re not asking for a ransom. I have
no idea why he was kidnapped. Every
time I get close to a lead, something
gets in the way.

PETER:
Wow, that sounds tough.

ANIELLE:
And on top of that, there’s this FAUK club-

PETER:
A what club?

ANIELLE:
Future Apprentices of University Kingdom.
Basically, they believe the new President
of Temca Academy will be a glorious new
leader that will spread his ideas all over
the world.

PETER:
Why would they believe that?

ANIELLE:
They believe it cuz a psychic told them
it would happen.

PETER:
How preposterous!

ANIELLE:
Thank you! You’re the only one that
seems to agree with me on that. The
club has been getting stronger and stronger.
They know I’m not a believer, so they treat
me like an outcast. I’m just glad it’s spring
break. With an empty dorm, I don’t have
to be stuck in my room or worry about
people giving me dirty looks in the halls.

PETER:
Aren’t your friends there?

ANIELLE:
No. Toci bought a cruise ticket to try
and seduce her boyfriend, Chad. George
is in Mexico supposedly looking for where
Babelsama ran off to, but I think he’s there
visiting his grandfather and to try to “be
more Mexican.”

PETER:
If he’s trying to find a criminal, he should
try to find a tunnel. Most criminals use
them to try and elude authorities. Let
me check my maps. Yes, there’s an
underground tunnel that goes from the
magical shops in DC to Puerta del Domincio.

ANIELLE:
To where?

PETER:
It’s a small, creepy tourist town in
Mexico. It literally translates to
Hell’s Gate.

Anielle gasps in understanding.

PETER:
But the underground tunnels aren’t
just for criminals. Sure, they disguise
themselves as animals and go undetected,
but they’re going to perfect underground
security soon. The tunnel is also used for-

ANIELLE:
Thanks Peter! You’ve been helpful.

PETER:
Okay, well glad I could help. Well, I
better go. Good luck now!

ANIELLE:
I thought you didn’t believe in luck!

Peter shrugs and signs off.

INT. JOSHUA AND GEORGE’S ROOM. AFTERNOON.

Toci tends to George’s massive sunburn. Anielles sits on Joshua’s empty bed.

GEORGE:
Yeah, my grandfather said he used
the DDD Tunnel to get to America.
I tried to travel there, but it hurt to
fly with these sunburns.

TOCI:
So, you sunbathed nude cuz you
thought you’d get tan enough to
look more Mexican?

GEORGE:
It’s not like I spent a thousand pieces
on a cruise to seduce a virgin! Which
didn’t even work! Close as you got was
him behind you in a conga line!

ANIELLE:
Thanks for asking about my spring break,
by the way! I did learn something important
actually. I think I know where Babelsama
is hiding out. He lives in Hell. The tunnel
must go to Madame Fate’s shop. If we take
that tunnel, we can go to Puerta del Dominicio
and rescue Joshua, who is literally in Hell!

GEORGE:
So, you want to break into Madame Fate’s
shop, go to Hell, and battle Babelsama
plus whatever demon he has working for him?

ANIELLE:
I’m not gonna go without a plan. Babelsama
can be outsmarted. The hardest part will be
breaking into Madame Fate’s shop.

TOCI:
Man, this would be a kick ass action
movie if weren’t full of stupid people!

Circe stumbles in, drunk, and falls face first into the room.

CIRCE:
Sorry! I thought this was this hot guy
I met at the FAUK party! Oops, they
don’t like it when I say that!
(to Anielle)
Do I know you?

ANIELLE:
No.

CIRCE:
Okay. Bye byeeeee!

She walks away. A crash is heard from a distance.

TOCI:
Look, before you go to Hell, find a way
for Babelsama to stop having sex. He must
be seducing someone at that party. It’s not
fair! That evil vato gets to score and I don’t!
That’s it! I’m gonna do it!

Toci brings a vial out of her pocket.

TOCI:
I’m putting this in his drink and
I’m having my way with him!

Anielle takes the vial away.

ANIELLE:
Will you stop thinking about sex
for one minute! Just think about
getting into that party.

