The Main Character
“Dylan, take that underwear off of your head!”
Dylan stuck out a rather pale, green apple tongue. Shania noticed that the sticky, sugar -coated candy also plastered his teeth and gums as well.
“Mom always lets me do it,” Dylan said slyly and gave a mischievous goblin smile.
“Mm hm sure she does,” muttered Shania sarcastically. “Now please put your underwear where it belongs and get in your room! You were supposed to be in bed fifteen minutes ago.”
Before Dylan could protest, Shania felt a sharp and repeated tug on her pants. She peered down and noticed a pair of chocolate brown eyes, wide, and much too awake for that hour.
“Sha-nay-nay, I can’t go to sleep.”
Alice, at the age of six, couldn’t seem to get Shania’s name right. Dylan, envious of Shania’s attention drawn away from his goblinlike face, began climbing atop Shania, “Ride, horsy, ride!” he chanted.
Sha-nay-nay was much too tired to neigh or gallop. She pushed Dylan off of her, and this set sparks of disappointment across Dylan’s syrupy green face.
“You’re no fun,” he pouted.
“And you’re supposed to be in bed,” Shania replied firmly.
Shania scooted the two to their bedroom. With some coaxing, she managed to convince Dylan to take the underpants off of his head. After much difficulty and defiance, the children brushed their teeth and washed their faces, but Shania couldn’t convince them to shuffle into their beds.
“Do you always give your babysitters this much trouble?” Shania sighed exhaustively.
Just one more hour with these brats, she thought. Then I’ll get paid and get out of here. I’m never taking a job from these folks again.
“Read us a bedtime story, Sha-nay-nay,” Alice begged. Her chocolate eyes had almost widened to the size of golf balls.
Shania let out another long drawn sigh and meandered over to the bookshelf. She pulled the smallest book that she could find. It only had five pages.
“Oh, we’ve heard that one way to many times,” Dylan smacked away the ill-fitted contender out of her hands before she could begin reading.
Shania didn’t need to wonder why. She imagined that all of the babysitters would reach for that one first. Once the book was over, the kids would shut up and go to sleep.
Book after book she pulled off of the shelf, like a mother anxious to find a peanut butter jar with the latest expiration date, but the kids refused to listen to any of them.
“Usually the babysitters create a story because we’ve heard all of those way to many times,” Alice said.
“Yeah,” Dylan jumped up and down on the bed, “and the ones who tell the better stories get to come babysit us more often. We put in a good word for our parents,” he winked at Shania impishly.
Shania couldn’t imagine anything more revolting than spending another minute with these kids, but rumors floated around the neighborhood that their parents paid well. Not just well, but more than double any other family in the entire development. She didn’t need to spend a long amount of time to wonder why they rewarded babysitters so much with the kids’ record misbehaving.
But often, one babysitter never visited this place more than once. Perhaps the kids didn’t give good reviews about her predecessors.
Five more nights with these kids, and she would be set for finishing her savings for her first year at college.
All three of them popped a squat on the floor as Shania burst her brains to think of some last minute impromptu story that would satisfy the kids.
She sighed, “Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess and a handsome prince –”
“Boring,” Dylan and Alice groaned simultaneously. They rolled on the floor as if Shania had just punched them in the gut.
“Let me guess what’s going to happen,” Dylan flopped onto his back and stared into empty space. “The princess and prince will get married at the end, and the bad guy will lose.”
“Isn’t that the kind of stories that you like?” Shania glanced at her watch impatiently only to realize that the little hand ticked slower by the second. Perhaps it was broken.
“Maybe for the first five times,” Dylan said, “but, I mean, all the stories that the babysitters tell us all seem the same. The good guy always gets the girl –”
“Or the good girl gets the guy if the good guy is a girl,” Alice corrected him, giving him a little shove.
“Whatever,” Dylan rolled his eyes and shoved her back, “and the bad guy always loses. We want a story that’s different.”
Shania buried her face into her hands. The kids seemed to be impossible to please.
“Why can’t you be like normal kids and like happy endings?”
The kids didn’t reply; they simply stared at Shania, wide eyed, waiting for a spurt of inspiration.
“All right,” Shania said as she folded her legs beneath her. “I’ll give you a story that’s completely different than the happy ending fairy tales that you’re used to.”
