Friday, September 11, 2009

Nicky Weird's Summer Vacation

Note: This is an entry into this week's Friday Challenge. The assignment: "What I Did on my Summer Vacation only make up something cool."


Thirty years ago, an evil sorcerer cast a spell on the Earth. Under it's influence, humans can no longer recognize magic; vampire slayings become "teen runaways," magical storms and disasters are "freak unseasonal storms." Even history isn't immune; show a human a picture of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, with the wizard robes and auto-writing quills moving, and they'll see a bunch of stuffy white men in the style of the 1700s standing around, powdered wigs and all.

Magic just doesn't register on human senses, and even if it does, it's instantly rationalized away.

But there was a glitch in the spell, a mis-spoken word in a long forgotten language...a loophole, if you will, in a spell that was supposed to be eternal law.

The spell only works on adults.

And so, the future of the world lies in the hands of children, like Nicky Ward, who try to fight the demons and vampires as best they can, hoping that some day, the spell will break...

Dear Mom and Dad,

...yeah, I know, when you read this, you'll see "I'm having a lot of fun on my summer vacation!" instead of what I'm really writing...

I'm really glad you agreed to let me come down to Florida with my Guardian group--um, I mean, my "church youth group." The bus ride down was nice and quiet; we had a close pass from a Kansas storm demon. The bus driver called it a small tornado, and we parked under an overpass until it went by. Good thing storm demons are stupid.

Once we got here, we hooked up with the local Guardian club, and started sharing notes. That's really big with the Guardians, you know. When you're twelve and decide to hunt vampires for a living, you've got a life expectancy of maybe six months. If we didn't get to be neurotic about writing down everything we know and sharing copies with everyone we know, then no one would remember how to go about killing vampires and demons, you know?

So, once all the braindraining was out of the way, we helped the local group clear out a vampire nest in the swamp. Bright sunshine, couple of kids go inside and make sure the coffins are full while the rest of the team pours gasoline on the outside...if you're really lucky, the coffins are bonfires before the bloodsuckers are done wiping the sleep out of their eyes...

...we weren't lucky. We lost two, both local kids, and they said we burned up at least six or seven vampires when the plantation went up. Some people might be happy with those numbers, but they can crank out new vampires by just biting someone, and we have to teach even more kids everything we know about staying alive...doesn't seem like a fair trade to me.

After that, we celebrated with carbonated cider, if you can call it a celebration and not a wake.

We spent the next two weeks researching some pretty gruesome murders. Finally, Jim hit on it; it was some kind of possessed-alligator-half-human-half-swamp monster...thing. Dunno, we never really had a name for it. It had an appetite for small pets, but when the supply of Yorkiesnacks ran out, it moved on to the main course--people.

We cornered it in an old warehouse downtown, and Jim hit it with a de-possession spell he found a couple of months ago. It worked; the thing turned into a two-foot long normal alligator, except that it was purple, and one of the local kids was going to keep it as a pet. At least we didn't lose anyone this time, though Bobby will be bringing home a big ugly scar on his leg.

Unfortunately, Jim messed up the spell, and his hair turned white. You get that when you try to do magic without years and years of training. He told me about a friend of his last year who tried to use a spell to burn up a trio of bloodsuckers--but stumbled over one of the magic words and melted into a puddle of goo, instead.

Jim said the worst part was hearing the voice from the bucket when they took the goo back to HQ, but I don't know if he was kidding or not. Jim's like that.

Tomorrow, we're going to try to chase down a possible were-something or other near Miami Beach. The adults think we're doing a community service project, and we're actually going to do some painting on an old house as a cover while Mitch sets up his wolfsbane trap.

Tonight, though, we're going to try to have a barbecue on the beach, if the storm demons will leave us alone. Seems like the hurricanes move in every time we light the bonfire.

We'll be hopping on the bus to head home in time for school next weekend, and I'll see you then.

Yeah, yeah, I know, that last sentence is probably the only one that will get through to your brain...that's okay, though.

Your daughter...


Okay, a quick overview/introduction on this one.

I'm fascinated by this character because she defines herself.

I came up with this ridiculous, bizarre, black-humor story, "The Night of the Inflateables," where a kid's Halloween/birthday wish turns balloon animals in a mall into vicious monsters. The lead character, Nicky Ward, sets out to protect the people and kill the balloons; the fight spills out into the mall parking lot, where the inflated Sumo wrestler in front of the auto dealer next to the mall is wreaking havoc in the parking lot...

I hadn't even finished my notes for the story when the character of Nicky started letting me know who she was. And the one biggest character trait...was *jaded*. She's thirteen years old, but talks and acts like she's been doing this for a really long time. That one factoid led into the definition of the world she lives in--and sparked the ideas for more than a dozen (so far) short stories, chronicling her life from about age 10 to 18. Three stories are half done, some of the rest are nothing more than one-sentence ideas; I've also got notes on at least a half-dozen supporting characters...

So, when Bruce asked for "what did you do on your summer vacation," my brain threw a "...Nicky Weird?" on the end of the sentence, and this is what came out.

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