GEORGE:
Are you lock-o? No one there
likes you!

ANIELLE:
Actually, one person does…

Temca Academy II, Part 9

INT. CONFERENCE HALL. AFTERNOON.

Anielle, George, and Toci are dressed in business wear and scan the hall. A group of extremely attractive men walk by, which gets the girls’ attention.

ANIELLE:
Wow, if something happens to Joshua,
I know where I’m finding my next man!

GEORGE:
You shouldn’t look at other guys.

ANIELLE:
Why not? It’s not like a have a ring
on my finger!

Toci chokes on her drink.

GEORGE:
K pass-o?

Another group of hot guys walk by.

TOCI:
Man, it must be some kind of hot
guy convention!

GEORGE:
No way! I would’ve been invited
to that!

A group of guys stop for pictures.

GEORGE:
It’s not fair! I’m attractive, so why
won’t they invite me to their convention?

MAN 2:
You wanna come?

GEORGE:
Finally!

George leaves with them. Meretrice approaches them looking messy and physically exhausted.

MERETRICE:
Whew! So many boys, so little time!

Toci grumbles jealously.

ANIELLE:
I’ll bet with that hot guy convention!

MERETRICE:
You mean the Gayzard convention?
You know, gay wizards conference?

Toci and Anielle burst out laughing. Anielle immediately stops laughing when she sees Babelsama in the crowd. Babelsama sees her too and runs away in a panic. Anielle follows him.

INT. CONFERENCE ROOM. AFTERNOON.

Anielle runs into the room, but Babelsama is nowhere in sight. The room is expansive and pretty packed.

TOCI:
Did you lose him?

ANIELLE:
No, I found him and captured him.
I think he’s gonna make a speech soon.

George appears looking ticked off. Toci and Anielle snicker.

GEORGE:
You did that on purpose!

TOCI:
We could not have planned something
so hilarious!

Babelsama comes on stage, and the crowd becomes quiet and pays attention.

BABELSAMA:
Welcome to the FLA. I was invited here
by the Future Apprentices of University
Kingdom.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:
The FAUK?

BABELSAMA:
No, don’t call it that! Anyways, I wanted
to share with you my ideas for how to run
a university or even run a country more
efficiently. Now, I think it’s only fair the
hardest working people obtain the greatest
reward, and people who do nothing should
be punished. We cannot remain passive. One
should always strive for more and more. Loyalty
is important. The more people work for the leader,
the better their lives should be. If he’s a good leader,
and someone does not follow him, they should be
severely punished!

The crowd agrees with him. Babelsama looks directly at George, Toci, and Anielle, who glare at him. He turns back to the crowd.

BABELSAMA:
If elected university president, I would make
several important changes. We’d start with the
budget. I’d cut…

A paper airplane lands by him. He reads it and frowns profusely.

BABELSAMA:
I’m sorry but my girlfriend just
miscarried. I’ll finish this speech
another time!

He tries to leave but Anielle binds him. The crowd looks at her like she is insane.

ANIELLE:
This man is a murder suspect!

BABELSAMA:
It was self defense! Please, let me go
to my girlfriend!

The crowd gets angry and helps him up. As he leaves, a peace officer comes and arrests Anielle.

INT. WITCHES PRISON. EVENING.

Anielle sits in a corner alone. A few other women are in the small, dingy room with her but pay her no attention. A pink force field acts as a door. Some guards approach and Anielle looks hopeful. They throw someone in and leave. Anielle hangs her head in disappointment.

MERETRICE:
Never thought I’d share a cell with you!

ANIELLE:
Meretrice? Why are you here?

MERETRICE:
Why do you think? It happens every
few months or so. I stay a few days
and go back out. Never been to Arizona’s
Witches Prison though. Theirs is nicer.

ANIELLE:
This is nice?

MERETRICE:
Not as nice as the one in England though.
Theirs is the best. Well, that’s what I’m told.
Deirdre was originally from there. She would
go back and visit her cousinoccasionally. She was
so lucky to have family. I always wondered how
someone could abandon a baby.

