The Evil, Most Feared and Loathsome Count William

The Evil, Most Feared and Loathsome Count William sat in his room and looked up how to make poisons on the Internet. He’d found several promising websites, but he wasn’t sure where he was supposed to get some of the ingredients. He had no idea what nettle-juice was, for instance. He also wasn’t sure that the forums he was looking at were particularly serious. Wasn’t Lithium just the name of a Nirvana song?

William got up from his computer in disgust. How was he going to become a proper member of the Evil Squad if he couldn’t even figure out how to poison anyone?! The ad he’d gotten in the mail had specified that he needed to have certain skills and be able to prove his aptitude at them before he’d be accepted as a member. He’d e-mailed them and asked what he needed to learn, and they’d answered with a terse reply, telling him that if he didn’t know what things he needed to know in order to be evil, then he probably wasn’t suitable.

He’d already got himself a name, though, and he was determined to manage to get into that group. He was evil, he knew it. Nobody liked him at school – they called him Will the Weird, not as good a title as The Evil, Most Feared and Loathsome Count. His parents didn’t particularly like him – they’d yelled at him for over an hour when he’d painted his room black and they’d almost disconnected the Internet as punishment. Then he’d told them that if they did that, he’d need to find where his dad hid his porn magazines and since nobody wanted that, they should probably keep the connection.

He also knew that he was capable of being cruel, which was part of being evil, of course. He’d been horribly mean to his little sister ever since she was born, and even now that she was thirteen and was coming into her own, he still managed to make her cry a couple times a week by taunting her. He saw this as being proper behavior for a Loathsome Count.

William strode up and down his room, looking at the posters he’d hung on his walls. Some were of heavy metal bands, but he didn’t actually like the music – he just liked the pictures of mouths dripping blood or skeletons on battlefields and the like. The other posters were hand-drawn, featuring violent vampires and women lying dead across tombstones. These had been made for him by Hannah, his next-door neighbor, and the girl he loved more than the entire world put together.

She didn’t think much of him anymore. When they were both freshmen in high-school, she’d gone in for his whole black, death, plague and misery sort of outlook on life. She had, in her own words, “grown out of it” and even though she still wore black, dyed her hair purple and had rings going all the way up both ears, she considered his “being evil thing” to be stupid, childish and beneath her. When he’d pointed at her necklace, which had featured a fang the day they had this argument, she’d said “it’s just a necklace, William. It’s just what I like to wear. It’s fashion, get over it.”

But William hadn’t gotten over it. He hadn’t gotten over her, either. But he had to, and in order to do that, he had to join this Evil Squad so he’d have somewhere to siphon his frustration to. He had a feeling that they gave assignments and stuff once you joined. That could keep him busy. Being busy would be good.

Finally, William sat back down at the computer, and instead of looking up poisons, he logged onto his instant messenger program. He had two screen-names that he used. One was EvilWilliam, which he’d been using for years, even before he decided to join the Evil Squad. The other, the one he used now, was GoodGothKid. He’d created this one only a few months ago.

He saw, with a leap of his heart, that Hannah was online. She messaged him almost at once.

BlackRoses: Hey!

GoodGothKid: Hey :).

BlackRoses: I’m so glad you’re online. I really need someone to talk to.

GoodGothKid: I’m here for you, you know I’m always here for you.

And as Hannah told him about her day, William pretended to be a guy called Tom who lived a couple states over, who was goth but not evil, and who Hannah actually liked.

The Teacher

The Teacher heaved a deep sigh as she clasped her worn brown bag. Her hands, no longer slender and delicate, were riddled with swollen veins. Her wedding ring couldn’t come off her finger even if she’d wanted it to. Thankfully, she didn’t. Her marriage was the one thing that still made sense in her life.

The Teacher’s hair had been dyed red so many times that it had taken on a slightly metallic orange tint. She knew she looked like a joke, and she definitely knew the various nicknames she was known by throughout the student body, but white hair meant being a grandmother to her. That word hurt her too much. Grandmother. She had almost been one, and if the loss hurt her, she could only imagine how much it had hurt her daughter. Hurt enough that she had cut herself off from her parents because, in her words, it had been too difficult to see their eyes wander to her barren stomach and then fill with tears.

The Teacher picked up her case and walked slowly down through the empty halls, littered with crumpled paper and the occasional forgotten textbook. She sighed again as she walked. teaching didn’t make sense anymore, and for the last few years, this simple fact threw her whole life out of skew.

Her students weren’t different. Perhaps there were more cellphones in class, more kids copying essays off the internet, but all in all, high-school hadn’t changed all that much since she herself had been a twelfth-grader. No, it was some general something that irked her. Maybe it was the fact that so many parents didn’t seem to care what or how the teachers taught anymore. Maybe it was the fact that Bobby Jones and Nora Lessinger kept showing up to school with no text books because the funding for students like them who came from very low-income families had run dry. Maybe it was the fact that her daughter wasn’t speaking to her, and every teenager she looked at in her class seemed to somehow remind her of her personal life.