The kids cheered, and Shania began her story.
Our story began in a small town called Normalville. Normalville was particularly known for being normal, hence the name, and its incredible ball of twine (2nd largest in the world, in fact).
In this city nothing really exciting happened, and that’s pretty much all that we’ll ever really know about it (“Awww,” protested Alice and Dylan, but Shania hushed them warningly to keep quiet during the story)
Our main character entered the scene, we’ll call him Steve. Steve was a small town boy with all sorts of mysterious talents. He was tall, dark, young, handsome, and brave, unlike everyone else in Normalville. It was a wonder how no one ever noticed him before because he was totally hero material.
Suddenly a haunted house appeared out of nowhere, and the townspeople began to panic. This happened mostly because it landed on their big ball of twine. (“Yeah!” cheered Dylan. “If you talk again, I’m not going to tell the rest of the story,” Shania warned.)
The citizens didn’t really know what to do. They were just extra characters. They couldn’t really do much except stare at the house dumbly and occasionally let out a blood curdling scream for good measure.
Suddenly, Steve heroically marched forth. The heavens opened up, and a hallelujah chorus played in the background.
“I will journey the haunted house,” he sang, “and I will discover what evil waits inside.”
The citizens began to applaud, and some looked to the heavens confused as to where the music came from.
Steve decided that he didn’t really want to venture into the haunted house by himself because that could be potentially dangerous.
He picked a handful of supporting characters and offered a share of his lines with the warning, “You are all supporting characters. You will say a couple of clever things, but most of you will not make it to the end.”
With this encouraging thought buzzing around in their brains, they set off on their adventure. Normalville marching band played intense music for the effect, but the haunted house was only a block away, so the people could really only get through about four measures of the melody.
The characters anxiously stepped inside. Suddenly one of the supporting characters named Billy screamed, “There’s a bug!” His black eyes widened in fear.
He pointed at one of the rusty floor boards hopping up and down anxiously.
Steve squinted and spotted the lady bug. It began to inch its way toward the supporting characters who were wailing hysterically.
Steve extended his leg and squished the bug. The other characters breathed enormous sighs of relief while some recovered from hyperventilating and shock. A character named Willy had screamed unnaturally high before the insect was extinguished.
“Golly,” a supporting character named Jilly, whose blonde hair was strung up in pigtail braids and was the only one in the town to have a Southern accent, cried, “you sure are brave, Steve.”
Steve smiled heroically, and his pearly whites caused a few women to faint nearby.
“Now,” he barked, “let us search this haunted house for something that can potentially kill us!”
“Let’s do whatever he says!” shouted the supporting characters. They still hadn’t recovered from the shock of the ladybug, so they didn’t actually hear what Steve said.
Even if they did hear his suggestion, they couldn’t protest. After all, Steve was the main character, and no one could object to a figure with such a high authoritative power.
Steve checked inside a few cupboards, but all he could find was some moldy food, and another bug which he squished before most of the characters saw it.
“This is getting anticlimactic,” Steve sighed (“What’s ant-eye-climb-attic mean?” Alice asked)
“This is getting really boring,” Steve sighed.
The other characters nodded in agreement, and Steve spotted a closet.
“Hey!” he exclaimed, “that looks gloomy and worrisome…let’s check out what’s inside that closet!”
Steve was used to crazy adventures like this given some prior main character experience (for more information, consult Steve’s resume). Before he reached for the door handle, he had some flashback about his life before the haunted house.
Of course the author only showed a few glimpses of his life because she would later leak out more information in the next chapters which would cause the readers to grow emotionally attached to him.
Steve bravely reached for the door handle to the closet.
“Wait!” cried Billy, a supporting character with a very large chin and large glasses that he would frequently shove up his nose. “Every time characters enter closets in creepy places, nothing good ever comes out of it. Don’t open it!”
Steve laughed hysterically and the other characters joined along, “You silly supporting character,” he grinned. “I am the main character. That means that I can never die!”
His hand grasped the door handle slowly, and the Normalville marching band began to play a theme from a horror film that was popular in the town just for effect.
He opened the door and a dragon walked out.
“Ha ha!” he exclaimed, “I shall slay you drag –”
But he didn’t finish his line because the dragon had burned him to a crisp, killing the main character off in the first chapter of the story.