Bad Page 3
What I have today for all you excited legions of Are You Afraid of the Dark? fans is some more of that backstory!!! Unfortunately, it's still not the story of how Gary met David.
I did start writing more Bad Pages for the two boys I've boldly claimed are "best friends" . . . but I couldn't seem to get them to run into each other. And then during yet another scene in which David finds himself alone, who should walk in but . . . Well, I guess I should let you find out for yourself. =)
Oh, what am I talking about? The other character's name is in the bloody title. =P So much for the element of surprise . . .
Frank's First Tale
An Are You Afraid of the Dark? Fan Fic
It was nearly midnight and David had been sitting in the old tower room, in nearly pitch black darkness, for over two hours . . . but it was no use. He had hoped the setting would provide some inspiration--being a hundred-year-old bell tower that survived a church fire, only to become the scene of an unsolved death years later. But all he had been thinking about all night was the folktale about the boy who didn't know how to shiver. That boy, too, had spent the night in a supposedly haunted tower without once getting spooked.
Just when David thought he'd have to give up and find a girlfriend to teach him the true meaning of fear, he heard a noise.
Someone else had opened the tower door and was noisily scraping his way up the stairs. Make that several someones, David realised--and from the sound of it, several really clumsy someones. He backed into the corner furthest from both the door and the faint moonlight from the single window, and sank to the floor. Hunching over and bringing his knees up to his face, he pulled the hood of his black jersey low over his forehead and his sleeves over his hands. He was more curious than scared--but he also didn't care to be seen.
Three boys burst through the door then, two of them holding onto a third, who was blindfolded and gagged. As the boy on the left shrugged off his backpack and started unzipping it, the boy on the right went for the chair against the wall. It had been the only piece of furniture in the tower room when David had arrived--a fact he had found odd but not really interesting. Now he guessed that the two other boys, now tying their companion to it with rope from the backpack, had brought it there for nights such as this.
"Not so tight!" one of the boys whispered. "You're cutting off his circulation."
"Shut up, Frank!" the other boy said. "You're just here for the story."
The boy bound to the chair breathed raggedly but did not move.
Over these sounds David heard another set of footfalls on the stairs. They were heavy but purposeful, and as they neared, the first two boys stepped away from the chair to flank the doorway, giving David a decent view of the fourth boy to join him in the tower room.
"Are you ready, Frank?" the newcomer asked.
The boy named Frank nodded.
"Then tell David what happened when we brought you here last year."
David tensed up at the sound of his name, before realising that they had meant the boy in the chair. As he allowed himself to relax a little, Frank began the tale.
"Everyone in town knows about the body that was found here fifty years ago, but nobody knows who did it . . . or why . . . The police couldn't even identify the dead man and had to bury him in an unmarked grave . . . Then the whole town just forgot about him . . . and forgot about this tower . . . But the man . . . he could never forget . . . He told me himself, in this same room, one year ago today."
The boy in the chair had gone very still except for the rapid rise and fall of his chest.
"I'd been alone for an hour," Frank continued, "when I heard the knock on the door. It almost gave me a heart attack. I hadn't heard anyone come up the stairs, but suddenly someone was there. And he wanted in . . .
"I yelled at him to leave me alone, but he didn't want to leave. He told me his name . . . told me he had died here . . . said he had come to warn me . . . He said that he didn't die because someone had killed him, but because something had scared him. And the thing that did it was still in here, he said . . . It was in here with me."
David realised he had been holding his breath and made himself start breathing again.
"By that point, I thought it was some of the guys again, playing a joke. So I opened the door, ready to punch them in the face . . . But there was no one out there . . . Then I heard another noise, this time from behind me . . . I turned around, to try to see what it was . . . and that was when he grabbed me, and spun me around again.
"I saw him then, and I'll never forget it . . . He was really skinny . . . and really tall . . . And he was saying over and over, 'Don't look at it! Don't look!' . . . He was looking straight at me, but his hair was hanging down over his--"
Frank paused then, and took a deep breath before continuing.
"He just kept saying, 'Don't look at it! Whatever you do, don't look!' . . . I tried shaking him off, and when that didn't work, I punched him in the mouth. It made his head snap back, so his hair flipped away from his face . . . And that was when I saw . . . He had no eyes . . . There were just these black holes in his head. I screamed and covered my eyes . . . And that was when he just . . . went away.
"I don't know what made me keep my eyes closed, but I didn't peek once. I felt around for the door, opened it, and got the hell out of there. It's amazing I didn't break my neck on the stairs.
"Since I didn't last the whole night, I almost didn't make the gang. It hadn't happened to anyone else, so no one believed it happened to me. But someone else spoke up then . . . said it had happened to him, too--that he had fallen while trying to run away and knocked himself out until morning. He hadn't told anyone because he didn't think they'd believe him . . . Then he said he thinks it happened to us because we were the only ones there on the same date . . . the dead man's death anniversary."
The last five words hung in the air for a long moment, before Frank added, "Now you know what the blindfold is for. If you can't see it, it can't hurt you."
Then David saw a flash of white teeth. Frank was smiling, and silently bumping fists with his two friends. But no one said anything more as they left the room and closed the door behind them. David tracked the sound of their footsteps growing fainter as they got farther away.
He knew it was time for him to leave, too--but he hoped to do it silently and not scare the blindfolded boy further. The old floor had other ideas, creaking under his feet as he tiptoed along. At the first sound, the boy in the chair started jerking against the ropes then and screaming against the gag over his mouth. David felt truly sorry for him, but knew he couldn't possibly reveal the truth. As he pulled the squeaky door open, the other boy began to thrash so violently that he nearly knocked over his chair. Knowing there was nothing he could do, David just closed the door behind him and made his own way out into the night.
That evening in the tower may not have given him a new scary story for the next Midnight Society meeting--but if all went well, he'd have a new member for them. It had been, he told himself, a very good night.
The Bad Pages keep getting worse and worse, don't they? LOL! If I thought action scenes were hard to write, that was because I never had to get a character to do exposition . . . until now. =P Heck, the show itself is all about one character telling a story to the other characters, and even its writers knew to keep exposition to the barest minimum.
I've found that the more I write, the more I want to find a good beta reader to tell me exactly what needs fixing. A few days ago, I went through some Are You Afraid of the Dark? Beta Reader profiles that I found recently. A cross between those 90s teen magazine pen pal profiles and modern online dating profiles, they are very clear about what each beta reader can offer to a fellow FF writer . . . and what each beta reader hopes to be asked to read. And as I eliminate most candidates but set a select few aside for further consideration, I feel that they are not just potential part-time editing buddies but also potential full-time friends.
But don't look at me like that! What was the weirdest thing you ever did to make a new friend?
Can you guess which boy is David and which boy is Frank?
Don't look at those guys like that, either. I know from experience that the weirdest friendships are the best friendships. But now I'm getting too meta, even for myself.
Image Sources: a) Are You Afraid of the Dark? opening, b) David and Frank