The Teacher exited the school building, and the sun flooded down from between a few grey clouds. In the parking lot, as always, was her husband in their old dark green Fiat. She could faintly hear the first Led Zeppelin album playing inside. She smiled at him, gave a little wave, and walked over. At least something still made sense in the world.

Voice and Tense

I realized today something that I’ve realized many times before, something which gets me more excited about college than ever – I need to learn how to write. What I mean is that I need to really study and practice in an orderly fashion, with someone to read my work and tell me that “this is good” and “this is bad” and “this needs some more work.” I love this blog, and I’m proud of myself for keeping it up – my track record on keeping organized blogs is disastrous, to say the least. The fact that I’m keeping this one up is due to my true devotion and love of practicing my writing.

But, as I was saying, I need to study and learn methods for it. The reason I realized this today was because I was spending my time at work, as I usually do, with trying to plan a new story. This new story is a sort of young-adult type thing, something that I decided to try after remember how much I love Sarah Dessen’s books. I started writing about my character from the third-person point of view, but after a page or so I realized that it sounded wrong. It wasn’t what I’d pictured in my head.

So I changed the voice, and tried writing her from the first person point of view: her speaking about herself. Once again, it sounded wrong because I was using past tense, and it sounded like any second she would be lapsing into current events. I realized that I don’t know how to write past tense but make it sound like the present, and not like the retelling of a story.

And so, whether or not I major in creative writing, I’m definitely going to take some writing courses when I go to college. I can’t wait!

On a completely unrelated subject – I find it highly amusing that WordPress, a blogging website, highlights the word “blog” as a misspell in its spell-checker program. WordPress is another word that is listed as misspelled.

Lucy’s Diary, May 16th

For those who don’t know, Alex and I are slowly playing a little game with these entries. His most recent entry, which this entry follows quite immediately, is here: http://crystalgeek.wordpress.com/2009/02/03/journal-part-ii/

May 16th, 2008, Morning, “Larry’s Diner”

Dear Diary,

I cannot believe that I haven’t had time to write in you until now. As a confidante, you haven’t been much use yet, but don’t fret, dear, you will get to know more than enough now.

Life at P&S is… let us say, fast paced. My mind has been taxed in every area possible, and I believe that instead of getting fuller, it is rather emptying out a bit of its intelligence as the days go by and I learn to conform myself to the strict policy of “no opinions allowed,” the general policy of the teachers here. There are a couple who seem willing to hear us speak with a tone of voice other than a flat, learned-by-heart drone, but those two – the literature teacher and, surprisingly, the biology teacher – are the only ones. Every other subject seems to be taught by rote and meant to be learned in no other way.

This, of course, is frustrating enough. What is even worse than my studies is, unsurprisingly, the general company that I am forced to keep. Peggy, Sophie and Maria – the infamous roommates from HELL – are all so concerned about sneaking razors into the bathrooms to shave their legs that they never realize that they have more than three brain cells at their disposal if they’d want them. I’m sure that with time my brain will melt as well and I will only worry about how to sneak cheap lip-gloss from the pharmacy past the teachers and into the school on our afternoons off – but for now, forgive me, Diary, if I still try to find some use for my poor brain.

The library here is fantastic, which is my only comfort. Oh, that is not to say that I don’t play along with the other girls – I do, because there is no choice – but whenever I’m doing my homework I tend to dawdle for a while after the others have given up, so as to sit in one of the comfy armchairs and read a bit.

You are now wondering, dearest and only friend, what I am doing in a diner on a morning such as this? Well, the truth is that I really shouldn’t be here. But you already guessed that, didn’t you? It’s not as bad as you think though, dearest. We’re allowed out Sunday mornings into the small, dreary town. Sophie and Maria were off to the arcade to look for James Dean types and Peggy and her friend Sue went to the pharmacy to score some more makeup. I decided to give them all the slip, and I came here to treat myself to some pancakes and maple syrup. I must say that the diner is a cozy place, and I’m enjoying the silence immensely. It is hard to be surrounded by incessant chatter all day long without a moment’s reprieve.

Diary, I have just noticed something rather odd. How very strange! There is a young man, very thin, with dark hair and dark clothing, who is sitting at another table – I believe he was on the flight with me! What a strange coincidence, to see him here. Who could want to come to a miserable little place like this? Diary, he is eating pancakes as well, and he looks tired to the bone, as if he were up half the night. He keeps forgetting to take bites though, because he’s on his cell phone, trying to understand someone’s directions to a place called “Gaitec’s Reach.” Silly man, he seems quite distraught – in a good looking sort of way.

Ah, well, I suppose I should order the bill and head back to the girls now… I’ll ask them what Gaitec’s Reach is, though, because it is such a rare, romantic sort of name that I’m quite curious!

I hope to be more diligent about our sessions from now on. I cannot promise a thing though, because I’m still trying to catch up on my studies.

Much love to you, Diary!

As ever,

Lucy

P.S. I talked to my wicked cousin, She-Who-Sent-Me-Here, and I conclude that she’s enjoying the silence of her big, empty house just fine. She says she’s glad of getting me away from all the “bad influences that those little friends of yours were” and that she’s “pleased at your progress in your studies – your teachers send me weekly reports, you see.” Thank goodness I managed to hide my belly-button ring from her, or I’d have lost the only thing I like about my appearance now!