ANIELLE:
Family is overrated sometimes. My mom
lives in Canada with her husband. Both of
them are too busy partying to really pay
attention to me or my sister. Leila and I
got disowned by our father because the
men and career choices we picked weren’t
approved by Neiman.

MERETRICE:
My foster parents never approved of my
career choice either. We’re a lot alike,
except your best friends are still here.

ANIELLE:
Some best friends! Where were they when
I was being arrested? Why haven’t they
bailed me out? I keep thinking about what
Madame Fate said-your friends will abandon you.

MERETRICE:
That’s not very nice. Most psychics tell
people good things so they’ll come back
and say nice things again.

ANIELLE:
She works for Babelsama.

MERETRICE:
Well then, why would you give any
merit to what she says? Anyways,
if you wanna get bailed out, I got
plenty of cash.

ANIELLE:
Thanks. But you’ll be coming back to
campus, right?

MERETRICE:
Uh huh! I usually don’t sleep with men
so attractive and young, so this has been nice!

INT. ANIELLE AND TOCI’S ROOM. NIGHT.

Anielle is on her laptop and pouts. Toci enters and is surprised to see Anielle.

TOCI:
Oh, you’re here! So, they let you out
of jail?

ANIELLE:
Meretrice bailed me out. Thanks for
all of your help!

TOCI:
We were following Babelsama! He flew
to Mexico.

ANIELLE:
Mexico? But, he’s been all his time here.
If he has a girlfriend he knocked up, she
should be here. One of these days we gotta
disguise ourselves and just follow him all day.

George passes by.

TOCI:
George, come here!

George enters.

GEORGE:
What?

TOCI:
I have an idea of why Chad doesn’t
want a piece of this.

ANIELLE:
Oh, here we go…

TOCI:
Maybe he’s gay!

GEORGE:
I don’t think he’s gay. Guys in denial
still act like gay guys.

TOCI:
But I wanna make sure. So, I want you
to go with us on our date tomorrow
and at the end of the night, ask if you
wanna do a threesome.

GEORGE:
Absolutely not! I love you, Toci, but
in a platonic way. I never risk friendships
for a booty call…anymore.

TOCI:
We’re not really gonna do it! I just
wanna see if he likes the idea. If he’s
gay, he’d love to experiment with you.
but if he does go for it, I’ll take his
virginity and we’ll both leave!

ANIELLE:
Your schemes are getting more and more
senseless by the minute!

TOCI:
Please George! I don’t ask for a lot of
favors!

GEORGE:
Fine! But you’ll have to buy me a
lot of drinks first!

George leaves.

TOCI:
What’s wrong, Anielle? Normally
you get a big kick out of this.

ANIELLE:
I have more important things on my
mind. Believe it or not, I don’t view
your sex life as top priority.

TOCI:
You miss Joshua, don’t you?

ANIELLE:
Of course I miss Joshua! I miss the way he
made me feel about myself. He made me
feel truly wanted. And I miss his sweet little
comments and his passionate kisses. Sure, he’d
drive me crazy sometimes, but I even miss that.
I miss the petty arguments we’d get into. I
remember a lot of times we’d lie in bed
together and he’d let out a huge fart, so I’d
kick him out of bed. I miss his smelly farts!

TOCI:
You miss his farts?!? Wow, you must
really love him!

ANIELLE:
I do. But I’m not just thinking about that.
It drives me crazy that Babelsama is so
close and we have no idea what he gets up
to! What did Joshua’s clue mean? I keep
wondering why they kidnapped him instead
of murdering him. I’m grateful he’s alive, don’t
get me wrong, but why would they keep him
around? Sometimes I fear that Madame Fate
will turn out to be right about me becoming
a crazy cat lady!

TOCI:
Oh, if you want to get a cat, there’s a
potion recipe for allergies on page
seventy two of my household cure book.

ANIELLE:
And there’s Toci with the big picture!

TOCI:
Look on the bright side-classes resume
tomorrow! Aren’t you excited about
what you may learn?

Anielle rolls her eyes and closes her laptop. She leaves the room with her toothbrush and a cup of tooth polish potion.

TOCI:
She really needs to get laid!