Lucy’s Diary, May 5th

May 5th, 2008

Dearest Diary,

After many hours of pointless, useless and otherwise simply obnoxious paperwork, I am free to dwell on my own thoughts once more. The flight landed, and I have never been more reluctant to get off a plane as I was this morning. There was a man a few seats in front of me who looked at me rather oddly as I sat there in my seat, making no move to get up and off the plane. But then, I suppose it is rather odd, in the hustle and bustle for the door, that a girl should stay stationary in her seat.

Having finally convinced myself to get up and leave the plane, though, I was plagued by the usual airport routine: passport check, luggage retrieval etc. I was most anxious to get some fresh air, and I almost forgot that I needed to look for my pick-up ride when I entered the arrivals hall.

Of course, they hadn’t forgotten about me – much to my chagrin, I might add. There was a man with a hat and a sign waiting for “Miss Lucy Blake” and I had no choice but to approach him and follow him to the town car, of which he was the driver.

While I wish I could have written in the car, it was much too bumpy and couldn’t be managed. Moreover, having gotten no sleep on the flight, I fell into an uneasy one on the ride over to Pratt and Smith. It was a long ride, because as I’ve said before, P&S is in the middle of many square miles of fields upon fields.

We finally arrived, and I was met at the gates by the woman who I’m supposed to consider as “the mother of all the young girls in this glorious home away from home!” Her words – not mine.

She escorted me to the offices, where I got many a dirty look for joining with them so very late in the semester. True, their semester lasts until the end of August, but my lateness is apparently enough to give me a black mark before I’ve even started. That relation of mine who sent me here [you see, my dear, that I am still too angry to even write her name] will be feeling more of my wrath with her in my phone call to home this week, you can be sure of it, Diary.

It is evening now, and I’m settled in my new room. It’s rather cozy and nice right now, but that is only because my three roommates are currently at the study hall doing their homework. I was assured by Miss Flynn, the self proclaimed Mommy of us all who is actually the supervisor of the girls’ living quarters, that the other girls will be along shortly and will escort me to dinner, which begins at promptly seven-thirty every evening.

I freely admit to you that I am dreading the introduction of these girls. They will be my staunchest companions in the coming months, if only because we are forced to live within the same very small room and share our bedtimes and awakenings. Wish me luck; I believe I hear the sound of giggling in the hall!

Much love,

Hastily,

Lucy

Dear Diary

I’ve been looking up more writing exercises, and I found one in a list, which is now saved on my computer because it has some other really good and interesting exercises in it. The one that I found, and that I am now posting a beginning of, is this: “Keep a diary of a fictional character.” So, I present to you a not very original character, Lucy:

Dear Diary,

While I know that keeping diaries is quite out of style in this day and age, I have decided to begin one anyway. Oh, you might be surprised at my saying it is out of style – after all, how many teen-novels are there these days that focus on journal writing? The Princess Diaries are perhaps the most known of these, though they are not the only books to adopt this style by far. So, once again, how can I say that diaries are out of style? Well, for one, almost no one writes or keeps diaries for themselves anymore, and so in that perspective, you are unique. You’re not to be revealed to the eyes of the internet-surfing hordes. No, you are to remain, quiet and peaceful, in the confines of this book.

But I digress. The reason for my starting a journal, a diary, an imaginary pen-friend, is perhaps one that could be mocked at, and yet I shall confide it in you, my diary, for you are to become the ultimate confidante on all matters concerning my life. The reason, therefore, is that I am utterly, without a doubt, and presumably for the foreseeable future, friendless.

Why, you ask, is such a charming young woman, writing with such a fine and elegant pen, friendless? Well, Diary dear, I shall tell you the reason for this mortifying fact. I have been sentenced, but that relation of mine which I despise and abhor but have no choice but be commanded by as she is my legal guardian – I have been sentenced, I say, to study at a boarding school. Not any boarding school – the most prestigious of modern girls’ preparatory schools, that which is named “Pratt and Smith School for Young Ladies.”

Yes, Diary. I have been sentenced, in short, to live like a girl from the Victorian age, only without the glorious dresses and the height of sophistication being the making of tea with the correct amount of sugar. Oh no, I will actually be forced to study and study and study some more in order to get accepted in two years to such schools as Yale, Harvard or Princeton.

This brings me back to my being utterly friendless. I am still only on the airplane to Vermont, where this school resides in the middle of what can reasonably be considered “nowhere,” but I have had to leave every single one of my incredible girlfriends behind me. I know for a fact that we’re only allowed one hour of phone calls to home a week at P&S, and that will certainly not be enough time for me to talk to Sarah, Jenny AND Linda. If I’m lucky, there will be modern things such as internet at P&S, but who knows?

And so, Diary dearest, you are my only companion and soul mate as of now, and I hope that I shall be able to entertain you with my miseries and trials at this most hated of places. I now leave you fondly to put away my tray-table and buckle my seat belt, as we’re beginning our ascent.

With much love and fondness for your pages already,

I am yours sincerely,

Lucy